Item: The Mantry Company Artisan Food Subscription
Price: $75 / month
Overall Impression: If you like stereotypically male-marketed foods, especially snacks, liquor, prepared sauces, or flavor enhancers, then this curated box of artisan foods is for you.
The first time I saw the name Mantry, I was intrigued and a bit skeptical at the same time. Was it geared just towards men, and if so, what kind of products would be in this subscription service? With Father's Day fast approaching, I decided to find out what the deal was.
Mantry Subscription Box: A Quick Summary
Characteristics and specs: Each $75 box contains six full-size, non-perishable artisan food products. Shipping is $10 per crate, but if you order a three- or six-month subscription, shipping is free.
Favorite details: The branded wooden crate with lid was quite handsome. Artisans are from around the US. Each box has a theme and can be ordered individually.
Potential problems: It's an expensive subscription with mostly ready-to-eat products that aren't really what I would fill my pantry with. While the packaging was great, it was hard to get out of the shipping box.
Who would love this? Those who like trying new snacks, liquors, prepared sauces, and mixes made in America.
My Review of Mantry
Mantry dubs itself the "Modern Man's Pantry," promising to help you discover American artisan food products every month. While it's not super explicit that the boxes are geared towards males, the contents of the boxes seem like very stereotypical products that are marketed to men. (Think booze, sausage, grilling, spice, bacon!)
How Mantry Works
Mantry is a box that you can order just once as a gift or on a subscription basis (three or six months). Each box is $75, and the $10 shipping fee is waived if you order a subscription. While a one-time order ships out immediately, subscriptions are shipped out once a month.
Inside each branded wooden crate are six full-size, non-perishable food products made from artisans from across the US. The box is usually themed and includes a flyer with descriptions of the artisans. Their website also has recipes that give suggestions on how to use some of the products.
I opened the cardboard shipping box and was pleasantly surprised to see that the lidded wooden crate fit exactly into the box, reducing the need for extra packaging. However, I had to flip the whole cardboard box over to get the crate out since there wasn't room for me to pull it out easily.
When I flipped the crate, the unsecured lid obviously fell off, as did the contents of the crate and the pretty shredded paper on the bottom. Everything flew out all over my floor and I had to put it all back together again — not that hard to do, but not so fun either. The products all arrived in good condition, with bubble wrap protecting anything in glass bottles.
What Was in My Mantry Box
Here's what was in my "Bourbon BBQ" box:
- Halfpops Chipotle Barbeque Flavor (6 oz.)
- Chef's Cut Chipotle Cracked Pepper Steak Jerky (2.5 oz.)
- Skillet Original Bacon Jam (7 oz.)
- Vermont Smoke and Cure Smoked Pepperoni (7 oz.)
- Hot Georgia Soul Sweet & Fiery BBQ Sauce (14 oz.)
- Bittermilk Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned (8.5 oz.)
All the products definitely seemed on par with what's usually seen as foods that are "manly": bacon, spice, liquor. While they were fun and delicious, they didn't strike me as things I would stock my pantry with — they were more snack-like or fully prepared products that I usually don't buy if I'm cooking from scratch. I asked my husband what he thought of the selection, and he said while everything looked interesting, they weren't necessarily his cup of tea since he too likes to cook more from scratch.
What was missing in my box was the flyer with the detailed description of each product, where it was from, and how all the contents of the box tied into each other. There's an area on Mantry's website that shows the contents of past boxes, each assigned whimsical names. If you click through to a past box and then click on the picture, you can see the enclosed flyer that went with that box.
Unfortunately, while my specific box was featured on the site's homepage, I couldn't locate a copy of the accompanying flyer online. Not knowing the theme of the box or having some suggestions on how to use its contents seemed like a big miss to me, as the products just seemed randomly put together. Part of why I like subscriptions is not only that things are curated for me, but I get a glimpse of the curation process and also am given ideas on how to use the products.
After emailing Mantry about the problem, they quickly responded, apologized, and attached a copy of the flyer. I'm really glad I asked for it, as it includes beautiful original photography of the products, including recipes that use one or more of the products together. It gave me a much better sense of how things were chosen and how to use them.
Mantry is a fun idea, but I think I would order one at a time rather than do the subscription, since I feel that the range of products they send could be a bit repetitive over time if only centered around a "manly" theme. I definitely don't think you have to be a guy to enjoy Mantry, though, and it strikes me as a fun Father's Day, graduation, or one-time gift.
Find it! Mantry, $75 / month
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.