Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hello Fresh {Review}

Last month, I signed up to do a review for a lovely company called Hello Fresh through Mosaic Reviews.  I was completely excited to be able to provide this review - I mean who doesn't like free food right?  This company has very good reviews and was something I really looked forward to sharing with my readers.

This review was a bit different than what I am used to, being a fully-equipped food package.  The reviews were broken down into several weeks.  I was placed into week two's list, which was scheduled for delivery during the Thanksgiving Holidays.

The ordering process was very easy and simply to do.  I read about others finding confusion in this process but I didn't find I had any problems.  I ordered a Classic Box and chose three out of five menu choices that would work for my family.  I entered the necessary information to have this box shipped to my home through the provided services, which ships through Fed-Ex to my area.  Hello Fresh is not available every where, unfortunately but you can find out where they do deliver by checking on their website.

The three meals I chose were:
  • Apricot Glazed Turkey with Beets and Orzo dish
  • Stuffed Squash with Cherry Balsamic Reduction
  • Zucchini Parmigiana
My box arrived the day before Thanksgiving.  I was expecting quality organic ingredients inside, shipped soundly with ice packs to keep it cold allowing very little shifting in the items inside.  When I opened my box, I found this wasn't completely so.  There were wonderfully solid ice packs inside the box but the padding surrounding my food had shifted to allow outside elements to permeate the unsealed edges of my box.  My meat had shifted from between the ice packs leaving them semi-warm instead of the thorough cold temperature I would have expected.

The products inside my package were beautifully separated which I completely loved and each individually packed according to the recipe it was designed for in separate baggies.  This was a wonderfully, unexpected part of the experience.  However, because the meat wasn't properly shipped within the case, all the food had a sticky texture with an odd, off smell to them.  This didn't affect the food inside the bags only the items the outer bags themselves and left me with a unappealing feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Another issue I found was that one of my main dishes called for a beet to be used in my meal.  The beet was provided in that dishes package of items but had a large gash in it which was filled with mold.  Mind you, I didn't expect perfection from Hello Fresh but I did expect not to find moldy food in my package.  I have a child with an extreme mold allergy that can lead to severe illness and even death so I must avoid all foods that even come in contact with molds for his sake.

The third issue I had was with another dish that called for a Shallot which I found to be in the same condition as my beet mentioned above.  These items were things I was not able to use in my meals at all and either I had to leave them out or replace them.  Since I didn't have time or money to replace the ingredients, I opted to skip them.

I did love the fact that Hello Fresh provides each box with a rather large recipe card for each meal provided.  These are fully colored and share with you every step for the cooking process, including nutrition facts.  Full color images are provided on them as well, which is helpful when trying to figure out what you are doing with what you have in the kitchen.  I'm totally in LOVE with these cards!

As I was cooking my Hello Fresh items, I made sure to thorough wash what I could to make sure no molds contaminated any other foods.  Because they do package items into baggies used by meal, the dinners weren't a total waste and I was able to create a dish out of the products sent to us.  The end results turned out very well despite the initial issues with our shipping and quality of these few ingredients we were provided.

Now had I been a paying customer, I would have simply contacted Hello Fresh with my complaints and asked to be issued another box immediately but since this was a one time review of this product, I decided to just let this go and share my issues within our review post.  I'm sure Hello Fresh would have immediately accommodated us and corrected any issues we had with our products through them had I contacted them as they seem to be a wonderful and high quality company.

Back to our meals: I chose to cook the turkey dish first.  I wasn't able to use the beet so I just skipped it.  The Orzo was different and something we wouldn't normally eat.  I added butter to it, salt and pepper to taste.  It tasted a lot like buttered pasta.  The turkey was really yummy though I wasn't personally a fan of the Sriracha that was used to season it.  This dish also called for Edamame, which are soy beans.  We don't eat them so I also left those out.

The next dish I made was the Stuffed Squash with the Cherry Balsamic Reduction.  We are squash lovers so this was a great one for us.  I did not use the meat that was sent with the Hello Fresh box because it's the package that I believe may have been leaking and was not cold when I received it.  I wasn't willing to risk it so I did substitute Venison which we already had in our freezer into this dish.  I also substituted a small yellow onion for the Shallot that wasn't usable in my package.  Both worked wonderfully in our dish.  The Basmati rice took a bit of getting used to but it's something we would try again and I was not a fan of the cherries but the kids liked them.  With some tweaking, this is a meal we would gladly have again.

Last, I made Zucchini Parmigiana.  I have wanted to make this dish for forever in our home but haven't.  I'm a huge fan of Italian foods and Zucchini is a new favorite of mine.  The dish turned out amazingly.  The flavors went together so wonderfully and it was surprisingly easy to make.  Let me just say, if you've ever wanted to make Zucchini Parmigiana, do it now!  You will love it as much as I do!

Overall, my experience with Hello Fresh's product could have been better but no company is perfect.  What food we were able to use was delicious and the meals were able to be salvaged into something we really did enjoy.  Except for the items I listed above, the rest of the items were fresh and tasted superb in the dishes they were used in.  As I stated, had I been buying this, I'm sure the company would have corrected these small issues but since I am only a one time customer providing a review, I did not persue that course of action.

Hello Fresh sends out a different menu each week.  Each box contains the necessary ingredients for the meals you choose to order out of the five for the Classic Box, which I received.  There is also a Vegetarian box that can be ordered with only three meals.  You order the box one week and the dishes are sent out for the next weeks delivery.  You can cancel at any time.  A credit card is required to order.

A Classic Box from Hello Fresh containing three complete meals costs $69 a week for two people.  You can also order a meal for 4.  For this review, we were gifted the meal for 2 box.

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