FOODIE TREATS: SMARTMAT
They say that eating is a necessity but cooking is an art. In my case, cooking is a bit of both. While I really enjoy being creative in the kitchen and cooking up a storm for my loved ones, my busy reality means I have to be practical and time-conscious most of the time. And although it’s great to try new restaurants, there’s nothing like a good home-cooked meal. This is where Smartmat comes in!
I first heard about Smartmat from a good friend who lives in Flanders, so when an invitation for its launch event in Brussels and Wallonia landed in my mailbox, I was super excited to discover it first hand. The dinner party was a real success (I mean, look at this gorgeous Smörgåstårta!) and I also got to meet the founder, Anders Åsarby, who was inspired by a similar concept in Sweden and decided to create his own company in Antwerp. So what is Smartmat all about? It’s actually a delivery service that brings to your door a box with fresh ingredients and recipes with step-by-step instructions to cook healthy meals at home. The recipes change on a weekly basis and there are several different box combinations to choose from in terms of days/number of people, including a vegetarian option and a “Quick & Easy” one for the busy bees out there.
The party organizers were kind enough to offer us a free box to try, so I ordered the 4-day menu for 2 persons. The delivery process went very smoothly: once I signed up I received an exact date and a slot after office hours was confirmed 4 days in advance. The box contained all the ingredients necessary to make 4 meals, the recipes plus a punnet of strawberries for cocktails which instantly put a smile on my face! I also liked the fact that the menu was quite balanced as it included fish, poultry, meat as well as lots of vegetables and on the healthy side since a good part of the ingredients were organic. Every single dish turned out delicious and a bit more elaborate than I would typically make for dinner which felt special. The portions were more than generous – so much so that I got to save a few vegetables for my lunch salad. Having said that, quality comes at a price as the box I got costs 65€, which is not really cheap but still less than you would pay if you went out for dinner. My only complaint would be that the images in the menu did not match the recipes and I found the instructions to be confusing at times, which could probably be an issue for a less experienced cook.
Aside from the few issues mentioned above, I found Smartmat a great option for those who don’t have a lot of time to go grocery shopping or like to eat well but cannot be bothered to come up with a weekly home cooking plan in advance. If you’re interested in trying it out, have a look on their website to see the forthcoming menus and let me me know what you thought. I’d love to hear your impressions!