Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Marx Foods

Marx Foods is the brick-and-mortar outlet of marxfoods.com, the online luxury food retailer which is based here in Seattle. I’m not going to sugarcoat it: unless there’s a Whole Foods somewhere with a Maclaren Stroller showroom inside it, I doubt there’s a bigger yuppie magnet than Marx Foods. I was invited by Justin Marx to visit the Marx Foods showroom on lower Queen Anne. Yes, he knows what I look like. And no, I don’t give a fuck. I don’t typically review grocery stores, so I figured what the fuck. Justin brought out a bunch of stuff for me to try, and I ate it.

I started with a jar of pistachio cream, which is dreamy. It’s a subtle green, and lightly textured. Visually it resembles the puke-color paint they used to paint public school rooms back in the 1970’s and 80’s, but you shouldn’t judge this book by its cover because it is SO FUCKING DELICIOUS. It tastes like angels fucking. The flavor is mild and sweet, yet not at all cloying, with a rich pistachio flavor. It’s $12 for a 7.4 ounce jar which, compared to Nutella, is pretty pricey, but it’s several orders of magnitude tastier. In fact, Sabatino & Co’s Fior di Pistacchio, which is the brand that Marx Foods carries, won the NASFT gold award for Outstanding Nut Butter this year. Your mom was outraged that MY nut butter didn’t win; such is life.

Maple cream is made from real maple syrup that has been whipped like a stepchild. The inevitable incorporation of air into the maple cream turns the color of the syrup from its usually glossy amber to a satiny, bland beige. Luckily, the flavor of this stuff is anything but bland: it’s creamy and very sweet and tastes like highly concentrated waffles. If some chump ever invents a breakfast mayonnaise, it would taste like maple cream. Like the pistachio cream, it’s not cheap ($17 for 6 oz) but it is totally worth it.

Madyson’s Maddy Melts ($9 for 8 marshmallows) are disc-shaped marshmallows, fiendishly engineered to float atop a mug of hot cocoa, thus melting into a perfectly even marshmallow layer. As far as marshmallows go, these are gauzy and not overly saccharine. My only complaint is that “Madyson” sounds like it should be the name of a stripper, not a marshmallow.

Manufactured by boutique confectioner We Made This, macaron mixes are probably the most retarded thing Marx Food sells. This macaron mix sells for $16 for about 6 ounces. To make macarons from scratch you only need five ingredients: sugar, salt, egg whites, almonds, and confectioner’s sugar. We Made This’s mix requires you to add your own egg whites. You’re essentially paying for 6 ounces of sugar and ground almonds. $16 macaron mixes are why the terrorists hate us.

Panforte di Mirabissi is also pretty shitty. Invented during medieval times to provide a durable source of quick energy for knights at war, panforte is basically a fruitcake puck. Panforte is about as successful a dessert as all those knights who ate panforte were successful at the Crusades, which is to say: not very. Marx Foods sells several flavors, but they all taste like a stale muffin that rolled around on the floor of a Penzey’s. Like slavery, open sewers, and hairy 1970’s pubic bushes, panforte is one of history’s bad ideas which should finally be retired. Prices range from $19-22 depending on the flavor, for 350g.

Butternut seed oil, on the other hand, is magnificent: nutty and sweet and savory all at once, with grassy hints in the finish, this stuff tastes like autumn in a bottle. Here is a list of stuff I would lick this butternut seed oil off of: a dog. An old sponge. Mike Tyson. An electric fence. Your mom. Manufactured with a grant from Cornell University, whose agriculture department was trying to find a use for unused butternut squash seeds, this oil would even taste good on Vienna Sausage. That’s how fucking good it is. $12 for 6.3 ounces.

Marx Foods sells, literally, several metric shit-tons of items. In addition to being the FIRST retailer in the USA to sell ghost chilis, Marx Foods also sells exotic meats, oils and sauces and spices and dry pastas of all kinds, as well as stylish paperware. They’re currently trying to source Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chilis, currently the world’s hottest at 2 million Scoville units.

The showroom has maybe 50 different things on display, but there’s more to it than that: shoppers will be able to peruse the store’s website, which has hundreds more items, on conveniently mounted ipads inside the store, and you can buy anything from the website because they have all of the stuff the website sells on shelves in the back. Some of this stuff is too bourgeois, and it can be quite expensive. However, the inventory is impeccably sourced, and some items are quite cheap: vanilla beans, for instance, which sell at Marx Foods for about $19 for 20 beans, are much cheaper than Penzey’s princely $36.89 for 15 beans. Personally I wish they’d start selling pot brownie mixes, but I suppose that’s a pipe dream.

Rating: 7.5 brownies out of 10

Marx Foods is located at 144 Western Ave W.

For inquiries call 1-866-588-6279, or check out the website.

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