Mantry is “the modern man’s pantry” in a bimonthly subscription box. They scour the US for the best artisan foods, and curate them into man-friendly themes, sending 5-6 full size super premium products every month, curated just for manly taste. Recently they decreased their price from $75 to $49, and the box now arrives bimonthly.
Your first box includes a fabulous wooden crate, plus a welcome kit! This is a review of the December 2016 Mantry – see the contents of the welcome kit here!
DEAL: Get a free jerky kit with any 12-month plan. Deal applies automatically, just visit and subscribe.
The wooden crate is cool and functional. It’s a fun way to keep your Mantry items out of the general population in the pantry, plus it is nice enough looking to make an awesome decorative item.
The theme for the December 2016 box is “South in Your Mouth.” The theme is more about the character of the items than their place of origin, as a peek at the above map confirms.
The accordion-style booklet contains a long blurb for each item, detailing its place of origin, a little about the craft producer who made it, a bit about what makes it awesome, and even a suggestion on use or great pairing suggestions.
The gorgeous food picks show some recipe suggestions incorporating the featured products. The Mantry website has the full recipes if you see something you just have to make.
The Curator’s Note states an indisputable truth: Southern folks are really passionate about their food. While most cities have one or two signature foods, The South, as a whole, reveres an entire way of thinking about food – rich, really spicy, homey and indulgent. This Mantry curation has gathered foods that fit that view.
Everything in the box.
Granola Jones Spice-A-Delic ($6.99): This gluten-free snack is very light on the sugar, and the rolled oats have a rustic texture. The distinctive character of the Hatch chili (presumably sourced from Hatch, NM) adds a mildly hot dose of flavor (it strikes me as the sun-dried tomato of the pepper world, as it has an analogous quality).
Not too many big chunks, as there isn’t any real sugar-crusting going on. The dried cranberries add a pleasant burst of tender sweetness, with the bulk of the granola being drier and hearty.
Raaka Bourbon Cask Aged Virgin Chocolate ($8.99): The nibs from which this chocolate is made are aged in bourbon casks, and you can certainly taste the resulting infusion in the final product. The bars don’t taste boozy, but they pick up the same nice dry, warm, and caramely notes that the bourbon would.
The bar uses a combination of cane sugar and maple syrup for sweetener, but the remainder of the nuance comes from the beans and the cask aging, as there are no other flavorings added.
The bar is fairly dark (82%), but it is sweetened enough that it makes great eating chocolate. They also don’t waste your time putting break lines on the bar – they know you’ll eat the whole darn thing!
Pink House Alchemy Sarsaparilla ($13): Rootbeer is one of the most varied soda flavors you can find, mostly because artificial flavoring is used. This sarsaparilla syrup infuses simple syrup with the root responsible for the iconic root beer flavor. The result is a natural tasting mixer that can be used to make delightful root beer at home (just add seltzer), or blended into cocktails.
Red Clay Southern Hot Sauce Verde ($5.50): This great sauce has it all! It has the heat of a Serrano (not wimpy, not painful), but it adds a blast of cilantro and fennel for an herby sweetness. The result is a sauce that has the wonderful flavors of a Southwestern sauce and the cidery zip and clean heat of a Louisiana style sauce.
Fox Point Farm Salted Vanilla Caramels ($8): These creamy caramels combine a classic, buttery-sweet caramel with the creamy, slightly tart richness of goats milk. They are finished with a dash of salt and vanilla – simple, yet indulgent perfection.
Each caramel has a few good bites in it. We admit that we combined these with the bourbon chocolate for a decadent treat!
Parma Sausage Pepperoni ($14.25): Made in the Strip District of Pittsburgh, this hefty pork pepperoni has a great smoky, spicy flavor. Great for pizza or straight up snacking, it has greater girth than most ‘roni, looking more like a small salami.
This Mantry did a fantastic job of capturing some beloved aspects of Southern cuisine – the aging, the spice, and the classic flavors of treasured libations. The only tough part is figuring out what to eat first!