I’m taking a little break from the Vienna series to tell you about my first Foodie Pen Pals experience!
Foodie Pen Pals
What’s Foodie Pen Pals?
I only learned about Foodie Pen Pals last month. The program was started in the US by Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean back in 2011. Foodie Pen Pals is a way for food-loving bloggers and readers to get to know each other by sending a package of food items in the mail each month. Carol Anne of Foodie Pen Pals brought the idea over to the UK and Europe and runs the Foodie Pen Pals program each month.
How does it work?
Bloggers and blog readers alike can sign up on the Foodie Pen Pals page by the 4th of each month. You are then matched with a Foodie Pen Pal in Europe or the UK to whom you send your package. It’s not reciprocal, though, since a different Foodie Pen Pal will be sending a package to you. This way you get to know two different foodies!
What should I put in the package?
After getting matched up with your Foodie Pen Pal, you send an email to them asking them about their likes, dislikes, food allergies, dietary requirements, favourite flavours, etc. Once you hear their answers, you put together a special package containing food items and cooking accessories that you think your Foodie Pen Pal would like. Some people especially love to get local and authentic treats, such as Greek olive oil, Belgian chocolates, English tea, etc. You must also include a handwritten note of some kind in your package. This can describe the items you’ve included in the package or can be something else entirely such as a favourite recipe of yours or just a sweet note. The spending limit on the items is £10 or €10 (not including the postage fees).
When do I send the package?
Packages should be sent no later than the 20th of the month. Make sure to get a receipt showing the date you sent your package in case there are any delivery issues.
What do I do when I get my package?
Once you receive your package, rejoice at the delicious items you’ve received from another part of the world! Then send your Foodie Pen Pal a thank you email letting them know that you received their package. Bloggers then write a post at the end of the month detailing what they received in their package. Blog readers who do not have their own blog can write a guest post to share what they received from their Foodie Pen Pal. Blog posts are then shared on the Foodie Pen Pals Facebook page so everyone in the program can check out what other Foodie Pen Pals got (and to see what your pen pal thought of your package)!
My First Foodie Pen Pals Experience
Without much futher ado, let me tell you about my first Foodie Pen Pals experience!
I was matched with two lovely ladies, Eloise from the UK who blogs at Ellie’s Stuff and Rita, a blog reader, from Lithuania. I sent my package to Eloise and Rita sent a package to me.
Rita sent me an email asking me what kinds of foods I like. I love pretty much everything, but told her I especially love trying local foods and enjoy tea, coffee, chocolate, spices, and baked goods. I must say that Rita sent me a pretty fantastic package!
I was just coming home from a run when the package was delivered. My husband was probably just as excited as I was when it arrived and couldn’t wait for me to open it. Rita has some excellent packing skills — it took me a while to cut my way into the package!
Inside I found some lovely chocolates, potato pancake mix, honey, corn crackers, sesame and sunflower seed crackers, carrot chips, sweet pretzels and fruit tea. So far I’ve sampled the chocolates (the first thing I cracked open – delicious), the corn crackers (taste similar to rice cakes), the sesame and sunflower seed crackers (tasty – will be nice to nibble on with cheese), the sweet pretzels (unlike anything I’ve eaten before, very crunchy and subtle in flavour), and the carrot chips (sweetened with quince juice and taste like dried apples but with a very unusual texture). S and I have been enjoying trying all these new goodies — thanks again, Rita!
How can I take part in Foodie Pen Pals?
If you’re interested in taking part, head on over to the Foodie Pen Pals page to learn more about the program and to sign up. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to connect with other food-loving European bloggers. Who knows – maybe I’ll end up being your Foodie Pen Pal next month!