We Tasted Everything in Universal Yums' Deliciously Festive Holiday Box
If you're open to trying unusual and unique snacks from around the world, you can't do much better than Universal Yums.
The subscription service bundles and delivers packages of tasty treats from a different country every month, and I've been obsessed with them ever since I tried the Colombia snack box they released earlier this year. So when the company reached out and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their holiday 2019 box filled with festive treats from all over the globe, I was happy to take them up on the offer. Keep scrolling to find out what was inside.
Snackgold Raspberry Potato Crisps
Raspberry-flavored potato chips may sound strange, but believe me when I say that there's more to these special crisps than meets the eye. They start off with a fruity raspberry taste, but when combined with the saltiness of the chip, that melds into something that nearly resembles a barbecue flavor, minus the smokiness. These chips are flavored with real raspberries, as there's a Spanish tradition that involves plopping a raspberry in your drink in order to find love in the new year.
Alfajorcito Nubelate Crema Americana
This special treat from Uruguay may resemble a chocolate-covered whoopie pie, but it is so much better than that. The country's traditional holiday cookies are alfajores—chocolate-coated sandwich cookies with various fillings. The thick chocolate cookies are sweet and crumbly, with an Oreo-like vanilla cream center, and the rich chocolate coating brings the flavors together beautifully.
Bündner Nusstortli Alpine Nut Cake
The nusstorte pastry was invented to suit the busy, active lifestyles of those living in snowy mountain towns in the Swiss Alps. With a soft, crumbly crust surrounding a lightly sweetened, caramel-walnut mixture, it resembles a tiny, nutty hand pie. It's richly satisfying without being overly sugary, and the portability is definitely a plus.
Taralli con Semi di Finocchio
After the lean day of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day is considered a day of indulgence in Italy. That means going all out and eating everything from roasted lamb and tortellini to delicious aperitivo appetizers, such as Taralli rings. These ones are savory twisted breadsticks with fennel seeds baked right in, making them taste almost like Italian sausage. While I'm not usually a big fan of licorice fennel, the flavor wasn't too overpowering in these sticks, and I didn't find it hard to eat the entire bag of the salty snack.
Shokomonk Roasted Almond
In the month of December, holiday Christkindlmarkt food stalls open up all over Germany. One of their most famous treats is hot roasted almonds. When I first laid eyes on this chocolate bar, I thought it would just be a luscious milk chocolate bar full of almond pieces, but I was delighted to find that these German almonds are roasted in sugar, giving them a caramel praline crunch that makes the bar unique.
Goldilocks Ube Polvoron
Coming from a Filipino background, I was delighted to see this tasty snack from Goldilocks pop up in the Universal Yums holiday box. Ube is a sweet purple yam that's often eaten on special occasions because of the time it takes to be prepared, and the round shape of this cookie ties into the Media Noche New Year's tradition of surrounding yourself with circular objects for good financial luck. The treat itself is a sweet, crumbly shortbread with a vibrant earthy flavor and purple color, and it's all too easy to scarf down all at once.
Sibell Poulet Braisé Chips
In France, New Year's Eve is celebrated with a long feast, and a roasted rooster called a capon is the highlight of the dinner. These chips do a bizarrely good job of simulating that flavor. Despite not containing any meat, the seasoning on the chips manages to perfectly evoke the sensation of eating a well-flavored chicken. They're a bit strange, but also super snackable.
Jabri Mixed Baklava
Ramadan may not be a winter holiday this year, but I'm still delighted delicious baklava was included in this holiday box. During the month-long celebration, sweet treats are enjoyed at night to break a fast during the days, and baklava is a traditional favorite in Jordan, where these originate. The ones in the box are soft while maintaining delicious crispy layers soaked in honey-like syrup and loaded with cashews and pistachios—and the extra-crunchy bird nest-shaped baklava in the center of the box comes complete with pistachio eggs. Thankfully, these are treats that can be enjoyed year-round.
Auer Tortenekcen a la Wiener Apfelstrudel
Traditional apple strudel—an Austrian holiday classic—is one of my all-time favorite desserts, so when I saw that there was an apple strudel-flavored wafer in this box, I knew I was in for a treat. I wasn't wrong. Think of a classic wafer cookie, but much more delicate and filled with a delicious cinnamon apple-flavored cream to get this tasty delight.
Koestlin Garlic Saltas
In Croatia, many people plant "Christmas wheat" in the middle of December and see how tall it's grown by the new year. The taller the wheat, the better the family's luck for the new year. These wheat pretzels are a celebration of that. They're long and salty with a punchy garlic filling that makes them savory and oh-so-delicious.
White Cinnamon Cookie Belgian Chocolate
In Belgium, kids leave out shoes filled with carrots for a man called Sinterklaas. As his white horse nibbles on the carrots, St. Nicholas leaves small gifts, including Belgian chocolates and cinnamon cookies called speculoos. This incredible chocolate bar combines the two into one decadent treat. The sweet, but not cloying, white chocolate is enhanced by the crispy, spicy cookies for my absolute favorite treat in the whole box. I made the mistake of sharing some of it with someone, and it was so good he made me promise to find more of it and get it for him for Christmas!
Mr. Ito Pretzel Sand Almond Caramel
In Japan, a gathering about forgetting the worst parts of the year, called bonenkai, is held in December. One part of the celebration involves indulging in tasty treats, such as these spectacular pretzel sandwich cookies. The ultra-thin pretzel wafers are mostly savory, but between then lies a salted caramel cream filling that perfectly complements sweet and salty for a dessert that's hard to put down.
Kopernik Serca Toruńskie
Holiday gingerbread is a big deal in many places, but it originated in Torun, Poland, which remains the gingerbread capital of the world to this day. These big, soft, heart-shaped gingerbread pieces were unlike any I'd tried before, with a warm, gingery flavor and a light blackcurrant glaze. The icing is part herbal, part fruity, and though unusual, it's a wonderful match with the cake-like gingerbread.
To find out what else Universal Yums has to offer, click HERE to find out what we thought of the brand's Colombia box.