Archive for June, 2013

Yep … I’m still working on all my past tasting box posts!  This is my post for April’s Knoshbox!  Knoshbox remains my favorite foodie tasting boxes of the few that I’ve been trying over the past year or so.  The reason is simple:  Knoshbox truly is a foodie box.  It’s a thoughtfully curated box with a theme, and tasty, unique foods that you don’t find everywhere.  For those of you who miss Foodzie and don’t like what they’ve become with Joyus, I think you’ll be really satisfied with Knoshbox.  (More on why I love Knoshbox with my May/June box information … coming soon!)

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This month’s box included some real tasty foods!  First and foremost were three sample packages of Justin’s Nut Butters.  I won’t be writing a review on most of these because, well, I’ve tried most of them!  There were three nut butters in the box, including the Maple Almond Butter which is probably my favorite nut butter ever and I keep it on hand in the full-sized tubs now, the honey peanut butter and one I haven’t tried yet, the Chocolate Almond Butter.  (I’ll do a review of this soon.)

So, immediately, I was a happy foodie to get more Justin’s Nut Butters … I love Justin’s!  Also included in this month’s box was a tub of Garlic Basil Crackers from Z Crackers.  These were pretty tasty, although, I did find them a wee bit disappointing only because the flavor was not consistent.  Sometimes, I’d bite into a cracker and get next to no flavor.  Then I’d bite into another cracker and it would have a really nice garlic-y and basil flavor.  I like the texture of these – crunchy and I could taste the multi-grains which gave it a nice, nutty kind of flavor.  Better than your average snack cracker that you’d buy at the grocery store, and really tasty with cheese spread.  Since I’m not big on eating snack crackers, though, I don’t think these are at the top of my must buy list.

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Garlic Basil Z Crackers

Also in this month’s box was a Simple Square (I’ve previously reviewed their Cinnamon Clove bar, their Coconut bar, and their Rosemary bar.)  I love Simple Squares … but I was not as excited about the bar in this box, because, well, it was a Coffee bar.  I’m not big on coffee.  I ate the bar, I liked it OK, but I would have been happier with one of the other three flavors that I’ve already tried or perhaps one of the other two flavors I haven’t yet tried:  Sage or Ginger!

I was much happier with the Battenkill Brittle.  I’ve got to tell you, this stuff looks like a treat you’d feed to your parakeet.  Seriously, this looks like bird food.  Since I’ve never actually eaten bird food, I can’t say whether or not it tastes like it.  But, it does taste good.  It has a delicious, sweet, nutty flavor (and crunch!)  I like that most of the sweetness comes naturally, from the seeds themselves, and there is very little “added” sweetness by way of the Vermont maple syrup and organic brown rice syrup that is used.  There is a delicate maple note to this, it isn’t so heavy that it obscures the seeds.  I taste the sesame seeds, I taste the sunflower seeds, and I taste the pumpkin seeds too!

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Battenkill Brittle

I like that there are six simple ingredients to this brittle.  It doesn’t taste overwhelmingly “candy-ish” the way most brittle does, and it isn’t as hard as most brittle is either.  It has a gentle, crackly crunch from the “brittle” but most of the crunchy comes from the seeds!  It is gently sweet, and very energizing!  Definitely something I’d be happy to eat again!

I’ll be reviewing the Green Tea and Lemon Kombucha Wonder Drink (yes, Tea!) and the Raaka Virgin Chocolate (yes, CHOCOLATE!) separately at some point!  I love it when there is TEA and CHOCOLATE in the same tasting box.  This box gets extra points just for that!

I’m still behind!  I discontinued my Love with Food subscription at the end of April, so this was the last box that I received.  I actually enjoyed the Love with Food boxes, but, because I am so behind, I kind of felt like I needed to simplify for a while.  Maybe once I get caught up, I’ll resubscribe.

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For now, though, let me tell you about what my April Love with Food Box brought.  This month was all about “Weird, Wild and Wonderful Foods with Andrew Zimmern.”  The focus seems to be on foods that are unique and unusual.  Or as the theme says:  weird, wild and wonderful!

I’ve actually tried many of these products since receiving the box, so I’ll give you my rundown on what I thought of them here rather than writing a whole other review.

The first thing that I devoured from this box was the Salty Pepper Somersaults.  I knew I’d love these because … well, I’m no stranger to these yummy snacks.  In fact, I previously reviewed this particular flavor here.   I love Somersaults – they are crunchy, nutty, delicious snacks.

The second item I tore into were the Smoky Chili and Lime The Good Bean snacks.  Wowza!  These are chickpeas that have been generously flavored with smoky chili and lime flavors.  They are crunchy, nutty, and really quite tasty.  These chickpea snacks pack a punch of SPICY hot flavor!  But even though the chipotle chili flavored snacks are hot and spicy, they are not so spicy that I can’t taste the other flavors … I even taste the chickpea (and the texture of the chickpea is nice and crunchy – making for a very enjoyable snack time).  I taste the hint of lime and the touch of salt to these too.  It’s hot, spicy, tangy, and salty in one snack.  YUM!

I was less impressed with the third item that I tried from this box.  The Itty Bitty Butter flavored Air Popped Sorghum Grains were … alright, I guess.  They were like a less fluffy, harder version of the Half-Pops that I reviewed previously.  And while I really enjoyed the Half-Pops, I was not as impressed with the texture of these Sorghum Grains.  They almost tasted like what I’d imagine stale Half-Pops would taste like, but with less flavoring and more unpleasant crunchiness.  Normally, I love crunchy … but these were even too crunchy for me.  I just wasn’t into these.

The Lemony Lover Olives from Oloves are a different matter all together.  I polished these delightful olives off in no time flat.  I love the way the lemon and the garlic and hint of oregano melded with the flavor of the olive.  It was tangy and savory, and just plain delicious.  They are certainly not your ordinary green olives … these truly were a treat.

Also yummy were the Sea Salt and the Original Cocomels from JJ’s Sweets.  Of course, I knew I’d love these since I’ve previously reviewed them. Sweet, delicious, caramel goodness.  I love them, and I was thrilled that they were part of this box.

I still have not tried the Organic Fennel Pollen from Pollen Ranch … mostly because I haven’t figured out what I want to try this on.  But I will, because I have enjoyed the limited experience that I’ve had with Fennel Pollen!  I have also not yet tried the Creamy Buffalo Ranch Dip from Buff Lo Dip.  So, when I do get around to trying these, I will definitely be posting the reviews right here.  Hopefully … I’ll be caught up soon!  Ha!

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Product Description:

Hand crafted in Austin, Texas these chocolate maca energy bars will power your next adventure. Made with 99% organic ingredients, 100% natural, raw, vegan friendly and gluten free.

I received this Energy Bar in my January Knoshbox.

Tea Suggestion:

Since this is a “raw” energy bar, I decided to go with a tea that also offers “raw energy” – a Green Tea!  (Although, I guess it could be argued that steeping is a ‘cooking’ process, right?)  I chose Blissful Buds Green Tea from Mellow Monk.  The savory notes of the tea were a nice contrast to the sweetness that I tasted from the dates.

What I Think:

I am liking this for what it is – an energy bar.  Energy bars are not something that I eat often, mostly because I prefer “real” food to a condensed meal in bar form.  But this is tasty as far as a meal in bar form goes.

It has a chewy consistency with a seedy crunch.  I’d liken it to a fudge-y nut brownie texture … if the nuts were crushed.  As far a chocolate-y flavor, though, I’m not getting a whole lot of what the name of this bar promises.  That is to say the chocolate flavor is lacking.  If I had been given this bar “blindly” and not told that it was a chocolate energy bar, I wouldn’t have guessed that it was.  I do taste a fruit flavor though … dates?  And it has that sugary sweetness of the date.  I also taste the cinnamon and I’m liking that. I don’t taste the almond or cashew specifically … I taste a nutty flavor, but, it isn’t a distinct almond or cashew flavor.  I also taste the chia seeds … or perhaps I should say, I notice their texture.

I like that this isn’t overly sweet … I get the sweetness from the dates and from the other ingredients, but, it isn’t overly “honeyed” or sweetened with excess sweeteners.  I like that it’s organic.

My Final Thoughts:

Overall, this was decent.  I don’t know that I like it enough to want to buy it again, but, I didn’t hate it, and if I were ever asked for the name of a good energy bar, this one would be on a short list of ones that I enjoyed.

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Product Description:

These roasted chestnut chocolate bars are crafted by the Ticket Kitchen of Sacramento. Roasted chestnuts are chopped up and gently mixed into fine couverture chocolate for a taste of nostalgia you won’t find anywhere else.

I received this bar of chocolate in my December Knoshbox!  (Yeah, I know, I’m behind!)

Tea Suggestion:

I prefer hot tea when I eat chocolate – they seem to go together really well.  And I usually prefer a black tea with natural cacao notes to it – like this Superfine Tan Yang Gong Fu Black Tea from Teavivre.  The naturally sweet notes of the tea brought out some of the deeper flavors of the chocolate and also nicely emphasized the flavor of the roasted chestnuts in the candy bar.

What I Think:

YUM!

This is a great chocolate bar.

First, I love it when the packaging is cute and clever like this chocolate bar is.  The shiny, gold mylar package is not all that special, but it’s been wrapped with a craft cardstock outer packaging that is folded “matchbook” style and secured close with a piece of decorative tape.  It just looks different and cool.

But, that would mean nothing to me if the chocolate inside the package wasn’t good – and this is delicious!  It’s milk chocolate, which isn’t my immediate choice in chocolate bars (I prefer dark chocolate) but, it is rich, smooth and creamy. It doesn’t taste overly sweet the way some milk chocolate bars can taste.  I can taste the deeper flavors of the cacao here.

And the roasted chestnuts are chopped very fine and give the overall bar a nice “crunch” bar kind of texture … but with tasty, toasty chestnuts instead of puffed rice.  The aftertaste (after the bar is gone … and it disappears way too fast!) is nutty and reminiscent of freshly roasted chestnuts.

My Final Thoughts:

I like this candy bar a lot!  And this isn’t my first tasting of Ticket Kitchen chocolates – I’ve had their hot chocolate on a stick in the past and enjoyed those quite a bit too.  I like it when I find a chocolate bar that’s just a little unusual – like this one with roasted chestnuts (not something you find in an everyday chocolate bar!) and check out some of their other unique flavors!  I think I’m going to have to try their Waffle Pecan Chocolate bar!

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Wake up your taste buds! These zesty chips are great all by themselves or served with your favorite salsa or guacamole.

I received a bag of these chips in my February Love with Food Box.

Tea Suggestion:

Because these chips have a little bit of a spicy kick, I’d recommend an iced tea so that you can gulp it down to help cool the palate!  This Cranberry Mango Green Tea from Zen Tea tastes GREAT iced, and I like the way it tastes with these Pico De Gallo chips!  It’s sweet, fruity and refreshing, while the chips have a nice, zesty crunch!  A nice pairing!

What I Think:

These are really different – but also really tasty!  They taste kind of like tortilla chips that have been dipped in bean dip and then taken for a quick dip into a bowl of zesty pico de gallo salsa!  They’re spicy but not super-spicy – they have a nice heat to them without overwhelming the palate with a lot of spice.

I’m really enjoying the texture of these too.  They’re crunchy, but they aren’t “hard-crunchy” like a traditional tortilla chip (or corn chip).  Instead, it’s a light yet hearty crunch.  The rice keeps the texture lighter – its more delicate than the heavier texture of a corn chip.

My Final Thoughts:

I’d definitely pick up a bag of these if I saw them in the supermarket.  And according to the supermarket locator, these can be purchased at my local Whole Foods!  I’ll look for them the next time I’m there!

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Hey there!  The gang thinks I’m the sweetest fruit in the bunch but these cranberries will charm your sweet tooth not damage it!  And as if you weren’t already excited – our treats pack in 5 times more fiber than traditional dried cranberry snacks!

I received a pouch of these dried cranberries in my February Love With Food Box.

Tea Suggestion:

To be honest, I wasn’t all that thrilled with these snacks, so the tea that I’d suggest with this one is one that will help you wash the taste of these snacks off the palate!  Something clean and refreshing, like this Southern Mint Herbal Tea from Revolution Tea.  The minty taste helped revive my taste buds.

What I think:

I love dried cranberries.  I try to keep them on hand in my pantry, because they’re so versatile.  I prefer them over raisins … I used to like raisins until I had a most unfortunate experience finding something that I just shouldn’t have found in a box of raisins … now, I find raisins kind of repulsive and only get them when a recipe calls for them and I don’t think that dried cranberries will work as a suitable substitute.

That said, I’m not loving these dried cranberries from Funny Face.  They are kind of “oily” and they don’t taste really like cranberries, nor do they taste like strawberries.  At least not like true-to-the-fruit strawberry … they have kind of a funky, artificial taste to them that I’m not really enjoying.  I don’t like the oily texture, it kind of … well, I’m going to liken it to eating a strawberry flavored chapstick … it’s kind of waxy and oily and just … gross.  I wouldn’t take a bite out of chapstick, and I’m not able to finish this pouch of snacks.

My Final Thoughts: 

Not good.  Won’t buy them again.  Wouldn’t recommend them to anyone unless I was specifically asked “Hey, I’m looking for something that tastes like strawberry flavored chapstick … do you know of anything that might fill the bill?”  Only then would I recommend these.

Yeah, I’m just late writing about it!  I’m behind writing about EVERYTHING … but I hope to get caught up eventually.

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April’s Goodies Box has all been devoured by now, with the exception of the Raspberry Acai Celsius beverage.  And since I’ve already eaten nearly all the April box, rather than writing individual reviews on each of these, I’ll just tell you my thoughts briefly on each of the products here.

The first product I tore into was the Sea Salt MultiGrain Sweet Potato Chips from Green Giant.  These are pretty darned tasty.  I loved the multi-grain aspect of these … they ended up tasting a lot like “Sun Chips” but with a sweet potato taste that made them better than most other multi-grain chips.  These are something I will definitely keep my eye out for when grocery shopping!

Next up was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Zone Perfect Nutrition Bar.  I love cookie dough, and the consistency of this nutrition bar … before biting in to it … was very much like cookie dough, so I had high hopes for this.  But, unfortunately, after I bit into the bar and started chewing … the texture became very “diet food” like.  It tasted alright, but it wasn’t something that inspired me to want to buy another bar.  It wasn’t what I’d call tasty … it was acceptable, but the texture made it less than enjoyable to eat.

Then I tasted the Apricot Almond Chai True Bar.  This is seriously yummy!  The spice in this is very distinct and I like that.  Lots of cardamom, ginger and cinnamon!  The cardamom is especially nice here, it has a slight citrus-y tone that compliments the apricot very well.  Lots of crunch to this bar, and a whole lot of flavor.  The apricot comes through nicely.  The texture is crunchy and I like that it didn’t feel overly sticky to the fingers. This will be something that I’ll want again and again – definitely one of the very best energy/health bars I’ve ever tasted.

Angie’s Sweet & Salty Popcorn is an entirely different story all together.  I really enjoyed this tasty snack.  The popcorn is light and crispy, the sweet coating on the kernels isn’t a heavy one – it’s lightly sweet, but, there is enough of an almost-caramel-y taste there that makes me think of a salted caramel without being too cloying.  It’s a nice alternative to the overly sweet snack.

The last product that I’ve tried from this box are the Olomomo Chai Bliss Almonds.  I LOVE THESE … and it’s not just because they’re chai-ishly flavored.  They are delicious and crunchy and sweet and spicy and just about everything I want from a snack (except possibly, they’re not chocolate.  What can I say, at the end of the day, I’m still a chocoholic!) I could snack on these every day … and my only real complaint about this “goodie” from my Goodie Box is that the package was so small, and it was just a handful of Chai Bliss goodness.  This is something I WILL hunt down and get more of!

Overall, I really enjoyed my April Box, and as I said, some products were more memorable than others.  I haven’t yet tried the Celsius drink, but, when I do, I’ll post a review of it.  Until then … maybe I’ll get May’s Goodie Box article posted!  ha!