There's no denying it. Louisiana's known for great food. It's one of the things I miss most about living in Louisiana. But there's more to Louisiana than food. Our culture's unlike any other in the US. I miss my home very much, so I'm always looking for ways to bring a little Louisiana to LA. A little taste of home can be very comforting for the homesick. That's what attracted me to Parish Parcel, a cool new service that brings Louisiana to my doorstep.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Parish Parcel who gifted me with a free sample of their product in exchange for a review. My ideas, thoughts, and opinions are my own.
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What's Parish Parcel?
Parish Parcel is a monthly subscription service that features curated packages of uniquely Louisiana products. The contents of each box are exported from one particular parish, or county, highlighting the food, art, culture, and music of that specific parish.
Boxes feature food products, spices, recipes, artisan goods, featured art, music and more. Subscribers can choose between the Standard Box or the Lagniappe Box which contains "a little something extra," like a t-shirt, hat, etc.
Each month you'll receive a brand new carefully selected box of Louisiana culture. And if you've ever been to Louisiana then you know why the taste of Louisiana lingers in your mouth, your mind and your spirit.
What the Heck is a Parish, Anyway?
For those of you unfamiliar with Louisiana, let's just say we do things a little differently. For example, Louisiana's civil laws are based on the Napoleonic Code, a civil code adopted in 1808.
At the time Louisiana was owned and governed by the French, who were then ruled by Napoleon (thus the name). Even after Louisiana officially became part of the United States in 1812 we kept our civil code and our French traditions. As a result, our laws are somewhat different than the laws of other US states.
A great example would be our Parishes. See y'all, we call our counties Parishes instead, a term used even before our statehood. The predominately Roman Catholic population of the Louisiana territory lived and worked near their churches.
Each church would have a parish, or territory, over which it held power and responsibility. As the state grew, the number of parishes grew. We now have 64 parishes, each as unique as the come.
Parish Parcel intends to highlight those differences and show that Louisiana is so much more than New Orleans and Mardi Gras.
Your Package Has Arrived
About 10 days after receiving my confirmation email, my first Parish Parcel arrived on my doorstep. Work was total crap that day, so having a prize waiting for me was exactly what I needed.
Seeing the easily identifiable box sitting there, I was so excited! I could barely wait to see what was inside. Purse, meet floor.
Opening my box was like a breath of fresh air. Getting a taste of home totally bouyed my spirits. The minute I opened the box, I knew this collection of Cajun goods would surely sooth my weary soul.
I spent a good half hour sorting through the contents of my box, studying the food products and reading the inserts. I learned so much about the mission of Parish Parcel and even more about the featured parishes: Vermilion and Lafayette Parishes.
For example, did you know that Vermilion Parish is considered "the Most Cajun Place on Earth"? Or, better yet, did you know that Lafayette was recently ranked the happiest city in the country (US National Bureau of Economic Research 2014).
Both Vermilion and Lafayette Parishes are hot beds of Cajun culture and are often host to excellent festivals that feature the great Cajun food, music and traditions. A great example of that would be the South Louisiana Blackpot Festival, a Lafayette festival that highlights the tradition of preparing food in cast iron or "black pots".
The Blackpot Festival would be a wonderful way for anyone to experience the best of Cajun culture, so be sure to check it out if you're in the area.
It didn't take long for me to start enjoying my Parish Parcel. I let out a little shriek of joy when I found this little guy peeking out at me. He was an instant hit in my house and now permanently resides on my refrigerator, there to remind me of home whenever I need a little pick me up.
Next, we enjoyed the featured Cajun music download and blasted the joyful sounds of the famous Doug Kershaw and Steve Riley, dancing to the fiddle and accordion while we unpacked the rest of the box.
It's Dinner Time
Next, we thought we'd sample the Ragin' Cajun Fixin's Cajun Gumbo Mix for dinner. Now, I can make a great gumbo from scratch, but what working girl has time for that? I love a good gumbo, especially a good dark roux gumbo that tastes like the gumbos I grew up on. Gumbo Fixins' made it so easy to have the gumbo flavor I love in SO much less time.
All I did was add a little cooked chicken and smoked sausage and followed the package directions. We combined the gumbo with fresh rice and crunchy fried okra, and, viola, we had dinner!
I enjoyed the smoky goodness of the dark roux. The flavor took me right back home and reminded me of my dad's gumbo (he's the chef in my house). Parish Parcel was batting 2 for 2 so far.
Mellow Out Man
By far, I was most excited about the Mello Joy coffee nestled snugly in my Parish Parcel. That bright yellow bag brought an instant smile to my face. Louisiana is serious about it's coffee and has a few great brands to boot.
Tasting Mello Joy really brought me back to some of those first tastes of coffee as a kid. The mellow flavor paired well with my Cajun Power Sweet Treat Chocolate Sugar was out-of-this-world good.
As for the Chocolate Sugar, I've been using that stuff all the time! It makes delicious chocolate milk and hot cocoa, and it tastes really, really good in a cup of joe.
A nice little surprise was The Passport candle, a homemade candle from Carencro, La. This potent little pot has done wonders to improve my workspace.
I love the earthy scent of my First Class candle. It reminds me of another wonderful smelling Louisiana export, my MOJO Magique perfume.
Close your eyes and let the smell of amber and white lily sweep you away to the mossy oak lawns and backwoods bayous in the summertime.
Another favorite item was my Parish Parcel koozie. It's definitely seen it's fair share of use, too. I get such a kick out of putting my LA beer in the La koozie. It's a fun little inside joke of mine. But, on a more serious note, who doesn't need more koozies?
A flood of warm memories flooded my mind when I picked up the little jar of Steen's syrup. This dark, sweet cane syrup was my grandfather's favorite treat.
It's rich flavor and amber color makes it a perfect sweetener for biscuits, pancakes or rolls. Steen's is an excellent alternative to honey, maple syrup or corn syrup.
As for what I'll do with the Steen's, let's just say I'm holding on to that little bad boy! Maybe I'll get him a big brother and make one of those Southern Gentleman's Pecan Pie like the one on my Parish Parcel recipe card.
Parish Parcel FAQs
Q. Who might enjoy Parish Parcel?
Just about anyone would love to receive a gift of Parish Parcel subscription, but let's break it down. If you know anyone who's a Louisianian living in another state or country, they may want this gift. If you know anyone who's ever visited Louisiana and loved their experience, they may enjoy this gift. If you know anyone who enjoys good food, this may be the perfect gift for them. If you know anyone who is proud to call Louisiana home, this is the only gift you need.
Q. How much does Parish Parcel cost?
With several options to choose from, Parish Parcel makes it easy to select the subscription option that best suites your Louisiana lover and your wallet. Sign up for the Standard Box for $29/month or the Lagniappe Box for $49/month. Or you can save by paying in advance for 6-months or 12-months option for the Standard Box or the Lagniappe Box. All fees include shipping and handling.
Q. How do I sign up?
Head over to Parish Parcel's website to sign up using their secure server.
Q. How long do I have to wait for my shipment?
I received my first shipment within 10 business days. You can expect to receive your shipments each month soon after the first of the month.
Q. What other Louisiana-themed subscription services can I choose from?
None. There are no other subscription services like Parish Parcel.
My Final Thoughts on Parish Parcel
Overall, my Parish Parcel experience was terrific. I couldn't have been more pleased with the products and the service. And knowing another box could be on it's way would be even more thrilling!
Parish Parcel is truly the perfect gift for anyone who loves Louisiana culture, regardless of where they live. But it's especially perfect for people like me who live far from home. Consider Parish Parcel for birthdays, holidays or just because.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign up today and give the Louisiana lover in your life something to smile about!
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