I’ve been wanting to join one of these snack box subscriptions for a while now, so when I read an article in one of Israel’s popular news sites about one such service which started delivering to Israel, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to give this thing a try. We subscribed to 3 month worth of Universal Yums boxes and in this post we’ll share the boxes we received, what was inside and what we thought of it.
Universal Yums ships monthly boxes of snacks. Each month you get snacks and candies from a different country. They promise to provide a mix of salty and sweet flavors and keep it authentic. Previous boxes included snacks from Mexico, Japan, Italy, India, Colombia and more.
$13.00 /mo for the Yum Box which includes “6 or more snacks”.
$25.00 /mo for the Yum Yum Box which includes “12 or more snacks”
Free in the US. They also ship to Canada, UK and Israel. For international charges check their FAQ.
Inside the box is a cute information pamphlet with trivia games, info about the goods and a clue to next month’s box. The pamphlet is upbeat, fun and well thought of. In addition the box contains components of the country’s flag made from colorful strips of crepe paper. Interestingly enough the three boxes we received contained flags with the same colors: red, blue and white (our theory is that Universal Yums got stuck with too much red, blue and white crepe paper. Russia, are you next?).
The weakest part of the packaging is the box itself. It’s a simple cardboard printed with the company’s branding, but it’s the same container used for shipping, so by the time it got to us it was full of stickers and sharpie marks.
February 2016 Box – France
This box included 8 different snacks. Heavy on the sweet side with only one salty snack out of the 8 and too much toffee candies which we personally don’t care much for. Having said that, the ones we liked, we REALLY liked.
- Rochambeau Cheese Puffs – Very crunchy with a pungent cheese smell and taste. What can I say, I just love cheesy puffs. This bag didn’t stay full for long.
- Pierrot Gourmand Fruit Lollipop – We got the “Fresh raspberry” taste – and while the taste is nice the texture is gooey and viscous. This definitely can’t be good for your teeth.
- Loc Maria Dark Chocolate Crepe Dentelles – Crunchy thin layers of wafer covered with dark chocolate. It has a fun uber crunchy texture but taste wise – meh.
- LiquiCroc Chocolate Dragees – Dark chocolate with salted butter caramel filling. The condensed caramel was a delight and my only complaint is that they didn’t include more of these in the box.
- Carambar – Tasty caramel with hints of chocolate. I could have enjoyed this one if it came in a different form, other than teeth destroying toffee.
- Lutti Magnificat Caramels – Caramel candies made of French butter, whole milk and creme fraiche with a hard exterior shell and a gooey interior. Yum!
- Chabert & Guillot Nougat Bar – This nougat bar, made with honey, pistachios and almonds was referenced by the beatles in one of their songs! As far as recommendations go you can’t beat McCartney & Co.
- St Michel Madeleines – Dense moist cake not overly sweet. As it turns out they’re quite popular in Korea and Singapore, as we’ve seen them sold in various supermarkets. Yum!
March 2016 Box – Philippines
This box included 9 different snacks with a good balance between sweet and savory and different kinds of snacks. It also had some nice surprises and overall was very satisfying.
Golden Sweet Corn Snack – In contrast to France’s savory cheese puffs, these were actually sweet. They’re slightly bigger and highly addictive.
- Pandan Cake – During the last month we had quite a few chances to eat pandan, as it’s quite popular in Singapore. The pandan provides a pleasant and grassy flavor to this sponge cake and a greenish tint due to the leaves’ chlorophyll.
- Melon Dew Menthol Candy – I’m not a gum/candy person so I was kinda of bummed to see that three of the treats in this box were candies. That said, melon/mint is a novel flavor combination for me which was rather nice.
- XO Coffee Candy – It tastes like actual coffee, not coffee flavoring. The pamphlet says it even contains caffeine. It had some weird aftertaste that I didn’t care much for.
- Lipps Mango Candy – A simple mango flavored candy. Nothing else to add.
- King Choc Nut – Has a really strong nut flavor, but don’t get me wrong – it’s nothing like Reese’s. The pamphlet says it’s only made with five ingredients: ground peanuts, milk powder, coco, vanilla and sugar.
- Goldilocks Polvoron – These thick, soft, crumbly shortbread cookies were my favorite out of the entire box and something I would surely get again given the opportunity. The purple one is Ube (purple yam) flavored while the white one is cookies and cream flavored. Luckily, these are actually made in the US by a Filipino bakery, which will make it easier for me to get!
Pinky Goodies Butterscotch Bar – A small cute butterscotch bar which comes in a variety of flavors like chocolate, tropical fruits and nuts. We got the pineapple bar and it was really delicious.
April 2016 Box – Poland
The best box of the three. This box included 9 different snacks and candies, with a large variety of chocolate, which I was missing from the other two boxes. Before tasting the treats in this box I sat down for a chat with my Polish friends. They gave me some more insights and and told me stories from their childhood and personal experience.
- Onion Potato Prazynki – Much less crunchy than the American chips we know and love. These chips’ texture takes a while to get used to. The major advantage of this texture, I presume, is that it remains the same whether the bag was just opened or left open for a few days. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the Israeli snack Dubonim. In any case, by the time we finished the photoshoot all the chips in the bag were gone. This snack is quite popular among children in Poland, since it’s pretty cheap and tasty.
- Katarzynki Dark Chocolate Gingerbread – The texture wasn’t to our liking. It resembles the Israeli honey cookie (“Duvshaniot”) and the chocolate coating melted in my hand, which made it very messy to eat. The company making these cookies has been operating since 1763. My friends told me it’s not uncommon for families to buy large packs of these, especially around Christmas.
- Prince Polo Hazelnut – Hazelnut heavy chocolate intertwined with a crunchy wafer. And by “crunchy” we mean the least crunchy a wafer can get before it’s no longer defined as “crunchy”. I guess Polish people really like their treats soft. Our friends say Prince Polo is considered a quality brand. The Hazelnut flavor was originally seasonal, but has since been in production all year round due to its popularity.
- Solidarnosc Candied Plums – I’m usually not a fan of dried fruit covered in chocolate but this one is an exception. The chocolate was quite good.
- Krowki Milky Cream Fudge – I love the Russian version of this treat, and fudge in general so I wasn’t surprised I liked this one as well.
- E Wedel Chalwa – The inclusion of this in the box was surprising for us, since Chalwa, a dense sesame based Middle-East sweet, is also very popular in Israel. It was interesting to know that it’s ubiquitous in Poland as well. It’s tasty and more moist and palatable to western audiences than the Israeli version.
- E Wedel Panna Cotta Milk Chocolate Bar – Real cream filling topped with fresh raspberry preserves and covered in milk chocolate. E Wedel is one of the more well known and loved chocolate brands in Poland. This treat is intensely sweet, which had us divided. Tali loved this, while Opher can still taste the sugar to this day.
- Milka Chocolate Covered Cow – Milka is also very popular in Israel, so we aren’t strangers to the brand. These cows, however, are made exclusively in Poland. You can’t go wrong with a Milka chocolate and a crunchy cookie.
- Wawel Raczki “Lobster Tail” – They’re called “Lobster Tail” because of their hard exterior, soft interior and pink coloring. This one had a very strange sensation in the mouth. As you suck on the sweet outer shell, you get bits of the inner savory peanut filling. I think I’d have liked it better if there was actual lobster inside instead. Our friends tell us these are mostly bought by old people. It figures, old people like strange things.
The verdict: For 17$ (65₪) I won’t consider these boxes as very VFM. Instead of paying for a large amount of sweets, though, you pay for hand picked curation of interesting products. The concept is well thought of and could definitely work well as gift. Universal Yums have some room for improvement, but that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of getting their international treat boxes in the mail every month.