Back in the days before I was a mom, I traveled a lot. I’ve taken roadtrips across the United States with a tent in the trunk. I’ve backpacked in Europe. I’ve snorkeled in Mexico and Hawaii. I’ve walked on a glacier in Alaska. I’ve traveled by car, plane, bicycle, helicopter, train, motorcycle, ferry boat, cruise ship, pickup truck, and moving van. I love visiting new places and trying local products which are unique to that area. I have always tried to avoid chain restaurants and stores I could find at home, intentionally seeking out places I could experience something of the local foods and products.
Now that I am a parent, I haven’t had the opportunity to explore the world as much as I have in the past. Our adventures now are much closer to home and much less diverse in culinary and cultural experiences. When my daughter is a little older, I will be so excited to share my love of travel with her. In the mean time, I have found a really exciting way to experience the products of far off lands without having to leave my driveway.
GlobeIn is a company which “is dedicated to supporting artisans from all walks of life with an emphasis on artisans in the developing world where, after agriculture, artisan goods are the second largest source of employment. GlobeIn is dedicated to reducing poverty by giving these artisans, and subsequently their communities, a global audience.” Basically, they scour the earth for fantastic finds made and grown by people who live there. They select only Fair Trade products and buy directly from the artisans themselves or organizations which also support their philosophy.
Unique products, that I would not be able to find otherwise, are suddenly made available to me through GlobeIn. But how do I get them? One way is by shopping the Marketplace where you can find everything from accessories and clothing to home décor and food. However, I think a more fun way is through the GlobeIn Artisan box. I am in love with the Artisan Box. GlobeIn has created a monthly themed subscription box of some of their favorite products from around the world. The Artisan box I received had the theme of Kitchen.
The first thing I noticed when unpacking the box was the sheer number of products inside. It seemed as though the goodies were never ending! The next thing I noticed was that the box was meticulously packaged so that the fragile items were well protected and were not damaged in the shipping process. The initial impression I got was that the GlobeIn Artisan Box was a high quality package.
Like many subscription boxes, the Artisan Box has a little brochure inside to give you information about each product you have received. Each item has information on where it is made, grown, or created in addition to a photograph and a brief description. Some of the products really surprised me with their stories and the artisans responsible for such incredible products.
A packet of fragrant, artisan roasted coffee was the very first thing I pulled out of the box. It is amazing to me how this envelope can have such a powerful and enticing smell before it is even opened. What impresses me more than the quality of this coffee is the back story behind how it is made. This coffee is made in Nicaragua by a family-owned coffee farm. Boca Java is the company which buys the coffee and brings it to us. They go above and beyond the Fair Trade practices and actually engage in Direct Trade which means they buy directly from the farmers. This coffee is definitely not your general mass market production coffee and it is evident in the uniqueness and depth of flavor.
Palm Leaf Basket
Beneath the coffee packet was a handwoven basket with a lid. It astounds me the kinds of creations that people can construct by hand. These baskets are not only beautifully woven but also are colored with natural dyes. It is somewhat flexible and could be used to store so many different things! From jewelry to Legos, we are always in need of containers and this is much more beautiful than a plastic box!
Fez Mini Tagine
After unwrapping the protective packaging material, I was quite surprised to find this Tagine. I had expected a few sample size products, but this was far beyond my expectations. It is evident by the quality and beauty of this item that the artist put a lot of time and attention to detail into this piece. I later read that the products made by Le Souk Ceramique, where this tagine was created, uses only hand painted pieces without the use of stencils, which makes it even more impressive.
Pure Ground Vanilla
I was probably the most excited about receiving this vanilla. Don’t you just love inhaling the scent of pure vanilla? So many pastries and desserts call for vanilla that we often add it without a second thought. However, vanilla is such an important flavor component that using a low quality or imitation extract can bring down the whole dish. That’s what made this so exciting for me. LAFAZA utilizes farmers local to Madagascar. The people who handle this vanilla are expert in both growing and curing a quality bean. I plan to share a recipe soon which will highlight this amazing ingredient.
I think salt in general is a misunderstood ingredient in the kitchen. We are being bombarded by health experts to reduce salt intake as part of a healthy lifestyle. The reduction of salt that we are advised about, really pertains more to processed food which typically has a higher sodium level than its homemade counterpart. Since moving away from processed foods and making most everything at home, I have found that salt is really an important ingredient which can bring out the best flavors in many dishes. The Inka Salt is possibly even better than adding regular salt. It is naturally pink, which is a fun conversation piece, but more importantly it is from an environment rich in minerals like magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc. Like all the items in the GlobeIn Artisan Box, the Inka Salt from Natierra is collected by workers local to the area who are paid a fair wage.
This sugar was a real surprise to me. I know that sweeteners can be made from many different plants and other natural products (honey) but it never occurred to me that coconut palms could be one of those sources. One of the great things about this sugar is that it replaces regular sugars in equal proportions. There is no conversion to reduce the volume of sweetener being used (as with products like stevia). At the same time it has a lower glycemic index which is more friendly to those on sugar related dietary restrictions. On top of all that, it is grown sustainably in Indonesia by Big Tree Farms.
At the very bottom of my palm leaf basket, I found a kitchen towel. El Tun is a weaving workshop operated by four brothers which created this handwoven kitchen towel. The colors are bright and exciting and are a great accent piece to any kitchen. I love how sturdy and durable this towel feels while at the same time seeming delicate because it was handwoven.
I think it’s fair to say that I was pretty impressed with my GlobeIn Artisan Box. It allowed me to experience products from around the world which are made and grown ethically without actually traveling anywhere. For what I received in this box, I find it to be priced quite reasonably. To learn more about the GlobeIn Artisan Box subscription, please visit GlobeIn here.
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