Want to sample goodies from around the globe, but don’t quite have the time to gather them yourself? Kat Vorotova and David Foult have a big idea.
The two international Columbia University grads and travel enthusiasts (Kat is from Russia, David is from France; together they’ve visited more than 50 countries) met in January 2013 at a Thai food tasting event in NYC. They quickly realized Pad Thai was just the start of their common interests and teamed up to share their wanderlust with others.
David and Kat ensure each Try The World box brims with authentic delights.
The result? Try The World, a service that jet sets for you and delivers local gourmet products, plus cultural items like music and movie recommendations, from a different country every two months.
We caught up with the duo to learn more about what travels—and treats—await them and their worldly subscribers.
Zipcar: How was Try The World created?
Kat: We started at an incubator at the Google offices in NYC. After that, we decided to take our idea out for a spin and posted on Facebook, “Who wants a Paris box for Valentine’s Day?” We sold out in two days.
After the success, we decided to take our project to a next level, so we built a team and a website, and by September 2013 we launched our subscriptions. We started with our Paris box, and later on we added other cities to represent countries such as Japan, Brazil, Italy, and Turkey. We wanted to create something that helped people discover different foods and explore cultures from around the world.
How do you choose what countries to pick from next?
David: I believe that the two best ways to discover a new culture are through food and art. That’s why we started with a Paris box to represent France, because of the variety of food selection, along with the museums and history the country has to offer. To capture that, we send our subscribers some of the finest gourmet products—natural jams and traditional hot chocolate powder, among other treats—paired with a list of music and movie recommendations.
Choosing a single place is very difficult, because it’s like choosing between your own kids. However, it’s about finding a perfect combination of joyful culture, music, life, and, of course, good food. A box from India is coming soon!
Proof that some of the best (and tastiest!) things come in small packages.
Why do you think it’s important to immerse yourself in different cultures from around the world?
Kat: We noticed that the number of passports issued in the US has increased by 60% over the past 10 years, meaning that Americans are becoming more interested in discovering new cultures. However, traveling is not accessible for everyone. We believe that getting to know other cultures enriches your life—and it’s fun! So we try our best to give a taste of different parts of the world to our subscribers.
How does it work?
David: Try The World offers a box from a different country every two months for $45 a box. Each of these boxes includes 10-12 food items—for example, in our Rio box we include Amazonian fruits. We also include what we call a culture book, which has a note from us explaining why we chose this place; a link to the Try The World website, where you can listen to suggested local music for free; a list of movies for a deeper cultural immersion; a traditional dish recipe; and a list of cultural tips.
Sounds like you guys have a lot of fun! What’s the toughest part of what you do?
David: One of the biggest challenges we face is finding the best products from each country. Some of them are not easily accessible in the U.S., and making sure that we have the highest quality and most authentic items from a country is what adds value to what we offer.
We include only the best brands and foods from each country that are authentic and capture each culture. We work closely with local experts who help us put together all of these elements into a box.
What’s up next for Try The World?
David: Our goal is to have a box for every city in every country. We want the world to learn about other cultures and become more open-minded. We’ll start by expanding in the U.S., and then we’ll be expanding internationally.
Kat: Also, we want to build a community of adventurous, passionate travelers who are willing to share their stories with others.