When you think of food delivery, what comes to mind? Pizza? Chinese?
How about a box of fresh food, precisely measured, along with recipe cards that take you step-by-step through cooking some delicious meals? That’s what HelloFresh does, and their amazingly popular service (7 countries worldwide!) has finally arrived in Switzerland!
I’ve been intrigued by the concept of fresh food, delivered to my door, for some time now. I’ve done a few of the farm box deliveries, and I loved getting farm fresh produce, but then there is the pressure to use up the produce before it starts to go bad. Cue frantic Googling of recipes and then shopping for all the additional ingredients. The great part about HelloFresh is that they take all of that work away.
(Read all the way to the end of the post for a great coupon code!)
I received my shipment bright and early on Tuesday morning, delivered by die Post (the mailman). It was beautifully packed, with a lot of recyclable paper bags. We’ve even kept the ice pack to use in the future. I made a short video of the unboxing, which you can view here:
We received three recipes: Yogurt Chicken Breast with Barley-Cucumber-Celery salad, Sandwich “American Style”, and Spicy Macaroni-Cheese Bake.
I was super pleased to see the quality of the ingredients, and that the meat was Swiss. That may seem strange for some of you – why does it matter about the name-brand ingredients, like Cathedral City Cheddar, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Emmi Gruyère or Bschüssig Swiss-made pasta? Or that the meat is produced in Switzerland? It’s not national pride I assure you! The quality of your ingredients improves the taste of your food! When you start with low quality or poorly produced ingredients, you get food that does not taste nearly as good as it should! And Switzerland has higher standards for their food than the E.U. or other nations, guaranteeing that their foods are GM free, that certain pesticides can’t be used, and that the welfare of the animals is a higher priority. So that made me have a huge sigh of relief. It’s nice to cook with ingredients that are the same as the ones I buy for myself, and which I feel good about feeding my family.
Now, onto the cooking itself!
The recipe cards ARE in German. I can read German, but if you really don’t understand something, there is a hotline available in the afternoons. Most Swiss can speak English well, if not very well, and you can always call if you run into problems. I would not be too scared to give it a try and see how you do. You can always call if you get stuck.
As suggested on the recipe card, I made the chicken dish first. The main ingredients here are the chicken breast, of course, and the pearl barley (called Gerste). I use pearl barley often to cook my favorite Swiss soup, but I’d never eaten it in a salad! In addition, there are cucumbers, celery, dried cranberries, honey, ginger and basil… really, these were some very interesting and surprisingly cohesive flavors! This salad, as written, is good – but marinating for a couple hours in the fridge I think would have elevated it to an even better level. (For the interest of accuracy, I made the recipes exactly as written .. not so easy for me, as I like to fiddle with things ;-)). The chicken breast gets baked in the yogurt, which made it very juicy. Again, it was hard not to fiddle here and add a bunch of seasonings to the yogurt – but even without them it was quite nice. My only quibble was that one of the instructions was to peel the celery and cucumber into strips using a vegetable peeler, which sounds easier than it actually was, haha. Next time I’ll just chop it. Perhaps it wouldn’t be as pretty in the photos, but tastes the same either way! All in all a very doable and easy to make meal for a weeknight, so a thumbs up on that one.
Our next meal was the sandwiches, which my kids were super excited about. The sandwiches were a double decker (3 pieces of bread), containing bacon, avocado, cheese, tomato, arugula (rocket), and a homemade garlic mayonnaise. They were served with sweet potato oven fries. The sandwiches tasted very nice, after we got them assembled. You honestly cannot go wrong with any of those ingredients! It felt like a mash-up between a B.L.A.T. (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, Tomato), a Club sandwich (3 pieces of bread), and a grilled cheese (The very last step is to take the assembled sandwich and grill it so the cheese melts). This was very amusing to my kids, as both parents got in on the action and tried to flip a double-decker sandwich with slippery ingredients and keep it intact. I think my kids would definitely give this two thumbs up for the entertainment factor alone.
Our third meal was the Spicy Macaroni Bake, which contained macaroni pasta, sundried and fresh tomatoes, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic and chives. As is to be expected, this got the seal of approval from my husband and kids. You can’t go wrong with cheesy pasta! I was not the chef for this meal, I’d gone to an outdoor concert with a girlfriend and my husband was in charge. He is no slouch in the kitchen, but his biggest frustration and stumbling block is coming up with meal ideas! So he was eternally grateful that he didn’t have to try to come up with something on his own or attempt a recipe that I had given him. So that was a big success. (This made a lot of leftovers, so I got to eat it the next day and I agree it was very tasty!)
I was quite impressed by our experience with HelloFresh. It feels like a great option for us as expats. As expats, we often have limited or no family living near us, and the culture in Switzerland is not generally big on bringing by food like it is in America or other places (when a person has a baby, or an illness, it’s completely normal for friends and family to take shifts bringing meals to the family in need!).
Sometimes it’s great to not have to think about shopping and planning food, and not spending lots of cash on take away and food delivery. Not just in the case of having a new baby, or an illness in the family — but what about working parents, trying to deal with childcare and shopping and planning meals.. or those times you have been travelling abroad and would like to not have to deal with jet lag AND trying to figure out meals to make?! Or what about those times when you have guests visiting from abroad and you’ve been out all day and then get home only to realize “oh goodness! What are we going to eat?!”
I’ve been in all of these scenarios! I’ve had two newborn babies – I’ve had a foot operation that prevented me from being on my feet to shop or cook – I’ve been jetlagged – I’ve had extended family visits! When I had my babies, my mother wouldn’t drive and was not comfortable shopping alone… if I had HelloFresh I could have handed my mother a recipe card and said, “let me know when dinner is ready!” and taken a nap! 😀 I’ve had a demanding toddler who makes shopping difficult, and it would have been nice to “have a break” sometimes!
And although my husband knows his way around the kitchen, many partners do not (both male and female) and this is a great way to get comfortable with cooking.
So if you rely on a lot of ready-made meals or packaged products, this is a good and easy way to learn to cook.
And starting at just 12.-chf per portion on the family plan it’s actually quite affordable.
Check out HelloFresh CH and give it a try. The website is in German, but they have great customer service and can walk you through the ordering if you can’t manage the website. You can even get a trial box without any further commitment. And if you subscribe weekly, you can pause your subscription if you go on holiday, if you need to skip a week, or for any reason whatsoever. If you want to get 25.-CHF OFF on the first TWO boxes you order, USE COUPON CODE SwissEats2x25 at checkout! 🙂 See I told you there was a great reason to read all the way to the end!
Do you subscribe to HelloFresh or have you done food and recipe boxes in the past? Let me know in the comments!
Disclosure-this post is sponsored by HelloFresh, but our opinions are our own.