I’d like to say a big thank you to Hind for sending me this amazing box to review. Meet Arabia is a bimonthly subscription box that includes a curated selection of products, items and experiences shipped all the way from the Middle East, Bahrain to be precise, delivered right to your door! I’ve been waiting so patiently for this box to arrive and now that it’s here I am so excited to find out what wondrous products await me!!
If you missed my live unboxing you can re-watch here:
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Every box will have a different theme introducing new features of the diverse Arab culture. Each box will include between 6-8 exciting products.
2 months $80 prepaid (approx. £57)
4 months $158.00 prepaid (approx. £113)
6 months $236.00 prepaid (approx. £169)
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*VAT charges may apply
Exclusive Discount Codes:
ARABIA25 : Save 25% off your first box! (Expires on April 29, 2018)
MYARABIA : Save 15% off 4 Month Prepay (total of 2 boxes)
ARB10 : Save 10% off your entire order
Theme of the box
So, this month’s theme is ‘Marhaba’ which is the Arabic word for ‘Welcome’- a very clever play on words for their introductory box! This box includes the main things you will see and/or experience when visiting someone in Arabia. Usually this box would contain 6-8 items, but this month they have included 11 items – this is because Arabs are known for their generosity and for giving gifts to their guests and visitors.
The box itself is a large beautiful orange box adorned with middle eastern patterns running along the side. The products come covered in orange crepe paper and sealed with a sticker with the box logo on. Marhaba is inscribed inside the opening of the box in both English and Arabic and their social media details. As well as a contents card and a welcome card every item is delicately bubble wrapped to prevent breakage. On the contents card the Arabic translation for each item is also provided which is such a lovely touch and gives you a real feel for this box. The Arabic translations have been included below.
What’s in the box?
- Dates or ‘Tamer’
Dates, as well as being tasty are said to have many health benefits. They are also rich in several vitamins, minerals and fibre. There are so many different ways to enjoy dates, I’ve used them to make chutneys in the past although on this occasion I wanted to enjoy them as they were. These dates sourced from Saudi Arabia are plump and moist and they taste deliciously sticky and sweet. Although not in their original form but compressed to form a bar I still appreciated that as they can be quite messy and sticky to handle.
Background info: Dates are always offered with coffee and tea as a healthy sugar replacement.
- Arabic coffee or ‘Gahwa’
As you all know I am not a fan of coffee however luckily for me my partner loves the stuff! He said this coffee was different to anything he has ever tasted, spicy and fragrant yet still delicious with strong notes of cardamom and cloves.
Background info: Arabic coffee or Gahwa is a drink served when welcoming guests in Saudi Arabia and in the Arabian Peninsula. Commonly called the “welcome drink“Gahwa has been a symbol of generosity and hospitality to the Arabs and almost every Arab family has Arabic coffee in their homes.
- Coffee cups or ‘Fanajeel’
These cups are extremely cute! So small, dainty and eye catching with their colourful yet stylish design. Perfect for serving gawah!
Background info: Traditionally, the small cups are filled no more than halfway. While Arabic coffee is traditionally made without sugar, it is served with something sweet, like dates. Milk is not added to Arabic coffee, if you prefer adding milk to yours, keep in mind that light roasts in particular are best without milk. Use your right hand to pour, receive and drink the coffee. In Arab culture it is considered rude to drink with your left hand. A guest should always accept at least one cup, and it is customary to drink at least three over the course of a visit. Swirl your cup to indicate that you’ve finished, this lets the host know you’re ready for more or alternatively shake your cup from side to side when done drinking otherwise the host will keep serving!
- Coasters x 2
This is probably one of my favourite items in the box. Decorated with two different camel depictions, this pair of stunningly designed coasters is sure to brighten up any home! Good solid quality too.
- Saffron tea or ‘Chai zaffaran’
I have tried many different types of teas in my time but I must admit I’ve never had saffron tea. It is very uplifting and soothing with a mild taste. I really liked it!
Background info: Tea is an important drink in the Arab world and is usually served with breakfast, after lunch, and with dinner. For Arabs, tea denotes hospitality and is typically served to guests. It is also common for Arabs to drink tea with dates, which acts as a sweetener. It owes its popularity to its social nature; tea is one of the most important aspects of hospitality and business etiquette in Arab culture.
- Incense or ‘Bukhoor’
On opening this box, a strong exotic aroma wafted out and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bukhoor was the culprit. On burning, the smell intensifies. It is absolutely amazing and is very long-lasting scent. This made my home smell like a Sultan’s palace!
Background info: Bukhoor is the Arabic name given to scented bricks or a blend of natural traditional ingredients; mainly woodchips soaked in fragrant oils and mixed with other natural ingredients. These scented chips/bricks are burned in charcoal or incense burners to perfume the house and clothing with the fragrance rich thick smoke. It is customary in many Arab countries to pass bukhoor amongst the guests; this is done as a gesture of hospitality.
- Incense Burner or ‘Migbas’
Decorated with pretty jewels around the outside, this is such an eye-catching middle eastern style incense burner, not like any I have seen here. A really good size, not too big or bulky and perfect to keep on a shelf, out of the way to prevent being knocked over.
Background info: Arabs use Bukhoor to make the rooms smell nice before visitors arrive. They also pass the migbas around to guests before they leave.
- Tongs or ‘Migash’
Used to handle the incense when alight
- Rose water sprinkler or ‘Marash’
An interesting device, not like anything I am familiar with but a good excuse to look up and research! Lightweight and easily to take apart and put away. Rose water is first poured into the bottom compartment with the narrower part then screwed now. Shake to sprinkle rose water – easy! Like a watering can but for hands.
Background info: Arabs are well known for their traditional hospitality and will go out of their way to treat you like royalty when you visit their home. One of the most charming customs involves using rose water. When a guest enters an Arab house, the first thing the host does is sprinkle rose water into their palms as a way of saying ‘welcome’. They do this with an elaborately carved rose water sprinkler. Rose water is again sprinkled onto the hands after food to remove any lingering smell of food.
- Persian rug mouse pad
Very bright and colourful and feels as soft as silk. As well as a mouse pad this makes for a nice decorative piece.
Background info: A Persian carpet or rug is a heavy textile, made for a wide variety of utilitarian and symbolic purpose, produced in Iran (historically known as Persia), for home use, local sale, and export. Carpet weaving is an essential part of Persian culture and Iranian art. You will find these rugs in every Arab home.
- Evil eye beads
These are so beautiful and delicate, and one of my other favourite item in the box. Being Asian I am all too familiar with the evil eye and warding off what we call ‘nazaar’ or ill intent. When I go on holiday I do buy jewellery depicting the evil eye so this will fit in nicely with my collection.
Background info: The evil eye is said to be a gaze or stare superstitiously believed to cause harm. The belief in the evil eye dates back almost 3000 years to ancient Greece and Rome. The symbol and superstition of the evil eye is one of the strongest symbolic images in the world. Yet, despite the differences in the cultures which hold the evil eye myth, it retains largely the same meaning no matter where the story is told. The evil eye is thought of as a look given to inflict harm, suffering, or some form of bad luck on those that it is cast upon. It is a look which clearly states that one intends for something bad to happen to the object of one’s focus, either out of jealousy or pure malice.
This box is so unique and so different to anything I’ve ever seen on the market. Such a wonderful concept to bring a little piece of the middle east into western society. There are so many good things about this box, like the Arabic translations and how all the pieces in the box go so well together. It is really well thought out. You can see the attention and care put into this box coming from Bahrain not a single item was broken or damaged because of how well they had packaged and wrapped all the products. It was also educational as it gave me incentive to look into the background of some of them items the main thing I learnt – Arabs are all about hospitality! The products come from all over the middle east for example the tea is a product of Iran and the coffee a product of Kuwait. This box is an exciting way to bring some diversity and culture into your life.
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Thank you for reading…