Like with all other industries, the food space was quick to embrace the start-up culture; in India there are now thousands of start-up food brands that grace every major city. As a result, there’s no paucity of artisanal, home-grown foods to try in Mumbai.
In fact, its easy for foodies to get overwhelmed with the choice of products. As an answer to this problem, ShopHop, an online marketplace which curates the best brands in the homegrown and start up space was born. Scrolling through the ShopHop website, a customer can find a selection of premium products ranging from snacks to beverages to desserts as well as wellness products.
On its website, ShopHop introduces itself by saying “Every marketplace needs an identity- a set of defining characteristics that bind the community together and allow customers to understand what it stands for. At ShopHop – we like to define ourselves and our brands as ‘natural, artisanal, homegrown’….”
To better allow customers to discover and enjoy new brands, ShopHop launched a unique program, the Taste Case, which a customer can subscribe to on a three or six month basis. To create the Taste Case, ShopHop carefully selects a few new, exciting food and wellness brands. Products from each of the selected brands are packed into the Taste Case and delivered to the customers’ doors monthly.
Meeting The Taste Case
We had The Taste Case, a well-designed, quirky, box hand delivered to our door.
On opening it, we found a collection of products neatly wrapped in thin paper as well as a bundle of cards with a brief introduction to each brand. Having already been impressed by the neat, attractive packaging, we were further impressed by the cards which gave us in depth information about the products in the box, specific information about them and their benefits (low calories, gluten free, ‘renowned ingredient for weight loss’) as well as a brief about the other flavours the brand has.
The brands were given a personalised touch thanks to briefs about the founders as well as accompanying photographs of them.
Tasting The Talk
We find that knowing the background of its creator makes food taste that much sweeter. To prove our point (and also because we’re Hungry Forever) we picked up our forks and dove into the box.
Here’s what we found:
According to the brief in the box, Teasage, founded by Akash Takwani, provides “superior blends of lead teas with natural pieces of fruit, flower and spice which offer taste and health benefits…. Our Tea Blends are developed by Expert Dieticians and are a rich source of anti-oxidants.”
In the Taste Case were three variants of Tesage packed into adorable test tubes; Kashmiri Kahwa, Soothing Chamomile and Hibiscus Red Tea. Despite using only about a teaspoon to brew each cup of tea, all three teas had strong, distinctive flavours. Our favourite was the Hibiscus with a faintly sour, tart taste.
Gourmet Treats is a venture by Chef Ishjot Singh Suri who, while working in the hospitality industry, realised that home cooks need quality add ons to put together great food.
Gourmet Treats, therefore, “offers a variety of gourmet food products like Premium Spice Mixes & Rubs, Flavoured Dry Fruits and Ceylon Teas.”
In our box, we found a bottle of Honey Nut Crunch Almonds and a bottle of Zesty Tandoori Cashews. The cashews were rubbed with a spicy, zesty rub elevating the regular buttery nut flavour. The Honey Nut Crunch Almonds were coated with honey and sesame seeds making them crunchy, nutty and sweet.
Bombay Barons’ founders Gauri Gandhi and Mihir Agarwal wanted to venture into the healthy food industry and did so by researching and packaging Makhana. According to the Taste Box brief, ‘makhana is an age old product with health benefits and natural properties making it the healthier version of chips for snacking…”
Indeed, the two products in the box – Pop Mak Indian Spies Roasted Makhanas and Pop Mak Black Pepper Roasted Makhanas were bite sized crunchy treats, making for fulfilling snacks. We preferred the Black Pepper Roasted Makshanas which are given an added dash of zing thanks to a black pepper coating.
After chowing down all the savoury treats (did you notice we were going course-wise?) we turned our attention to two boxes labelled Oh! Fudge in Classic Chocolate Walnut and Chocolate Hazelnut flavours.
Oh! Fudge was created by Prateek Vaid and Jayesh Mirchandani and makes fudge using an old family recipe. The fudge is free of added preservatives and flavouring.
We enjoyed the Classic Chocolate Walnut with a smooth texture and heady chocolate flavour but had our hearts captured by the Chocolate Hazelnut fudge, which combined large pieces of distinctively flavoured hazelnuts with silky fudge.
After polishing off the final box of fudge, we were all in agreement; subscribing to a Taste Case is definitely a good idea. Not only had it helped draw our attention to new brands but it had also delighted our taste buds. And, we can already predict that receiving a Taste Case will be the highlight of one day next month – who wouldn’t want to receive a treasure box filled with food?
Try the Taste Case by subscribing to it from the Shophop website.