Last Thursday our first box of weekly meals from hellofresh.de arrived here at Learnalittle towers. I thought it might be useful to give a short “snap” review of it for anyone else thinking of using the service here in Germany.
First I should explain what the product is. HelloFresh is a weekly food-delivery service (or a wöchentlicher Lebensmittellieferservice) given you all the ingredients to make either 3 or 5 meals for 2 or 4 people. You can choose on a box for Omnivores or Herbivores. The meals are fixed, but you have the option to cancel the box on a week by week basis. One key point is that you are basically cooking from first principles here. If your meal has a garlic yoghurt dip, then you need to crush the garlic and add it to the yoghurt. Think of it as a home-study cookery course, not a Waitrose ready-to-eat meal.
Information on the company is a bit contradictory. In this article it describes Berlin-based Dominik Richter as the founder, which fits with this article from crunchbase. However this article from the Guardian lists lawyer Patrick Drake as the founder. This fits in with the story told on the HelloFresh British website. I guess the mystery will have to remain a little longer, time to get down to the food.
We ordered the 2 people 3 meals options for meat-eaters. All the ingredients come in a nicely packed cardboard box that you can track online via the delivery company. Because Learnalittle Towers is well away from civilization our box gets delivered on a Thursday. If I understand it correctly big-city folk can get their earlier in the week. Actually the day suits me, I can cook over the weekend and if the Learnalittle children like one of the meals it can get served Friday or Monday.
In the box are all you need for 3 meals – ours came with a) meat + 1 veggie meal (Marinaded pork with oven-cooked potatoes), b) a meat salad (Mexican chicken salad – see below
) and c) a vegetarian warm meal (Gnocchi with creamy spinach). As mentioned above all the food is prepared from first principles. You make the marinade for the meat, you chop the herbs, however all the foods seemed clean and ready to use. The only ingredients you need are salt, pepper, and some butter/olive oil. At the moment I like preparing all the food myself, but I wonder if somewhere along the line I decide its cheaper and easier just to download the recipes from the website and buy the food cheaper from the Aldi. This would certainly be the German approach !
The smart part of the whole package is the effort put in by HelloFresh to make sure the food, particularly the fresh meat remains chilled during the journey, This is done using frozen water pouches, think of the large bubble-wrap packaging you get/got from Amazon filled with ice. On top of this you get a sheep, well actually a large wool-filled bag for insulation that still smells of the sheep who donated it. The sheep are intended to be rounded up and when you have a box of 5 print off a label, stock it to a sheep-filled cardboard box and send the sheep home.
Along with the food you get menu cards (naturally in German) but with plenty of pictures. Certainly my German could cope with the instructions, so we are needing high-level translating skills. The recipes all seemed relatively quick one (You don’t hit instruction 1, marinade the duck for 24 hours). Importantly the portion sizes are generous, enough in our case to feed a family of 2 adults and 2 kids without complaints, although of course you can always throw in an extra dish if you have hungry eaters.
The meals were actually praised by Mrs Learnalittle and the children didn’t complain (a rare event given that plain pasta is a firm favourite for the younger generation). As for me, I like the food, I enjoy the fact I’m cooking something new, however I suspect that I won’t be ordering every week, at which point I’ll be back in my German housewife’s mode and picking the ingredients of the Aldi shelves…
Note: Prices are on the website. Once I get it sorted I’ll add a coupon-code here so you can try your first box at a reduced rate.