Reviewed by Emma Brailsford
One of the most exciting things to do when traveling abroad is to sample the national cuisine. Sadly, we cannot all afford to travel as much as we would like in the current economic situation so when I saw the opportunity to not just sample a selection of a country’s famous dishes, but to cook together as a family and go on an educational journey learning about a country of the month, I jumped at the chance.
eat2explore is a subscription service which offers an experimental cooking kit, designed to bring cultural education alive through the exploration of different world cuisines.
When the eat2explore box arrived, we were thrilled to find out that we would be learning about Mexico. Everything we needed for our adventure was packaged within a small cardboard box. Inside the box we received three recipe cards for three main meals, a selection of non-perishable ingredients (predominantly herb and spice mixes), a handy shopping list, educational information about Mexican cuisine and some written tasks for children. We also received a cooking tool – a handy avocado slicer – a necessity when assembling guacamole! The addition of a small pin badge of the Mexican flag was a nice embellishment to a young chef’s ‘uniform’ and a lovely reminder to keep as a memory of the fun we had together in the kitchen.
When preparing for the cooking adventure we used the ‘Explore Mexico’ information leaflet to find out about the location of the country, the capital city, national language, unique animals, flag and popular dishes – all key facts which interested the youngsters, especially as the information was presented alongside colourful illustrations. We then read about the different cooking methods used in Mexico before choosing a meal to create. Our first dish was ‘vegetarian black bean enchiladas’. The numbered recipe card with photographs was exceptionally easy to follow and each step had a key (youngest chefs, older chefs, oldest chefs/adults) which meant that we could easily divide up the jobs without any squabbles!
The finished dish was as described in the photograph on the recipe card, and we all agreed that the food tasted delicious! What was more enjoyable, was the fact that the whole family had come together and played a part in creating the dish. After the meal, we took the opportunity to work through the educational activity sheets and enjoyed completing Maths problems, writing Science facts, answering some geographical questions and solving a crossword. The younger members of the family also enjoyed the suggested ‘arts and craft’ activity – making maracas from plastic bottles!
The second box sampled was the ‘World Dessert Baking part 2’ box. We got to create three different desserts from three different countries – Turkey, Sweden and Colombia – a real trip around the globe! The treats were desserts that we would not ordinarily eat so it was real experience making the delicacy and then sampling them. I also liked the fact that the desserts had different cooking styles – one did not need to be heated at all, one dessert used heat from the hob and one dessert was cooked in the oven. I think the chokladbollar (chocolate oatmeal balls) from Sweden were our favourite and the youngest chef in the house, aged five, enjoyed the fact that he could make these almost by himself.
The box, with the dimensions 24.5cm by 13cm by 6cm, arrives every month and can be ordered on different plans: monthly, 3 months, 6 months or 12 months – the greater the discount, the longer you sign up for and the annual subscription definitely makes it more affordable. Subscription can be cancelled at any time.
Overall, we loved the concept of the subscription box and making dinner as a whole family was an experience which we will make a real effort to build into our schedule. The cost of the box is a little on the pricey side if just ordering one box, but an annual subscription feels more cost effective and worth it for the memories if you have a young family of budding chefs!
Age: five years and up
Rating: 4 out of 5
RRP: £27:50 including shipping on a rolling monthly subscription
This product can be purchased from Eat2Explore here.