It's nearly halfway into the month of August, and I'm finally posting my Foodie Penpals reveal for July. That's what happens when you travel and then have seemingly endless jetlag. My foodie penpal, Stephanie, knew about my trip and was kind enough to wait until my return to send my parcel to me. That meant that the box wasn't sitting on my doorstep for two weeks while I was away, tempting potential thieves; more importantly, it also meant that everything was nice and fresh by the time I got around to peeking inside.
Freshness was most important for the two homemade items that Stephanie included: biscotti and caramel popcorn. The popcorn was the first thing I'd noticed when looking inside the box on the day that it arrived. Unfortunately, I hadn't picked up the parcel until the evening, and our apartment is a bit too dark to take good pictures after sunset, so I had to wait until the next day to properly open the package and photograph my spoils before I was free to devour the popcorn. It wasn't easy to restrain myself, and luckily the experience was worth the wait. The biscotti was also very tasty, and was especially tempting first thing in the morning when I was wandering around with a cup of tea wondering what to eat for breakfast.
Speaking of tea, Steph also sent several new flavors of tea for me to try. Coincidentally, my radio show this past week was about tea, so shortly after seeing my first-ever serving of "pu-erh," I discovered what it is and how it's made. I've always wondered what it would taste like to make a mixture of tea and hot chocolate, and now I know: surprisingly good.
Finally, the box also contained a trio of baking ingredients to aid in future culinary adventures. I was amused to see the lavender-flavored sugar because I had just picked up a tin of "cooking lavender" during my trip to the US; I found it on sale at Pennsylvania's Longwood Gardens and thought it might make an interesting component of one of my future Foodie Penpals parcels. I did not expect to be receiving a similar/related thing in my own package that very same month!
I have been doing more cooking than baking recently, but this parcel has given me some incentive to be a bit more well-rounded in the kitchen. I'm looking forward to whipping up something with the hazelnuts, vanilla, and lavender (though probably not all together), and then enjoying it with a nice cup of tea. Thanks to Steph for all the goodies, and for making my one-year Foodie Penpals anniversary a good one!