Food local products

The Manitoba Box – A Culinary Staycation

I stopped at one of my local Safeway stores the other day to pick up The Manitoba Box. This box is advertised as containing 22 locally produced items, and sells for $49.99. Most of the items in the box are food and beverage items for human consumption. There is a dog treat, and some lip balm as well.

The Manitoba Box packaged..
The Manitoba Box before I got around to opening it.

The first thing to make clear is that this The Manitoba Box should not be confused with this one. Both feature Manitoba made products, but the one I’m writing about is more of a sampler (though with some full-sized items). This box is also sponsored by the Province of Manitoba tourism.

The Manitoba Box.
Some of the items in The Manitoba Box.

Old Favourites

Many years ago I worked in a grocery store. I remember when Ronnie’s Seeds first came on to our shelves. I liked them from the very beginning. There were fewer empty shells and generally they cracked better than the other brands. It was fun to reacquaint myself with these brands.

Ronnie's Jumbo Seeds
There is a regular-sized back of Ronnie’s Jumbo seeds.

Another three old favourites in the box are: A Gorp bar, a Rawnata flax treat, and a package of Hemp Hearts. These are all treats I really enjoy. I like the new, round shape of the Gorp bars. I also really enjoy the lightness of the Rawnata snacks. Although the Hemp Hearts make a good cereal or salad topper, I enjoy them straight out of the package.

The Manitoba Box contains three old favourites.
Three of my favourite products found in The Manitoba Box.

Some other old favourites that don’t have photos, are: Smak Dab Honey Horseradish Mustard, Utoffeea, and some Bee Maid Honey.

The Manitoba Box Beverages

There are six beverages in The Manitoba Box. Three are already in liquid form and three require the addition of water. The first is Pic a Pop, which in recent years has made a big comeback. Then there is Farmery root beer. Followed by Royale Corporation’s Kiki Hibiscus tea with ginger and lemon. There is a prebiotic beverage, and finally there are two coffees. A French roast from DeLucas, and a medium roast from Stone City.

I can’t say that I find the Prebiotic drink very interesting. I didn’t notice it do anything with or for my gut, and the it’s bland to drink. However, I enjoyed all the other beverages, particularly the Hibiscus tea.

The Manitoba Box Gets Saucy

The Manitoba Box Tasty Heat
The Tasty Heat Meat Curry Powder from The Manitoba Box.

So, the Manitoba box also contains a couple of sauces. There is a Root Beer Barbeque sauce from Bon Vivant BBQ sauces and a Meat Curry Powder from Tasty Heat. I enjoyed the Root Beer Barbeque sauce, but I really love the Meat Curry Powder. I’ve tried the Tasty Heat hot sauces. I like them. The Meat Curry Sauce on the other hand, take the mix of heat and flavour to another level. I will definitely be ordering more of this.

BBQ sauce
The Bon Vivant Root Beer BBQ Sauce.

Odds and Ends

As with any sampler box there are a couple of things that won’t hit the sweet spot for you. For me, the Nutty Club popcorn is fine, but the bag is too small. There is some lip balm and a dog treat. I’m sure come winter I will want the lip balm, but not at the moment. I have no dog, so the dog treat will just sit there. The fire starter may get put to use as the nights grow colder.

Given the number of things in The Manitoba Box, there are some that I intend to use, but haven’t done so yet. I’m looking forward to trying the Kaboom! chicken coating. There is also a Stak Beans Chili mix I’m going to make in the near future. The Bagelsmith Everything Bagel spice I plan on using in some form of bread making.

At $49.99 The Manitoba Box is a good value. It allows you to try a good variety of Manitoba products. It allows for a chance to discover new things about your province even if you are only able to do it with your kitchen. Hopefully, along with the publicity it generates, there is also some profit for the Manitoba producers who have contributed to The Manitoba Box.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.