It started with an innocuous little food parcel exchange between two mail-loving food bloggers - Evelyne from Cheap Ethnic Eatz and Natalie from Natalie's Killer Cuisine - and now a beautiful Foodie Exchange Group has blossomed! Combining the joy of discovering new food with the excitement of receiving a parcel in the mail, what could be better? As desribed on the group page, "this is a group for foodies from all over the world who wish to be matched up with other foodies to exchange local food related items in the form of a 'care package'".
I actually met Evelyne when I was living in Montreal last year, when I attended a couple of her Dinner Group meet-ups. We randomly met up again in the food-blogosphere a few months ago through Foodbuzz (yes, it is a small world after all...sorry, I'm sure the song won't stay in your head for too many days) so I was very keen to do a foodie exchange with her and get some Quebecois treats!
And oh... what treats she sent me. The most amazing smell wafted out when I opened the parcel (seconds after retrieving it from the post office), and I was so excited to find a package of wild mushrooms inside! I was actually a little surprised they were allowed through quarantine, but my god I'm glad they did. The package of dried Boletus edulis has some French writing on the back, which Evelyne was kind enough to translate for me - "They have been appreciated since Roman times. In their dehydrated state, they are richer in protein than any other vegetable, except for hazelnuts. The entire mushroom is comestible. This is the most sold wild mushroom in the world. Soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour and will quadruple in weight. They are delicious in soups or as a side dish. Fry in a pan with garlic, salt and pepper." I am so looking forward to eating these... I think perhaps a risotto is on the cards..? In the meantime however I'll just keep sniffing the bag like a crazed mushroom fiend. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Also in the parcel was a lovely card, some Domaine Pinnacle Ice Cider, bonbons covered in pistachio and sesame seeds, and........... some St Hubert Poutine Sauce Mix!! Yay, it's poutine time! I wrote about poutine recently, and now shall begin my quest to find fresh cheese curds in Perth, or make my own, or come up with a suitable alternative. Oh, and plan a big night on the booze in readyness for the poutine magic :D
Thanks so much Evelyne, it really was a fantastic exchange parcel! If you want to see what Evelyne received from me, visit her post here.
I followed up my Quebecois exchange with an Arizona one with Felice from Felice in the Kitchen. My good run with Australian Quarantine was not to continue, and when I saw the big yellow and blue Quarantine stickers on the parcel I suspected the worst. Following the sticker's instruction to "open immediately as quarantine documents are enclosed", I discovered that some "Smokin' hot microwave popcorn" had been seized. Yep, unpopped popcorn is a big no-no when entering or posting into Australia, and Quarantine decided I was not allowed to enjoy some smokin' hot action in case I instead decided to plant the popcorn in my garden and allow the country to become overrun with smokin' hot corn plants.
The Quarantine documentation informed me that I could choose to pay $42.50 to have the popcorn returned to Felice, or I could take no action and it would be destroyed. I hope they destroy it by some sort of heating method.
Luckily I was allowed to keep my other Arizona goodies - Taco Sauce spice mix, and Texas Wildfire Dip Mix. So although I won't be having a smokin' hot time, I'll at least be able to enjoy some wildfire.
Thanks very much Felice! I'll let you know how I go with the heat! If you want to see what I sent to Felice, see her blog post here.
And if you would like to get involved in the Foodie Exchange Group, check out the page here.