Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hello Fresh!

A few weeks ago, someone on the Stuttgart Friends Facebook group asked about getting boxes of vegetables from co-ops in Germany.  Although I have never ordered vegetables that way, I am interested in doing it.  I need to broaden my palate and both my husband and I could stand to improve our diets.

Several co-ops are available in our area.  One person recommended Hello Fresh, which is not really a co-op per se, but a company that prepares boxes of fresh food that can be turned into delicious meals.  Hello Fresh is an international company, but I had not heard of it before I came to Germany.  I read up on it and didn't give it another thought until I was on an Air Berlin flight back from Hamburg.  The airline's magazine had a coupon for 20 euros off a box of food from Hello Fresh.  Since the boxes for three meals serving two people run about $50 (39.99 euros), I thought that was a generous deal.  I talked to Bill about it and, since he does a lot of the cooking and shopping, he decided it would be worthwhile to try Hello Fresh.


Here's someone's Hello Fresh review posted on YouTube.  These reviews are also what helped me take the plunge.

It turned out the 20 euro coupon was only good if you became a subscriber (two box minimum).  Since I wanted to just try the service, I went ahead and ordered a one time "Probierbox-Classic".  It cost about $51 and contains enough food for two people and three meals.  The box arrived a little while ago and I just unpacked it.  I'm very impressed thus far.  Have a look at these photos...      


The UPS guy joked that he'd brought me my Mittagessen.  Special thanks to Duolingo for teaching me that much German.


First impression of unpacked box.  Everything is neatly packed.


Fresh broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and an onion.  Pasta from Italy.


Recipe cards with photos.  Yes, the directions are in German.  Here's a good chance to exercise my budding German skills.  I'm sure the photos will help.



Directions are on the back...  Includes serving size info.




Fresh tomatoes.


Fresh basil.


Almonds, garlic, and spices



Cold pack with cream, mascarpone cheese, yogurt, and fresh mozzarella...


Fresh beef and fresh chicken.


Coupons for other services.


And the card that started my experiment.  I will very likely be subscribing, so I will get to use it.

Hello Fresh offers boxes that contain meat and vegetables, but they also have boxes for vegetarians and boxes with just fruit.  The boxes contain all you would need for the recipes featured except for some very basic ingredients like salt and pepper.  You don't have to get a box every week and you can pause service when necessary.  Next week's boxes have recipes that use mushrooms.  I don't eat mushrooms, so I won't be ordering that one; but I may very well get the box offered next.  We got the smallest box offered, which is for two people.  They do have larger boxes that contain enough food for four people.  They also offer boxes that have five meals for two or four people.

You do have to order your box before a certain time each week if you want one for the following week.  Once you order, Hello Fresh is great about keeping in touch and letting you know when to expect your delivery.  Mine was scheduled between 8:00am and 12:00pm today.  If no one will be home to collect the delivery, you can specify for it to be left with a neighbor or make other arrangements.  When you have ordered five boxes, you can return all the packaging materials to Hello Fresh and they will recycle it for you.

Here's one potential drawback to this service.  Say you don't like pork or, like me, you hate mushrooms.  Unfortunately, you can't ask for a substitution.  You can order a different box, say the vegetarian one or the fruit one.  But, say if you prefer the classic boxes that include meat, they won't give you a different recipe.  The recipes also vary and don't tend to be repeated.  If they do have one that turns out to be especially popular, the Hello Fresh folks might repeat it after at least fifteen weeks.  For more information about how this service works, I recommend opening the Hello Fresh Web site on Chrome (if you don't understand German) and reading the FAQs there to decide if their conditions are acceptable to you.  The nice thing is, if the boxes contain something you don't like, you don't have to buy them each week, even if you are a subscriber.

Bill and I will try making one of these meals tonight.  Stay tuned to find out how it went.  I have a feeling Bill will want me to order again since the service is very convenient.  The shopping is done for you and the ingredients are very high quality and fresh.  It also appears to be a great way to expand your culinary horizons and try something new.  I look forward to our experiments!


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