A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a vegan food swap programme. This was my first month participating, so I didn't really know what to do - or what to expect.
The basic format is really simple. You're assigned two partners, one to send to, and one from whom you'll receive your package. (Of course, these could be the same, but in my case they weren't.) You exchange emails, discuss preferences, and let your sender know your address. Then send out your box, and blog about what you get back.
My receiving partner Mitsu requested primarily savoury items. I hadn't twigged that you could include homemade items (I'll know next time!) so I ended up sending quite a few ingredients, like unusual herbs and spices, because I was struggling for unusual ready-to-eat snacks. You can see what I sent her over on her blog. Although it felt like a challenge, I really enjoyed putting together a box, and I'm sure it'll get easier over time because now if I find something cute and unusual (with a long shelf life!) I can buy half a dozen for potential future swaps.
My parcel came from Mellissa Morgan, whose email signature describes her as "Chief Cupcaker" at Ms Cupcake (@mscupcakeuk). Can you imagine a better job title?
Mellissa sent me a hefty box of goodies, including two types of vegan marshmallows, cinder toffee, and peach jelly sweets. Perhaps the most unusual item in my box was a bar of "vegan jerky" - as an almost-lifelong vegetarian, I won't be able to comment on how it compares to the original, but it's a fascinating idea.
She also sent me two wonderful products from her own bakery: one nutty chocolate cupcake, and one giant sandwich cookie. The cookie sandwich consisted of two chocolate chip cookies filled with vegan buttercream, which was absolutely delicious, but so huge and sweet that I couldn't eat more than half of it at once! I was also more than happy to share the cupcake with my husband: there was as much depth of creamy ganache topping (generously studded with chopped nuts) as there was cake underneath.
I can't wait to dive in and sample all the rest. And I'm already looking forwards to next month!