Yesterday I had a wonderful surprise show up on my doorstep. A package arrived for me from Pittsburgh, and I knew right away it would hold some fantastic treasure. April from Cookworm drew my name for this summer's Blogging By Mail, organized by Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness. This round was titled "A Few of My Favorite Things" and was really fun to do. I know I had a difficult time stopping when it came to filling up my package to send to Lydia at The Perfect Pantry. The package from April was no disappointment, I tell you. Full of things that are new to me, and are now new favorites of mine as well.Where to begin? Well, as I read the letter and unpacked the box, I just couldn't help myself. I had been having a cup of coffee already, and I couldn't wait. I opened up the package of Orange Nutmeg Almond Biscotti and dunked away. The flavor in these is spectacular! They are from a Pittsburgh company, Enrico's, and so, so good. It's a good thing it's a big bag, because I want to figure out how to make some myself. Next to the biscotti is something I've always wanted to try, Horchata. Horchata is a Latin American drink (I think) made from rice milk and cinnamon, and in my mind I always envisioned it tasting like a big frothy mug of decadent rice pudding. I was so impatient waiting for it to chill in the fridge, but I was not disappointed. Oh my gosh, it tasted exactly like I knew it would, delicious and creamy and oh my, just good! I love it, and it will now be a pantry staple.
Next we have a bottle of Tulip Poplar Honey from Maple Valley Farms in Pennsylvania. The honey is very dark and very rich in flavor. It almost tastes like a blend of dark maple syrup and honey- I'm sure from the poplar. I know it will be perfect for making honey butter for some muffins or biscuits. There is also a bottle of Torani Peach syrup, which is a flavor I've never tried and I can't wait to do so! April suggests mixing it with soda water and a touch of cream for a peach cream soda, and that sounds amazing! I just need to pick up the soda and we'll be in business. Next to the syrup is a box of Burt's Bees Wild Lettuce Complexion soap that I can't wait to try out. I love that it's all-natural, and again, it's something I've been meaning to try sometime, but just haven't. Being newly 30 I think it's time to start taking care of my skin a little better, and this may just be the ticket. :-)
Below that in the picture is some of the most amazing chocolate I have ever tasted. Truly. Direct from Belgium, a bar of Dolfin's Anis Vert Chocolate. It is a dark chocolate with green aniseed in it. And I know it sounds strange, but my goodness, does it work! I broke off a tiny corner, a little hesitant, but wow! The flavors marry perfectly! This bar of chocolate will certainly be savored, and it also gives me yet another idea for my truffles this Christmas...
You would think that would be the end of the package- but there's still more! What you don't see in the picture because Zander was running around with it is a handmade cookie stamp with a Celtic Knot on it. I always look at cookie stamps and wonder how well they actually work. I get to find out now- and with a beautiful design. The Celtic Knot is beautiful. Last Christmas I made an effort to make a cookie platter with all the cookies of our blended families heritage on it, and the Irish cookie was my least favorite. I can just see the shortbreads now with a pretty design stamped into the top.
And last, but certainly not least, are a few selections of tea from a tea shop April enjoys spending time in. In tropical and floral flavors, I cannot wait to try them. With the weather taking a slight turn towards fall, a mug of tea may be the perfect thing this very afternoon. And with a touch of that poplar honey, I should be in heaven.
All in all, a wonderful package. It was so thoughtful, and I get a sense that April and I have very similar tastes- after all, it was a box of her favorite things, and now they're my new favorites. I've enjoyed "meeting" her virtually, and I will definitely be keeping an eye on her blog. Thanks again April! And thanks again to Stephanie for organizing Blogging By Mail- another round that was tons of fun.