Try the World Subscription Box (Italy and Michelin Holiday Boxes)

Try The World is a popular subscription box service based in the United States. Every month, subscribers are sent a box containing a curated selection of gourmet foods from a new country. Each box is chef-curated by various chefs of that said country, and the items include ingredients to cook with, drink, and snacks.

The boxes come as monthly subscriptions (boxes are cheaper the more months you pay in advance), or you can buy boxes individually. They also have an online store, where you can buy certain products that you may want to refill or try out. There are various plans for every need, and you can pause or cancel your membership anytime. There's absolutely no commitment. 



I am happy to announce that Try The World is now available in Canada for delivery. For the month of September, I got both the "Italy Box" and "Michelin Holiday Box" to try. I am a travel enthusiast, so I take great pleasure in everything-travel related, so I was excited to open my first box. First up was the "Italy Box", which was curated by Chef Laura Vitale, YouTube sensation and host of Laura in the Kitchen and Cooking Channel's Simply Laura.

** All photography taken by Grace Y. courtesy of FoodintheCityTO **


The Italy Box came with 8 food items along with a cultural guide booklet with product descriptions, along with some Italian recipes. It was quite informative, and an interesting read! I also have to note the sturdiness of the box that the products arrived in, which I will definitely re-use it. Overall, the box truly offered a taste of Italy, as it contained a wide range of Italian pantry staples.  

Italy Box:

Classic Amaretti by Marabissi - In 1948, the Marabissi family opened their first bakery in Siena. Still today, they use flour ground from Pugliesi almonds grown in southern Italy instead of the more common (and cost effective) ground apricot kernel. Extra crushed almonds stirred into the batter give these cookies a delicious texture.

La Pasta Di Aldo Egg Pasta - Named “the finest pasta in Italy,” this pappardelle is made with just egg and flour. The owners roll the dough and hang the noodles by hand, so they retain their flavor and chewy texture. Unlike machine-made pasta, this pappardelle also has a porous surface, so the noodles hold onto sauces well. Pappardelle is best paired with cream or meat-based sauces, though it’s delicious with pesto as well.



Sabatino Tartufi Truffle Zest - Major chefs flock to Sabatino Tartufi for the quality truffle products that this family-owned company has been making since 1911. Their truffle zest is a brand new product made with real truffles that are grown on the family grounds—unlike most truffle condiments from the grocery store. Sprinkle the truffle zest onto pasta, risotto, eggs, and more to easily upgrade a basic weeknight dish.




Margherita Hazelnut Cream - Maison della Nocciola has been growing hazelnuts certified by the Italian government in Piedmonte for five generations. This particular cream is named after the daughter of the current owners and contains 54% hazelnuts—close to 40% more than most spreads on the market. It’s incredible on toast, with berries, or directly off the spoon.



Societa Agricola Acetomodena Balsamic Vinegar - Vibrant, tart, and slightly sweet, this IGP-certified vinegar is made with lambrusco and trebbiano grapes, and then aged until thick and syrupy. It’s an excellent complement to cured meats and sharp cheeses, but also pairs well with fruit and gelato.

Giuliano Cafe Coffee - Slow Food International specifically named Giuliano Caffe's coffee as a "master of taste." It's roasted for more than twice the length of the standard industrial process, which is one of the main components that creates its trademark flavor. In addition to making an excellent cup of coffee, this ground coffee is wonderful mixed into a meat rub or added into a traditional tiramisu.



Cascina San Cassiano Pesto - This rich, cheese-laden pesto is made by Cascina San Cassiano, a small Italian company that’s dedicated to sustainability. Try it with pasta, on top of a pizza, or as a condiment in sandwiches.




Terrigena Mushroom Risotto Kit


Michelin Holiday Box

The second Try The World box that I received was the "Michelin Holiday Box". Christmas is quickly approaching, and Try The World has a great gift for those who love traveling and food. This box was a little different, as it offers gourmet products from around the world instead of one focused country, and is available online now.



The Michelin Holiday Box is curated by Chef Thomas Raquel of Le Bernardin (3 star Michelin restaurant in New York City). The bright red box contained 8 gourmet holiday-themed products from all over the world.


 Marlette Pain D’Epices Baking Mix (France) - Marlette in France is an organic baking mix company created by two sisters named Margot and Scarlette. Their pain d’epice (or “spiced Bread”) is a traditional French holiday cake that’s made with freshly milled, organic flour and a variety of baking spices.

En Luen Pineapple Cake (Taiwan) - A buttery cake filled with sweet and tangy jam, pineapple cake is a ubiquitous pastry in Taiwan. In Taiwanese, pineapple is pronounced onglai, which is similar to the phrase for ‘the arrival and prosperity and fortune.’ This hidden meaning makes it a popular gift during Lunar New Year.


Yoffi Date Spread (Israel) - A symbol of good luck, dates are a popular holiday food throughout the Mediterranean. This date spread is made with ripe fruit grown on a community farm in Israel, and the packaging process that follows provides working opportunities for disabled individuals in the community. 

K’ekua Hot Chocolate Tablets (Mexico) - Perfect for winter, K’ekua’s chocolate tablets are made with the best Mexican cocoa beans according to Aztec tradition, an ancient civilization that was conquered by the Spanish over 400 years ago. K’ekua also helps marginalized communities by employing indigenous people in the area. 

Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co. Shortbread (Canada) - Rich with butter, shortbread was once an expensive and precious treat reserved for Christmas. After running a wildly popular catering company for over 25 years, Mark Pollard founded Sprucewood, where he now specializes in baking sweet and savory shortbread cookies from scratch.


 Darling Sweet Toffee (South Africa) - Frits and Hentie, the duo behind this toffee, have been hiring locals to make their signature sweets since 2013. Deliciously rich and creamy, its made with pure butter from Darling (a South African town known for its excellent butter) and wrapped in recycled and biodegradable packaging.

  Giuliano Tartufi Truffle Sauce (Italy) - In 1980, the founder of Guiliano Tartufi ventured into the forest with his grandfather and Irish Setter. Thanks to his dog’s keen sense of smell, Giuliano found his very first truffle and has been making a range of truffle products, including this sauce, since that day.

 Fox Gourmet Lemon Curd (United Kingdom) - Lemon Curd is an English fruit preserve made with lemon, sugar and eggs. In the late 19th century, people served the homemade preparation to their guests when they visited for tea. Fox Gourmet makes their lemon curd the old-fashioned way by cooking it over open pans.



Overall, Try The World Boxes offer a solid mix of items pertaining to the country of each box. It's a great way to sample gourmet foods from around the globe in the comfort of your own home. It's not the cheapest subscription box, but you do get several items that are only available in specialty stores.

** All photography taken by Grace Y. courtesy of FoodintheCityTO **

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Disclaimer: The products provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.



Tasting East Thirty-Six's Fall/Winter Cocktail Menu

Located in the vibrant St. Lawrence Market district is the 1920's style bar East Thirty-Six. East Thirty-Six is a restaurant and cocktail bar focusing on house-made ingredients for craft cocktails and a gourmet menu of shareable dishes. Co-owner and Mixologist, Julien Salomone, brings several years' experience to the beverage program by "infusing syrups, tinctures and liquors in-house to heighten the stunning array of cocktails."

Here you will find an extensive list of seasonal cocktails like the Island Delight, Rouge Passion, and Le Caterina. Check out their list of cocktails here.


A couple of weeks back, we had the pleasure of attending the fall/winter tasting at East Thirty-Six. That evening, guests got to try four new cocktails from their fall/winter drinks menu: 

The St-Germain - Beefeater gin, st-germain elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, syrup, and cava


Apothecary - Hayman's london dry, Hayman's sloe gin, tonic syrup, lemon juice, rosemary tincture, and perrier


Nutcracker - Lot 40 rye, drambuie, house spiced rum, walnut bitters, and black cardamom


Night Capp - coffee vanilla infused bourbon, macadamia nut syrup, and espresso


East Thirty-Six is an intricately designed and sophisticated space inspired by the Old Hollywood vibe, It's rather reminiscent of a 1920s era bar with dark furnishing, marble bar, and steel light fixtures. Patrons are greeted by a large bar space where they are welcome to enjoy an array of craft cocktails by Julien Salomone. Compliment your craft cocktail with an assortment of sharing plates from East Thirty-Six's gourmet menu of shareable dishes like the octopus, Humboldt squid, Berkshire pork belly, or a platter of oysters.





East Thirty-Six is an ideal spot for a social gathering, intimate dinners, or after work events. Many of the shareable-plated dishes are perfectly paired by the cocktails and wine accompaniment. So, it's an especially good place for group gatherings, as you can try a variety of dishes. East Thirty-Six is open daily (4 pm to 2 am), and serving food from 5 pm to 1 am (Monday to Sunday). 



Address: 36 Wellington St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C9

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East Thirty-Six Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Morals Village Mississauga

Morals Village is a hot pot restaurant chain with over 600 locations in China. They opened their first Canadian location in 2015, and has since grown at a relatively rapid pace. About 1.5 weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Morals Village Mississauga Grand Opening Event. The Mississauga location is their 5th Canadian location, and they have plans to open another in Ottawa. With that being said, Morals Village prides themselves in providing top-notch quality and Szechuan cuisine influenced flavour with their hot pot offering.



 Hot pot is not only a great dining experience with either small or large group of people, but it's perfect for the cold months ahead. At Morals Village, customers are able to experience Szechuan style hot pot. Combining traditional flavours and innovative cooking techniques, Morals Village offers a more fun and innovative way to enjoy hot pot in the city. Here, they provide a more upscale hot pot experience, and it does reflect in their pricing. Dinner is $25.99 on the weekday for adults, and +$2 for weekends. Price-wise, it is higher than other hot pot establishments, but the quality ingredients are definitely noticeable.

 There was also a customization aspect to doing hot pot at Morals Village Mississauga, as you are able to create your own sauce. A wide variety of sauces are available at the designated sauce station, and include options like chili oil, sesame oil garlic, satay, soy sauce, and more. You are more than welcome to mix and add different sauces to your liking.



The evening started with some snacks from the front including my favorite golden buns with condensed milk. These buns are so good when they're fresh out of the oven!


During this time, bloggers and media guests were given the opportunity to take pictures from a fully decorated table with all of the menu items before the dinner commenced.

There are now 14 broths to choose from, and they do come with an extra surcharge (starting at $3). There are three new broths on the menu including an exclusive spicy soup base (pure oil extract) with a rating of 8 chili peppers. I wouldn't recommend getting that one unless your spice tolerance is extremely high. Instead, I would opt for either the Original Spicy Soup Base (+$3) or their house special, The 10-year Special Spicy Soup Base (+$8).

HOW TO EAT HOT POT:

1) Choose soup base.
2) Create your own favorite dipping sauce mix.
3) Drop hot pot meats & veggies into boiling soup.
4) Dip well cooked meats and veggies into dipping sauce and enjoy.

10 Year Special Spicy Soup Base



The restaurant itself was very spacious with plenty of group seating. I also liked how each table has their own individual hot pot stove, and that you can control the heat intensity. Browsing through their extensive AYCE offering, I noticed that the Certified Angus Rib Eye Beef Slices is now on the menu without an added surcharge. Speaking of meat, all the meat are of higher quality then you tend to expect from a hot pot restaurant, and there are a great variety of options. With that being said, Morals Village offers an extremely wide selection of food to order from, which was nice.


Signature Green Pepper Soup Base


Sweet Tomato Ox Soup Base


Mountain Cliff Wild Mushroom Soup Base


Homemade Pork Bone Soup Base


 Please enjoy the pictures from our dinner at Morals Village Mississauga.







The drinks menu consisted of several juices like watermelon juice and kiwi juice. I opted for the Watermelon Juice, which was super refreshing, and it was freshly made. I don't believe that they have their liquor license yet, but I was told that it was in the works.










Our entire table was extremely full by the end of dinner. However, a few of us still had room for desserts. The only dessert that was on the menu was either chocolate or vanilla ice-cream. The one downside is that each customer is limited to only one ice-cream cone, which is odd for an AYCE place. Overall, it was a very well thought-out event with a lot of entertainment (live DJ, face changer dancer, and hip hop dance crew), and there was definitely a lot of food for everyone. I had an enjoyable evening, and I can't wait to return to Morals Village Mississauga for another night of hot pot.



 Thank you to Sweven Media for the invitation and Morals Village Mississauga for hosting a great event!

Address: 2-1177 Central Parkway W, Mississauga, ON, L5C 4P3

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.
Morals Village Hot Pot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

98 Aroma

In Chinatown, there is a plethora of Asian dining options to choose from. Recently, I had the opportunity to check out the newly opened 98 Aroma where they offer refined Northern Chinese cuisine. The prices are higher than some of the neighboring establishments, so I highly recommend going with a group of 3-5 people to offset the costs. This way, you can order several dishes to share, as most plates are served with generous portion sizes and are meant for sharing. 

The outside may look unassuming, but the interior was designed to replicate traditional Chinese decor with its elaborate wood ornaments, and Asian-inspired craft works. The dimly lit restaurant sets a very relaxing ambiance, and there are several private booths available along with tables.

The menu consisted of several popular Northern Chinese dishes like dumplings, scallion pancakes, and spicy seafood and beef dishes. Most of Northern Chinese dishes are characterized by its bold flavors, and dishes are served in big portions. So, you can expect both at 98 Aroma. My friend and I started off with the refreshing Summer Breeze Salad ($9.99) - a colorful mixture of sweet-potato noodles, julienne leeks, bell-peppers, red cabbage, radishes, onions, and carrots with a sweet vinaigrette


Northern Chinese cuisine is very wheat-based, so I had to order the Pan Fried Pork and Chives Dumplings ($9.99), which was very good. The crispy potstickers were filled with a generous amount of pork, and the chives gave it a nice aroma after being pan fried.  


 Next up was their signature dish, the Steamed Tilapia with Chopped Bell Chilies ($29.99) - the dish arrived in a considerable sized bowl with the bone-in tilapia slathered in a rich yet spicy sauce. The fish was juicy and flaky, and the chili-based sauce complemented it beautifully. However, there were just way too many bones, so be extra careful when eating. 


 
I enjoyed the crispy texture of the Fried Salt and Pepper Calamari ($15.99), and it was perfectly spiced. 


Out of all the dishes, my least favorite was the Signature Chicken Wings ($15.99). Pricewise, it's pretty expensive for wings, and it was lacking in flavor. The peppers were sporadically spread out to the side, so it wasn't spiced very well.


Overall, I had an enjoyable dining experience at 98 Aroma. The restaurant was bustling with customers that Friday evening, and I thought that the wait staff did a good job of handling the customer service. Since they are a new establishment, there were two new waiters on staff training around that time. They were relatively slow, but it's understandable since they're new. 98 Aroma is a welcome addition to the area as they offer a more refined take on Chinese food, and is sure to please the people in the area looking for a nice place to dine.

Address: 440 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2G8

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


98 Aroma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato