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IMG_20140630_122453A few weeks ago on Instagram I posted a pic that had a number of you intrigued, titled #foodiepenpal.

“What a great idea!” “What’s a Foodie Penpal?” and “How can I get involved?”was the gist of the responses to my pic. A few of you were quite excited about the concept. Well, all is revealed here.

I have recently signed up to participate in a monthly foodie penpal exchange. The basic idea is simple: each month the organiser (founder Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean for the US and Canada, and Carol Anne at This Is Rock Salt for the UK/EU) assigns each person someone to send food goodies to and receive from in US and Canada, and in the UK/EU a person to send you foodie goodies and a different person for you to send to. Hope that makes sense.

To make life easy there is a list of stuff to ask your recipient, such as any food allergies, likes and dislikes, that kind of thing. But really it is up to you what you wish to send, including a handwritten note. There is a budget limit – for US/Canada it is $15 and UK/EU, €10/£10, plus posting – just to keep everyone on even footing.

This was my first month and I was lucky to get a terrific package from Chiara on the island of Capri. How exotic for me! My mail person was dead-impressed. :-). Not only had she sent me a lovely email in the first instance to sound out what I might want, but her food gifts were so thoughtful, including a handwritten chocolate cake recipe that is on my must-make-soon list. Thank you so much, Chiara!

My recipient wasn’t so lucky as I was just down the road from her (well, she’s near Leicester) when speaking in global terms – hi Elina! She said she liked raspberry flavoured things and liked to bake so I sent some freeze-dried raspberries, some pretty baking cup papers and matching gift boxes, as well as a couple of healthy things (including a Weck pot of my coconut bacon) and some Scottish thistle tea, just to give her something Scottish. I got a really lovely thank you email back from her. I think I did alright for a first-timer!

So, to the package from Chiara. Well she knew I was a bit of a healthy blogger but that I also wanted a wee treat too. She did great on both scores with some delectable, locally-made limoncello biscuits – very treat-ish – some oregano grown on ‘her’ mountain, the hand-written cake recipe (now pinned to my fridge to remind me to make it soon) and the biggest surprise – liquorice! Not just any liquorice but pure liquorice – liquirizia – no sugar, just concentrated taste in tiny ebony nuggets. Initially they are a surprise in the mouth and then you think, well I will just have another. And another! Both treats are on my rather shabby coffee table (I really need to sand that down…).IMG_20140630_014718

I really enjoyed my first month of Foodie Penpals. If this has you intrigued, either contact Lindsey or Carol-Anne, depending on where you live. As far as I understand it is only for Americans, Canadians and Europeans for now but some of you others might like to start something like this yourself. It is a fantastic way to meet new people and experience new foods too. The special touch of the hand-written note is also pretty awesome.

Oh! And you don’t have to be a food blogger, or even a blogger, to join in.

All being well I’ll be back tomorrow with a recipe and a giveaway.IMG_20140630_015121


29 thoughts on “Special Delivery – My First Foodie Penpal Package

  1. What a fantastic idea – I’m all signed up and can’t wait!

    1. Excellent! You will enjoy it so much. Yay!

  2. runwright says:

    Just saw your foodie penpal post from the link-up. This was my first experience too and it was great. I am in the US and Lindsay’s exchange is slightly different – the person you send food to is the same person who sends food to you. Check out my post for my experience.
    I was so inspired by Foodie Penpals that I am also hosting a penpal exchange for runners or fitness themed gifts. It’s called Running Mates. Details are here if you or any of your readers are interested.
    It was great to read your blog. Hope you like mine also.

  3. How exciting! This is such a lovely idea 🙂 I’m also very intrigued by the pure liquorice, it sounds incredible!

    1. It was pretty odd at first (expecting sweet or salty, I suppose), but we really like the pureness of it.

  4. How wonderful 🙂 I’ve often thought I’d like to start a postal scheme for us to be able send each other our (postable) goodies xx

    1. It is a super idea. You could maybe do one for people who want spicy veggie treats and little quick handwritten recipes x

      1. Like a spice swap?? I always assume everyone has got a cupboard full of spices too though!

  5. whoahmelly says:

    This was my first Foodie Pen Pal too! It was so much fun, I look forward to participating again!

  6. Its my first month too, and really enjoyed it.

  7. mytastytest says:

    Amazing idea! I’m totally signing up. Thank you for telling us about this!

    1. Hi! That’s great news 🙂 I have a button on the bottom of my sidebar. Should take you right there. Or press the links in the blog. Cheers!

  8. Aren’t these swaps just delightful? I’ve participated off and on over the past 2 years and a never let down with what arrives at my door! Looks like you got some absolutely scrumptious treats!

  9. Lex says:

    Wow! That is ver cool that your foodie pen pal is from Capri. I love that the most about this program, that you get to connect with people from all over your country. Very cool. Looks like you got some great items. The chocolate cake recipe sounds good. And fresh oregano, oh my! 🙂

  10. Just a great idea for anyone who loves writing and cooking!

  11. Sue says:

    What a brilliant idea and exciting not knowing whatis going to arrive.

    Another matter for some unknown reason I am baking cakes, something I have never done, anyway all the recipes use so much sugar, I put less in but read this affects the moisture of the cakes, any suggestions ?

  12. Jenny B says:

    Just signed up! Looking forward to a delicious July! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your experience!

  13. Sue says:

    I am all signed up for the foodie penpal. … Exciting

  14. Susan says:

    Oh Kellie! This is such a wonderful idea! I don’t know of such a scheme in Australia, but I’ve always had fun exchanging foodie care packages with friends when they go overseas. It would be so great to do it with people who are at home in different parts of the world! Snail mail is the best!!!

  15. Sally says:

    What a fun concept Kellie.

  16. Sandra says:

    It was my first swap too and I loved both giving & receiving! x

  17. narf77 says:

    What a lovely idea 🙂 I wonder if we have anything like that here in Australia? I love the look of those little nuggets of licorice. That chocolate cake might be a family heirloom that you are now privy to. Best not share it unless you want to wake up with a horses head on the pillow next to you…just sayin’ 😉

    1. The thought had crossed my mind 😉 She is very lovely though. But I won’t blog it, no matter how much anyone tries to twist my arm 😉

      1. narf77 says:

        Probably for the best. Horses heads cost a fair bit to Fed-ex all the way to Scotland…

  18. Wonderful idea and I love the photo of the Pukka three mint tea (my absolutely favourite herbal tea).

    1. My fave too! Cold or hot, it is lovely stuff :-). Join up to Food Penpals. I’m doing it again in August (er, in a few day’s time).

  19. Lisa Baugus says:

    I would like to join Foodie pen pals. Please add me.

    1. Hi Lisa. If you want to join in do contact the relevant person, depending on whether you are in Europe or North America. 😊😊

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