I haven’t gotten a care package since college, when my mom used to send me the most amazing “Passover in a box” every year. But I love making them and sending them to people, so when I saw that the gluten-free folks on my favorite vegan forum, the Post Punk Kitchen, were organizing a parcel swap, I jumped on board. I was paired up with the fantabulous Mandee of Cupcake Kitteh, and we exchanged a little flurry of emails about what kinds of stuff we had access to and what kinds of things intrigued us.
A few weeks after we started coordinating, a GIANT box showed up at my door. It was like Christmas morning; I was filled with glee and anticipation as I tore into it to see what was inside. Mandee is in Australia (!!) which meant that when my package arrived it was full of scrumptious goodies that I would never be able to buy for myself. Best of all she sent bread. Lots and lots of packaged bread. Rolls and toast slices and panini. England and Australia are way, way ahead of us here in the US when it comes to shelf-stable delicious soft bread that is both vegan and gluten-free. Oh, and gnocchi! I can’t find a recipe for gluten-free, vegan gnocchi, so it has been a long time since I’ve had delicious fluffy little pillows of potato-y joy.
My package contained:
- Vege Chips in Original, BBQ, French Onion, and Sweet and Sour flavors. These are puffed chips, the texture of shrimp chips. So tasty, and naughtily addictive.
- Vege Crisps in Rosemary Garlic flavor. These are slices of sweet potatoes and taro root, turned into thin chips.
- Sliced white bread, ciabatta rolls, panini rolls, and pizza crust
- Pretzels (I haven’t had a pretzel in several years!)
- Poppy seed crackers
- Wallaby Bars in Cashew & Currant and Macadamia & Ginger flavors. These look amazing – I haven’t tasted them yet because I am hoarding them. Plus, they’re called Wallaby Bars. How awesome is that?
- Crystal salt flakes – Special salt from a special area in Australia. I’m hoarding this, too, but I am also dying to taste it. Maybe some good olive oil and a sprinkle of crystal salt on one of my new rolls?
- Plum jam – I’ve been eating this on my new toast and it is outrageously good.
I had a really good time putting together Mandee’s parcel with so many of my favorite things, but I don’t want to write about what I put inside until I know she’s received it. No spoilers! Doing a parcel swap with Australia isn’t really a good idea when you’re flat broke (I somehow managed not to anticipate how much it would cost to ship a box of food across the world), but I’m so glad that I did this at least once. I really enjoy Mandee’s blog and she seems like a lovely person from her blog, the PPK forums, and our email conversations, and getting to actually exchange tangible items with someone who is part of my virtual world is a very cool feeling. All this vegan, gluten-free food that I read about and look at pictures of, all these restaurant reviews of places I’ll never visit – the parcel swap in some way brought it all to life. Not to mention the giant box full of exotic treats I get to play with now.
All in all (provided my package makes it to Australia in one piece), I declare my first ever parcel swap to be a rousing success! Thanks, Mandee! I hope you enjoy mine as much as I’ve enjoyed yours! Okay… time for some plum jam on toast.