Cheese Posties is a London-based startup that claims to be the “world’s first grilled cheese subscription.” The company offers dozens of different combinations of gourmet cheese toasties — like mascarpone and biscuit butter, Gruyere and caramelised onion, goats cheese and pesto — to chomp on each week.
For £3.99 (around $US6) a pop, Cheese Posties sends all the cheese, bread, condiments, and other ingredients to your door in a package that snugly fits through the letterbox. Inside each package is a surprise toastie — based on preferences you type in at your registration (whether you have any allergies, or prefer sweet to savoury, for example.) All you need to do when your delivery arrives is butter the bread, pop your creation into the provided toastie bag, then cook it in your toaster.
Cheese Posties’ Kickstarter campaign was supported by 308 backers, raising £3,809 ($US5,862) — way over the company’s original £2,000 ($US3,077) crowdfunding target.
Cofounders Dave Rotheroe and Danny Jennings plan to send out the first Cheese Posties from their factory in Essex to customers anywhere in the UK next month. But before they could get the show on the road, they needed to test their cheesy concoctions out with volunteers.
I valiantly stepped forward to give them a hand.
The brainchildren of Cheese Posties are Brits Danny Jennings (left) and Dave Rotheroe. Jennings has a background in logistics, while Rotheroe was an IT contractor who left his day job earlier this year to form another subscription food company.
Rotheroe launched 'Lick My Dip,' a subscription hot sauce startup back in March. It's a similar deal to Cheese Posties: For £12.49 ($19) a month, the company delivers a box of spicy treats, such as pepper sauces, rubs, and piri piri biltong.
While the idea of delivery snack boxes and cook at home meal boxes is nothing new, sending grilled cheese is a surprisingly difficult logistical feat. Jennings says: 'It's easier to coordinate the movement of oil rigs around the world than it is to master sending a cheese sandwich in the post.'
The duo have met a number of obstacles including the change in ambient temperatures affecting the width of bread and compromising shipping size thresholds, finding suppliers and facilities to source and repack ingredients into suitable portion sizes, and, perhaps the biggest of all: selecting ingredients that will survive being out of the fridge for up to four days.
The Cheese Posties team have also been designing cards in the style of 'Top Trumps' that will sit in inside each box, so customers can look back fondly on their grilled cheese history.
Rotheroe says Cheese Posties began receiving heaps of media coverage from the day the company launched its Kickstarter, and he has received requests from potential customers as far afield as the US and Dubai. He admits they have received the odd 'what is the world coming to' remark from the press, but says: 'As the saying goes; if you're not cheesing someone off, you're probably not doing anything important.'
And now on to the cheese. Rotheroe says the company has a list of more than 100 sandwiches, but these were the varieties I got to try in his kitchen. I sampled (small slices) of them all and experienced my first cheese hangover by the end of the day. It wasn't pleasant. I'd advise eating just one at a time.
First up was the 'Nutty Goat' -- goat cheese, honey, and walnuts. When I make grilled cheese at home, the most adventurous I tend to get is chucking in a couple of slices of ham, so the combination of a sweet flavour and a crunchy texture was a surprise. A pleasant one.
Next was the 'Chilli Qon Queso' -- Monterey Jack, cream cheese, and chilli pickle. It gives a good ooze and was the favourite among the dozen or so tasters who joined me at Rotheroe's tasting session.
We then moved on to a more familiar taste. The 'Cheesy Garlic Bread' contained mozzarella, and garlic and herb butter. This one tasted exactly like a garlic bread side you'd order from a pizza restaurant. However, it was probably the most basic mix of all the toasties on offer -- I preferred more unusual combinations. Also, the garlic might put me off dropping this in the office toaster.
Cheese Posties also caters for those with a sweet tooth. You can choose to only be sent dessert-style posties if you wish. Here's the 'Jaffa Cake.' Inside was dark chocolate, marmalade, and mascarpone. It was filthily good. It was more like a cake than a sandwich.
Rotheroe told me this was his favourite: 'The White Choc Bomb' -- white chocolate, mozzarella, and raspberry.
OK, one last food porn shot for luck. 'The Ploughmans' -- cheddar, pickle, and apple sauce. Probably the most British combo of the lot.
Rotheroe asked his volunteers to describe their cheesy experiences. Reviews included: 'Hearing The Beatles for the first time,' 'world peace,' and 'not having to get up on a Bank Holiday.' (The language got a bit more coarse further down the board.)
Rotheroe says Cheese Posties will use feedback from customers to make decisions about new sandwiches and gradually build up the options over the coming months. He told us: 'Cheese Posties for us is really an opportunity to push boundaries and do something out of the ordinary with a tremendously versatile food format. There are endless combinations of cheese, bread and fillings which are invariably delicious and the exiting thing about the internet and data manipulation is you can take something which strikes an emotional chord with people, apply data, and keep making it better.'
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