Who doesn’t have fond memories of their grandmother’s Southern Fried Chicken or mouthwatering lasagne? While out tastebuds might not let us forget just how good home cooking can be, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we all rush home from work to slave over a hot stove.
On the contrary, only around a quarter of Americans actually cook seven days a week, although trends do appear to be changing, possibly as a result of the prevalence of gourmet meal kit delivery services.
As the gap between the expense of restaurant dining the comparative affordability of meal prep services continues to increase, so more and more people and especially budget-conscious millennials are opting to eat in. Statistics indicate that the number of restaurants visits per person hit a 28-year low last year, with hundreds of people opting to develop their culinary skills and save money with a gourmet meal delivery service.
Why Gourmet Will Never Be Passé
The word gourmet wasn’t always associated with amuse bouches and culinary foams, in fact, it’s closely related to the word ‘gourmand’, meaning glutton or someone who overeats. Words evolve, however, and these days gourmet is most definitely associated with flavor rather than flab.
Not all the best meal delivery services focus on epicurean delights, with some concentrating rather on providing meals that coincide with specific dietary regimes, like keto or paleo. Nevertheless, many services do offer high-quality, fresh ingredients that are combined to produce a gourmet experience without the hassle of sourcing ingredients or unearthing some semblance of culinary creativity.
Not only do the best gourmet meal delivery services offer a nice selection of different cuisines and international flavors, but they also provide you with colorful recipe cards that make creating a gastronomic delight simple and straightforward. By selecting one of our recommended gourmet meal kit delivery services, you can enjoy gourmet meals as frequently as you choose, skipping weeks and deliveries as often as you like. You could even choose to treat a friend or family member to a gourmet meal gift delivery courtesy of either Hello Fresh or Home Chef, who both offer this service.
Without committing to a subscription, you can organize to have fresh ingredients and recipe card delivered to a friend or relative to tell them just how much you appreciate them. Hello Fresh’s gourmet meal gift delivery option will see a box of three meals for two or four people delivered to that lucky recipient, while Home Chef gives you the option of purchasing a gift card which your friend can use to select whatever meals they want. Better than treating someone to a meal out for their birthday, this kind of gift is the kind that keeps on giving which is why thinking inside the delivery box is sometimes the best approach.
The Best Gourmet Meal Delivery Plans
#1 Home Chef
The third biggest meal prep delivery service in the US in 2018, Home Chef is affordable and versatile, with a range of dishes designed to appeal to all the family. Each week, Home Chef customers to can opt to have a gourmet dinner for two delivered to their door, along with their normal selection of weekly meals. Home Chef’s gourmet meals include taste bud-tantalizing dishes such as filet mignon and cost around $19.95 per serving, which is roughly half what you’d pay in your local restaurant or steak house.
Home Chef’s gourmet meal kit delivery service supplies you with everything you need to conjure up a mouth-watering feast, from herbs and spices to step-by-step instructions. Although the gourmet meals are considerably more expensive than their standard meals, they’re well worth it if you want to indulge your partner with a romantic meal for you, or you want to impress your in-laws with your culinary flair.
Even Home Chef’s regular meals sound pretty sophisticated to us, with options such as garlic and lemon-crusted salmon, and yang beef to choose from. What’s great about Home Chef is that even the most elaborate sounding recipes are broken down into easy stages, which you can view on the website before ordering. Home Chef is a simple gourmet meal kit delivery service that allows you to order up to five weeks in advance, making meal planning a breeze and helping you stick to your chosen dietary regime.
Customizing your Home Chef selection is also straightforward and, when signing up for this gourmet meal delivery service, you can specify what foods you want to avoid, such as dairy products, wheat or red meat, and select dietary preferences, like low carb or low calorie. Home Chef has an extensive delivery network covering around 98% of the US so the likelihood is they’ll deliver to your door or if you want to give someone a little treat, make a one-off gourmet meal gift delivery to your friends or family.
Home Chef is simple to use and affordable, with meals starting at $7.99 per serving, and uses the highest quality produce it can source. Although not all the ingredients are organic, Home Chef strives to get as much produce from sustainable sources as possible, while the recyclable packaging also gives consumers an environmentally-friendly feel-good factor.
For more information on Home Chef, read our extensive Home Chef review.
#2 Hello Fresh
If you’re a vegetarian who’s a little tired of the endless procession of stuffed peppers and mushroom rissotos that every restaurant and their dog seems eager to foist upon you, then it really is time you discovered Hello Fresh. While Home Chef does have some vegetarian options available, if you want an entirely meat-free diet, Hello Fresh’s Vegetarian Meal Plan is designed just for you!
Whenever we restrict our diet, we put ourselves at risk of eating the same things time and again and few restaurants are really experimenting with different vegetarian and vegan dishes, even when they claim to be. However, a week on Hello Fresh’s vegetarian meal plan will see you eating delicacies such as chickpea-powered couscous and the rather fancy-sounding creamy mushroom Gemelli (or pasta for the non-connoisseur out there).
In addition to the vegetarian plan, Hello Fresh also offers a classic and family plan, of which the classic plan provides the most choice and variety. Both of these plans include a weekly gourmet option such as pan-seared sirloin with a demi-glace sauce, or beef tenderloin with burst balsamic tomatoes, both of which are great options for a home-cooked treat.
Hello Fresh makes it easy for you to create a special meal to celebrate a birthday or just because you want to. In addition to delivering fresh ingredients, Hello Fresh will also drop off a selection of wines to complement your meals. Hello Fresh’s wine club members can enjoy a box of six wines per month, either red, white or mixed, depending on their preference. Hello Fresh’s website also gives insights into each wine and wine pairing suggestions so you can make the most of your order.
Affordable, tasty meals are the mainstay at Hello Fresh and, with family meals starting at $7.99 per serving, it certainly beats eating out. Although a little more expensive than doing your own grocery shopping, you only get the amount of each ingredient that you need for that specific dish, cutting down on food wastage and reducing costs by eliminating the need to buy a kilogram of spice when you only want a pinch.
While some meal delivery services focus more on calories and specific eating regimes, Hello Fresh celebrates high-quality ingredients and international cuisines, supplementing flavourful food with a sommelier’s selection of wines. It’s little wonder we consider it among the best gourmet meal delivery services available.
For more information on Hello Fresh read our extensive Hello Fresh review.
#3 Blue Apron
Blue Apron was one of the first meal prep delivery services to pop up in the US and is still one of the best for beginner chefs who are short on time but big on taste. Blue Apron probably has some of the most diverse and interesting dishes available but, unfortunately, that doesn’t include a weekly gourmet option. Nevertheless, you could easily turn one of their regular menu items into a gourmet experience by adding on wine and cheese and turn an ordinary dinner into a romantic date.
The Blue Apron market is so extensive you can pretty much buy yourself a whole new kitchen at the same time as ordering your meals for the week. From skillets to scampi, and graters to gruyere, Blue Apron will deliver almost anything relating to a culinary experience. Most importantly, however, is the food. Like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron has a range of meal plans to choose from, including a vegetarian gourmet meal delivery service which will see three meals delivered each week, unless you indicate otherwise.
At the beginning of the year, Blue Apron teamed up with Weight Watchers to bring its customers a new calorie-controlled meal plan option. The Blue Apron Freestyle plan is aimed at couples wanting a healthy lifestyle and a diet that they can control. The Freestyle menu plan combines imaginative flavors and diverse cuisines with SmartPoints to give customers the opportunity to create imaginative home-cooked meals that help them lose weight.
Blue Apron is dedicated to providing the best ingredients available so you can expect to find wild salmon rather than farmed in your weekly gourmet meal kit delivery box, and artisan pasta rather than your usual store-bought dry pasta. High-quality ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes make Blue Apron a popular choice and its weekly menu also includes a variety of vegetarian dishes, giving you the chance to try something new.
With prices ranging from $8.99 to $9.99 per serving, Blue Apron is certainly affordable but it doesn’t really fulfill the niche gourmet meal prep service despite having a range of tempting dishes available. While it’s certainly a great way to introduce yourself to your kitchen and start sampling different dishes from around the world, it’s possibly not the best choice when it comes to a special gourmet extravaganza.
For more information on Blue Apron read our extensive Blue Apron review.
Saving money on eating out doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality or taste, with the best gourmet meal delivery services providing outstanding cuisine at an affordable price. Not only will you save money on expensive restaurants with a gourmet meal kit delivery service, but you’ll also save yourself the time and irritation of grocery shopping and meal planning. Better still, you don’t have to worry about dressing up for dinner – you can just rustle up your gourmet meal and enjoy it in your pajamas.
With services like Hello Fresh providing a complementary win delivery service as well, you don’t even have to decide which wine is most appropriate for which meal – you can just rely on your gourmet meal delivery service to work it out for you. Eating out can be challenging, especially if you’re keeping an eye on your calorie intake and even a salad could heft your daily intake up a thousand calories or so.
With gourmet meal kit delivery services like Home Chef, you can find out all the nutritional information about a meal before you order it and even plan weeks in advance so you know you’re committed to your diet in the long run. Even Home Chef’s gourmet meals usually contain less than 1,000 calories, making them ideal for those wanting to lose weight without losing out on great-tasting meals.
Not only can a meal prep delivery service furnish you with healthy meals and delicious gourmet treats, but it can also help you develop your culinary skills, introducing you to basic cooking techniques and interesting ingredients. If you’ve never really found your feet in the kitchen, a meal delivery service is a great way to get started and, if you discover your inner gastronomic genie along the way, you can simply cancel the service and start cooking up an independent storm instead.