MARCH 2014: IRELAND
From the Escape Monthly Ireland travel brochure:
You've landed on the rocky shores of Ireland, and a whole country of wonder awaits. Take a taste of traditional recipes, soothe your body and soul with the finest in Irish body care, and experience your own Irish vacation, right from the comfort of home.
From the north shores of Strandhill to the ports of Dublin, we can't wait to show you all the fascinating local products Ireland has to offer. We hope you love every one.
Éire go Brách!
This box definitely embodies what I'd expect in a travel box! Some of the items are undeniably kitschy - "Gift of the Gab" teabags are surely straight off the shelf of an airport gift shop. But this box seems filled with exactly the sorts of things one would buy on vacation when shopping presents for friends back home.
Bewley's Gift of the Gab Irish Tea: These tea bags are a cute idea. Flavorwise, I can't say that I'm impressed - it tastes like your standard cheap black tea sold at the grocery store. I assume this is the Irish equivalent to Lipton's or Red Rose Tea. I wish Escape Monthly had found something a bit higher end, but considering Ireland isn't exactly the capital of world tea production, this is no doubt as good as it gets. $3.89.
Bewley's Irish Creme Coffee: I haven't had a chance to try this, but my expectations are low. This round coffee doesn't even come from Ireland - it's produced by Comfort Foods, Inc. in North Andover, MA. The can is pretty tiny - the label says it only makes one pot of coffee. But the good news that keeps me hopeful is that I do love Irish Creme-flavored things. $2.99.
Hogan's Brown Irish Soda Bread: I do love fresh bread, still warm from the oven. I want to say that I've had Irish soda bread before, but when I close my eyes and try to remember the taste I get...nothing. So this may be a completely new experience. Certainly, it's been years (and I mean years) since I actually kneaded bread dough and baked a fresh loaf of bread, so this will be a fun project on a quiet, cool afternoon. $8.99.
O'Neills Shamrock Shortbread Cookies: Shortbread! Yum. Each cookie is really rich and buttery. I can feel the calories packing onto my thighs just when I look at the box. $2.70.
Butlers' Milk Chocolate Truffle Chocolate Bar: Hello! You've never heard me turn down a chocolate bar, right? $3.99.
Human + Kind Family Remedy Cream: Lovely packaging. This all-in-one cream claims to be crammed full of healthy, natural nutrients that are good for sensitive skin. It's got a very medicinal smell, primarily tea tree oil but a bit of something greener, too. Users are encouraged to apply at least three times per day, which seems like a lot - you'd use up this entire tube in a week at that rate! Still, my skin is always a mess so I'll give it a go. $31.49.
I must confess, after reviewing the box's contents I strongly suspect that Escape Monthly ordered the entire collection directly from Bewley's Irish Imports. Every single item, with the exception of the Ireland guide book and the lotion, is carried by that store. It's a little disappointing - I like to believe in the myth that someone at Escape Monthly patiently scours the Internet each month, or visits the destination to see what locals are buying and selling. Sure, it's a marketing story, but I want to believe it. Somehow, the box becomes a lot less interesting when you realize that some poor schmo never even got to leave his or her cubicle as they negotiated a bulk discount with a wholesale import firm. But that's business, after all.
I don't believe this is one of the more valuable boxes - most of the items are under $5.00, and were the remedy cream not an expensive one the box wouldn't come close to the monthly subscription cost. Hopefully this isn't the start of the trend. After all, Ireland is a fun theme to play with, and this was a fun box. For all my complaints, I still enjoyed it quite a lot.
Next month: Mexico! This should be fun.
Escape Monthly is a vacation-themed subscription box. Each month, one subscriber is randomly chosen to "win" a trip to the themed location! The subscription rate is $49.95 a month, but if you use the coupon code "YOURESCAPE" your subscription will be 20% off each month. If you want to know more or wish to subscribe, please consider using my referral link: http://mbsy.co/hjDG