Coterie Sampler & Box Giveaway!: September 2015

My travel budget is sadly quite low, so I don’t get a chance to explore many new places. Cue my excitement when Coterie Sampler sent me a free box to review that offers an assortment of food and lifestyle items all from Austin, Texas. So now I get to try a bit of Texas without ever leaving New Jersey. Coterie Sampler in all their awesomeness, has also offered to giveaway a free box to one of you, my loyal readers. For entry info jump down to the Giveaway section, but now let’s get to the box.

Coterie Sampler is a subscription offered by Coterie Market. “Coterie Market delivers Austin’s finest food & goods to your home or office, making it convenient to shop and buy high quality, local products. From pastry and chocolate to jewelry and home cleaning, all of Coterie Market’s products are from business owned and operated in the Austin area and most are handmade with locally-sourced materials.”

Coterie Sampler offers two sizes of box, The Mark (6 – 8 items) for $59.95, or The Standard (4 – 6 items for $39.95 and every item in comes from a Maker in the Austin, TX area.
Box #1
Okay, it’s time to bust open some cardboard.

We start with a surprisingly heavy and fairly large box. (I guess it’s true that everything is bigger in Texas.)
Box 2Open Box 2

Tea Biscuits
Rosemary ‘Gin & Juice’ Shortbread Tea Biscuits
by Skull & Cakebones
(Estimated Retail: $9.95)
Product Description: “Rosemary shortbread infused with Revolution Spirits Austin Reserve Gin, topped with grapefruit glaze and a dusting of pink peppercorn. These rich, surprising treats meander between sweet and savory with a whisper of heat. Perfect for entertaining, gifting, or hoarding for yourself. Shh…they’re vegan!”
About the Makers: “Skull & Cakebones in Austin’s first locally-sourced craft bakery. They specialize in all-natural products that are vegan, non-GMO, never artificial and they incorporate local products from fellow artisans.”
Verdict: Like

Who knew Texas had vegans? Clearly the Food network has been lying to us for years. The shortbread on these was very rich and the glaze was to die for. My only issue is that rosemary is such a strong flavor and personally I thought it took away from the cookie. It was like a yummy cookie with a hint of Christmas tree. Don’t get me wrong the cookies were still tasty and I ate them all, but they would have been a “love” instead of a “like”.

Kale Chips
Sour Cream & Onion Kale Chips
by Sarah’s Kale Chips
(Estimated Retail: $7.00)
Product Description: “Sarah’s Kale Chips are organic, raw, vegan, and gluten Free! Delicious, seasoned, dehydrated kale made into a snack that you can feel great about.”
About the Makers: “Sarah is a massage therapist who makes each batch of dehydrated kale chips by hand, with love, in Austin, TX. While she waits the 12-15 hours for the chips to dehydrate, she makes music.”
Verdict: The saddest music in the world

I used to like Kale. Really I did. It was a great, slightly less bitter alternative to Spinach. But then, the PR rep for Kale started logging a lot of overtime hours. It even showed up in stuff like brownies. Yes, you got that right. Kale brownies. Imagine that for a moment. Now Kale chips are a perfectly acceptable use for Kale, however I could not stomach these. Whatever music Sarah is playing when she makes these must be the saddest music in the world. All bitter and lonely notes. I recommend some Harry Belafonte calypso. No food could ever be sad with that music playing.

Water
Organic Fruit-Infused Water
by Sway Water
(Estimated Retail: $4.00)
Product Description: “Sway is a simple solution to sugary, synthetic drinks. Real, organic fruit, is infused with purified water resulting in a completely natural and refreshing beverage.”
About the Makers: “Albert, Sarah, Paul, and Kate at Sway Water source the majority of their fruit from the same farmer’s markets at which Sway first began to sell their product, and the rest come from local grocers.”
Verdict: Rosemary Strikes Again!

I really liked the natural strawberry flavor in this water, but again the rosemary is a bit too overpowering. I could easily see how someone would find the drink refreshing but I personally would have loved one of the other flavors instead. I think it was a bit of a misstep to include two items with rosemary in the same box. It’s a strong herb and not everyone enjoys it in sweeter pairings.

Jam
Seasonal Preserves
by Confituras
(Estimated Retail: $10.00)
Product Description: “Enjoy an assortment of these award-winning preserves. You’re receiving Stephanie’s personal choice of the season’s best flavors.”
About the Makers: “Locally sourced fruits and herbs along with organic cane sugar make their way into Stephanie McClenny’s small-batch, Good Food Award winning james.”
Verdict: Love!

I adore jams, preserves, jellies – pretty much any colorful fruit mixed with sugar in a jar. I received the Bourbon Brown Sugar Peach Preserves and I think I’m going to save these to use in some cardamom jam cookies I plan to make.

Spray
Lavender Mosquito Repellent
from Lavande Farm
(Estimated Retail: $10.00)
Product Description: “Lavender naturally prevents mosquitos form landing and this spray provides roughly five hours of beautifully –scented protection. Shake well before use and apply to all exposed areas. Doubles wonderfully as an air freshener and linen spray.”
About the Makers: “After being inspired by the lavender fields of Provence, France, Craig Stewart came home to Texas and planted fields that have grown into the Lavande experience.”
Verdict: Love

WHY HAS NO ONE TOLD ME LAVENDER STOPS MOSQUITOS FROM LANDING! This is life changing information. One summer vacation in Maine, I stopped counting my bites after 26. That was after 1 days. ONE day. This box is worth the price just for this information. Most repellants are full of stuff you don’t want on your skin or smell horrifically (hello Citronella) so this is wonderful and I’ll be using it during my next trek into the Great Outdoors.

Vase
Petite Wall Vase in Box Style with Resin Inlay
by BDJ Craft Works
(Estimated Retail: $32.00)
Product Description: “This soulful wall or tabletop adornment comes to you in maplek, cherry, or walnut finish with hand-inlaid resin in beautiful natural patterns following the grain and feel of the wood. The glass insert is removable for cleaning and dishwasher-safe.”
About the Makers: “Aesthetically spare and minimal, Brian David Johnson’s pieces are rooted in his years of designing and building custom furniture.”
Verdict: Like

I really appreciate the inclusion of a home item in this box and I am a sucker for handmade items. This is a lovely little vase, although I wish it was a touch bigger since it would open it up to more uses than just being a vase (like for pencils or paint brushes). I’m going to need to find just the right place for it in my home since I am sadly low on wall space.

Seasoning Salt
Finishing Salts
by Lenoir
(Estimated Retail: $14.00)
Product Description: “Large flake sea salt, pink Himalayan Salt, house made Herbes de Tejas (dried herbs with chilies, lavender and fenugreek) and dhana dal (roasted coriander seeds).”
About the Makers: “Husband and wife, Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher opened Lenoir to help build a strong culinary community in Austin, and to redefine the food style of Austin.”
Verdict: Hit!

I love trying different seasonings and this one has a mix of unusual ingredients. I can’t wait to try this out on some steak or shish kabob.

OVERALL
Coterie Sampler
Verdict:
Hit!

This was a really lovely box to unwrap. I’ve never been to Austin, but I feel like I got an idea of the foodie and local artisanal scene there. I thought there was a nice balance of food versus lifestyle items and a lovely variety. I think the curation here was spot on. I received this box for free to review, but the cost is $59.95.  That’s a great price since the estimated value of this box comes out to $86.95. If you’re into trying new artisanal foods or have an interest in the local Austin, TX scene, this might be the right box for you.

Have you tried any regional food boxes? What did you think?

GIVEAWAY TIME!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!

Our winner is…drumroll…..Ake!
Thanks to everyone who participated and especially to Coterie Sampler for hosting the giveaway!
Please come back for more fun reviews and giveaways!

Coterie Sampler has graciously offered a giveaway of a FREE BOX to you, one of my oh so wonderful readers. As usual my giveaways are straightforward (life’s complicated enough already).

1. You need to have a mailing address in the US. (Sorry international peeps!)
2. You need to “like” the Coterie Market Facebook page.
3. You need to leave a comment on this blog post.

You’ve got until Sunday, October 4th to enter. (When the clock strikes 12 EST, your coach turns back into a pumpkin so get your entry in beforehand). Winners will be randomly selected. I’ll announce the winner once they’ve been contacted and a mailing address confirmed.

Good Luck and thanks for reading!

THE BACKSTORY
In your Coterie Sampler box, you’ll find beverages, ready-to-eat food items, pantry staples, sweet and savory flavors, and craft item(s) for the home and family.

Most of The Coterie Sampler products are full-size. Any sample-size products will be large enough to actually enjoy! Often, we collaborate with Makers and Chefs to bring you one-of-a-kind items, exclusive to The Coterie Sampler.

Our Pledge & Product Standards:
We research, test, and hand-select each product we bring into the Sampler program. Every item in The Coterie Sampler meets our standards for quality and comes from a Maker in the Austin, TX area. We look for products made with Slow, traditional methods, local and sustainable sourcing and production, and, above all, exceptional taste and quality.

Box Options & Cost:
The Mark (6 – 8 items): $59.95
The Standard (4 – 6 items): $39.95

Once upon a time, long, long ago, Lisa attended Syracuse University where she studied singing in a giant castle surrounded by ice and snow. After she earned her music degree, she headed to the island of Manhattan, down to the West Village, to a place called the New School. There, she earned another degree in the great art of writing stories for children. She currently works on that same island trying to help real people, while making up stories about imaginary ones. Her first book, “The Ice Maiden’s Tale,” a fairy tale adventure, was released on May 30, 2017 and is up for sale on Amazon. In the meantime, she keeps herself occupied by obsessing over subscription boxes and home renovations.

51 thoughts on “Coterie Sampler & Box Giveaway!: September 2015

  1. I love trying out things from different areas! This definitely sounds interesting! I think we actually have a box like this in GA that I should look into. NONE of these items are what I’d expect to represent Texas, ha! I think that’s kind of neat though, to introduce us to something totally different! Also, your comment on Vegans in Texas! That was the highlight of my day so far! I laughed for a good five minutes!!

    • Thanks! From what I’ve heard Austin is a really interesting place and has a different type of vibe then what we’ve heard as stereotypical Texas. Thanks for reading and good luck in the giveaway!

  2. These items fit Austin pretty well, as far as I know. One of my favorite YouTube yoga teachers is from Austin, I’m pretty sure, so this definitely fits that vibe, haha.

  3. Love your box sampler that not only myself but my growing 11 yr son who lives Autism but adventurous eater/kid in the kitchen would love to try! Now if you want PR that is what I will give to you if I win 😉

    Ursula aka Blueridge Beauty

      • I am so happy my son is adventurous eater which breaks the mold that Autistic kids are picky eaters! As long its not pistachios and cashews (allergic), he eat or try anything!

  4. I like kale chips as well but I draw the line at brownies. Ugh! That’s like… cabbage cake. Or cauliflower ice cream. No, thanks. The tea biscuits and the Sway water sound delish!

    • Funny enough I just watched one of those tiny house hunting shows and they were in Austin Texas. There are so many folks there I wouldn’t be surprised if it housed all the vegans in Texas! Thanks for reading and good luck in the giveaway.

    • I thought the box did a really nice job mixing up the foodie stuff with things like the repellant and vase. I’m interested to see what they include in future boxes. Good luck in the giveaway and thanks for reading!

    • It’s really fun to see what types of foods and businesses are in different regions. I would never have guessed some of the things in this box were from Texas! Good luck in the giveaway and thanks for reading.

  5. What a great box, I’m very impressed with the quality of products. I think this would make a wonderful gift for the hard to shop for person.

  6. I’m a pretty big fan of rosemary, but not in desserts–I once had a very chichi bakery recommend a raspberry tart that ended up having a base of rosemary paste-custard stuff (WHY???!) and it made me very, very sad. Is citrus peel not outré enough for desserts anymore?

    That said, the rest of the box sounds awesome. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Rosemary is such a strong herb that I feel like it overwhelms desserts. I do love it in homemade bread though. Thanks for reading and good luck in the giveaway!

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