Archive for December, 2013

brewersbar

Picture from Knoshy.
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Product Information:

Granola Lab’s Brewers Bar is a unique, chewy-crispy fruit and seed granola bar made with barley malt (also called spent grain). To brew beer, barley malt is first soaked in water to create a mash. The resulting liquid is further processed into everyone’s favorite alcoholic beverage, but the malt itself is discarded.

The spent grain is collected from Kelso Beer Co of Brooklyn and baked into these bars along with dried apples, apricots, dates, pumpkin, sesame and hemp seeds. It’s mostly organic, vegan, and doesn’t contain any nuts. 

Tea Suggestion:

I thought that a nice, earthy white tea would be a good choice to drink with this Brewer’s Bar, so I selected this Silky Silver Needle Tea from Teasenz.  It is a light, refreshing tea that allowed the sweetness of the fruit and the flavors of the seeds to come forward.  A really nice tea time – unusual, yes! – but, enjoyable.

What I Think:

My various subscriptions have offered me many different opportunities to try a bunch of different granola/energy type bars.  Some I’ve liked more than others, while some were just sort of “meh” or maybe less than “meh.”

This bar is different from any that I’ve tried thus far.  The grain used for these bars is the spent malt from a brewery which gives the bar a different base flavor as well as a different texture.  I like the flavor of this.  I mean, I usually enjoy the oat-y flavor of most of the granola bars out there, but, this is tasty too.

There are also lot of seeds to this and that gives the bar a sort of crackly crunch that I enjoy.  One seed that I was particularly pleased to see as an ingredient is hemp seeds because I think that hemp is a product that we need to further explore.  And there are lots of fruity notes in this too:  I taste the apple and the apricot and the dates add a nice sweetness.

My Final Thoughts:

A really tasty and interesting bar.  I found this one different from the usual bar … and in this case, different was really good!

molassesspice

Picture from Love with Food.
Click on the pic to go there.

Product Information:

Old-fashioned flavor with a modern kick. Molasses, ginger, and vanilla combine to create a year-round chewy molasses treat reminiscent of crisp fall days, perfect with a glass of ice-cold milk.

I received a packet of these cookies in my December Love with Food box.

Tea Suggestion:

Because these cookies had a sweet and spicy taste to them, I wanted to go with a pure black tea that would allow me to experience the flavors within the cookies.  I chose this Golden Yunnan from In Pursuit of Tea, and together the cookies and tea made for a really delicious tea time treat.

What I Think:

These soft, delicious molasses cookies are the perfect cookie for this time of year.  It just tastes like Christmastime … it tastes like the holidays.  They are sweet and spicy, not quite as spicy as gingerbread cookies, but there are notes of ginger in these that provide a nice little kick.

I like the texture of these cookies.  The cookie itself is soft, but the sugar crystals on top of the cookie (they appear to have been “rolled” in raw sugar) give a little bit of crackly crunch to each bite.  There is a bit of a zesty, peppery bite to the cookies, but, the spice is countered by the sweetness of the molasses.

My Final Thoughts:

Like I said before:  these cookies taste like the holidays.  They were a delicious addition to my Love with Food box for December.  These cookies are definitely something I’d consider purchasing again!

gingerbreadspice

Photo from Knoshy.
Click on the pic to go there.

Product Information:

This organic, fair trade chocolate is crafted by Theo Chocolate in Seattle, Washington. Gingerbread spices are mixed with creamy milk chocolate that’s sweet, spicy and warming! Makes a perfect fireside treat to enjoy with a mug of hot cocoa. Limited seasonal release.

I received this chocolate bar in my December box from Knoshy!

Tea Suggestion:

Because I’m loving the notes of spice in this chocolate bar, especially the nutmeg, I decided to brew a cup of this Nutmeg Cream Tea from Butiki Teas!  I love the way the creamy notes of the tea marry with the creamy taste of the chocolate on my palate, and the the spice notes of the tea were in perfect harmony with the zesty spices of the confection.  Delicious!

What I Think:

Chocolate!

This is the first of two chocolate bars that I received in December’s box from Knoshy.  And I’m loving it.

There is a good amount of spice to this candy bar.  It’s a really delightful balance between rich, creamy milk chocolate and warm spices, and I like that they aren’t competing with one another.

When I shop for chocolate, I generally select a darker chocolate, but, I really like milk chocolate too, and I think that milk chocolate is the right choice for these particular flavors because it makes it taste almost like a chocolate “chai” but without the tea.  (Don’t worry, that can be easily remedied by simply enjoying the chocolate bar alongside a cup of hot tea!)

In fact, the spices here are very chai-like.  It’s got ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg, as well as vanilla.  Most of these (and often all of these) are found in a masala chai.

My Final Thoughts:

I love this chocolate bar.  I am so glad that Knoshy included it in this month’s box.  It is rich, spicy, and chocolate-y … and absolutely delicious.

sweetpotatotortillachip

Photo from Love With Food.
Click on the pic to go there.

Product Information:

A hint of cane sugar enhances the natural nuttiness of the sweet potato in a chip that is a riff on a classic baked sweet potato. Try the chips with a fresh fruit salsa or garlic dip.

I received a bag of these chips in my December Love with Food box.

What I Think:

Over the course of the last couple of years, I’ve been introduced to some snack chip products that are providing some really delicious and seemingly more healthy options to tortilla chips.

Now, as I’ve said on more than one occasion, I’m not a nutritionist, nor do I pretend to be.  I don’t always eat as healthy as I could or should.  Flavor to me is just as important – even more important! – than nutritional value.  If something doesn’t taste good, I’m not going to eat it just because it’s good for me.

I’m liking these Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips.  According to the list of ingredients, corn is still a primary ingredient in these chips.  But what I like about this list of ingredients is the shortness of it:

Stone Ground Corn, High Oleic Sunflower Oil and/or Safflower Oil, Sweet Potato, Corn Bran, Evaporated Cane Juice, Sea Salt

There’s not a lot of stuff there that I can’t pronounce.  There’s not a lot of stuff there at all.  Sure, it might be healthier if the oils weren’t there, and the cane juice wasn’t there.  But, there aren’t a whole lot of chips out on the market that don’t have some oil in them.  That said, these don’t feel or taste oily or greasy.

Instead, they taste light and they offer a satisfying cruch.  They’re lightly salted, with a delicious sweet potato and corn taste.  The product description above suggests serving them with a dip or salsa, but, I like them straight out of the bag too.

My Final Thoughts:

These are definitely tasty.  A product I could see myself buying when I’m in the supermarket now that I’ve tried them.

As I mentioned in my review of Justin’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups earlier this month, Knoshbox changed their name to “Knoshy.”  So, if you’re looking for past reviews of Knoshbox products and/or monthly subscription boxes that I’ve received, they can now be found under Knoshy in the category section rather than Knoshbox.

This change also comes with a slightly higher price tag.  We were once charged $29.95 with free shipping, and there is no longer free shipping.  The new shipping charge is $7.95.

???????????????????????????????That said, I still love Knoshbox/Knoshy and I’m not going to let this higher price tag deter me from getting my Knoshy!  As someone who used to run my own online business, I know that the cost of shipping is a killer!  And as long as Knoshy continues to crank out the boxes every month that made me fall in love with them in the first place, I’ll continue to get my Knoshy every month.

The first treat that I uncovered in this month’s box is an old favorite – but one that I’m glad is in the box because I absolutely LOVE these things:  The Pepp from S’more Bakery.  These were also in last December’s box, but, like I said, they were so good that I’m thrilled to find them in this year’s box.

Then I found a box of Lark Cookies!  This is the Holiday Trio Box, which includes Burnt Sugar & Fennel Shortbread Cookies and the Salted Rosemary Shortbread Cookies – both of which I’ve also already reviewed.  But the box also comes with some that I’ve not yet tried:  Espresso Chip.  I especially like what Knoshy said on their product card:

Pairs well with Earl Grey tea, family, friends and good cheer.

Sounds to me like they’re finally getting the tea thing.  (Heh!)

There were TWO chocolate bars in this month’s box too.  Yes, I said TWO – count ’em … 2! – CHOCOLATE bars in this month’s box.  And they’re from a somewhat local company:  Theo Chocolates.  Two of the seasonal chocolate bars:  Gingerbread Milk Chocolate bar, and Coconut Mint Chocolate Bar.  YUM!

Finally, there is a package of Sugar & Spice Pecans from LaLa’s Nuts.

All of these items are so tempting and again, exemplifies why I love Knoshbox … or Knoshy … or whatever they want to call themselves.  I love them.  Please guys, you can change your name, but, please don’t change what you mean to me:  yummy food in my mailbox every month!

alehousecheddarProduct Information:

Castleton Crackers of Vermont never ceases to amaze us with their delicious new crackers. The latest out of Vermont is their Alehouse Cheddar made with local craft ale, cheddar cheese and very mild horseradish mustard. All natural, and hand-made in Vermont.

I received a full sized box of these crackers in my November Knoshbox.

Tea Suggestion:

I chose a mild white tea go to with these crackers.  I wanted something mild because I didn’t want anything to interfere with some of the more nuanced flavors of the cracker and I wanted something cooling to soften the effect of the horseradish mustard.  The horseradish is mild, as the description above states, but, it does build a little bit and the white tea helped to cleanse the palate in between crackers.  I chose this China Mutan White Tea from Mark T. Wendell – and the crackers and tea made for a lovely tea time!

What I Think:

I’ve tried a few different Castleton Crackers since I’ve started this blog.  The first package that I tried were the Windham Wheat crackers, and then I tried the Rutland Rye and the Sesame Graham crackers.  Now we have the Alehouse Cheddar Crackers and these are reaffirming for me why I love this company’s crackers so much.

Not only are they a handcrafted cracker that are made in small batches and obviously broken by hand rather than crafted in an assembly line in a factory somewhere, but the flavor of these crackers just cannot be beat!  You just can’t get this kind of taste in a commercially manufactured cracker.  The crackers not only look like they were made in someone’s home kitchen, but they taste like it too!  You can taste the love in them.

As much as I loved the salty and sweet contrasts of the aforementioned Graham Crackers that I tried most recently from this company, I think that these Alehouse Cheddar might be my new favorite.  It’s surprising to me, really, because I’m not a big fan of alcohol, as I’ve mentioned before, but, I love the way the flavors are represented in these crackers.

I taste the cheddar, but it doesn’t hit me over the head with cheesy flavor.  I taste notes of the ale, but the most intriguing note that captures my interest is the horseradish.  It’s not an overwhelming flavor … it’s in balance with the other notes in the cracker.  But, it is a flavor that builds and after I’ve eaten a couple of crackers my mouth is pleasantly warm and I can feel that enjoyable “burn” in the top of my throat and even that hint of a sting near my eyes and nasal passages that one gets from horseradish.  I love horseradish, so these notes were certainly a welcome surprise to this cracker.  I like that it starts out subtle but the heat builds.

My Final Thoughts:

I really like these crackers.  Then again, I’ve really enjoyed all the different crackers I’ve tried from this company … but I think that the unique layers of flavor in this cracker might just make it my favorite!  They have the cheese, they’ve got some ale flavor, and some horseradish mustard … all that you need is a cup of tea!

And it looks like I hit the jackpot!

Wowza!

???????????????????????????????Not only did this month’s Love with Food box include TEN appetizing goodies, but, also a tote/grocery bag with a Love with Food Logo on it.  Yay!  And all of this fit into the one box.  Amazing.

The first thing I noticed in this box was the sweet potato chips from Food Should Taste Good.  I’ve seen these in my grocery store and I’ve been eyeing them, and I’m glad that I have the opportunity to try them.  (Interestingly, this is the one item that isn’t on the product card or listed on the website as part of this month’s box, but it is shown in the photograph.)

Then I saw this cute marshmallow called a MaddyMelt from Madyson’s Marshmallows.  It is round and flat, and created to fit atop a mug of hot chocolate perfectly.  I can’t wait to try this with the All Natural Drinking Chcoolate from Les Confitures a l’Ancienne, also in this month’s box.

???????????????????????????????And speaking of chocolate … there is plenty of chocolate to be enjoyed in this month’s box:  there’s a white chocolate candy bar called Snow Angell Candy Bar from Betty Lou’s

The snow Angell bar is tasty, but, I found it a bit too sweet for my liking.  I think if I were selecting the items for this box, I would have gone with the “Dark Angell” candy bar.  But I get why the Snow Angell was chosen, since this is the Christmas box.  I do like that there are oats in this candy bar – a little bit different, and it makes the filling in this bar a little less sweet than “nougat” in commercially manufactured candy bars.

There’s also an Excellence 70% chocolate diamond from Lindt, and a chocolate dipped Madeleine cookie from Donsaemor.

Another cookie in this month’s box seemed perfect for the season:  Molasses Spice Cookies from Grep Ghost Bakery.  Another perfect season choice is a package of Peppermints from St. Claire’s Organics.

The peppermints are nice and minty.  Sweet but not too sweet.  I found them to be a soothing remedy for after something spicy, not just did it calm my breath but also my tummy.

And rounding out the box with some savory selections are the Natural Crispbread Crackers from 34 Degrees and a package of Spinach Dip Mix from Dessert Gardens.

See what I mean?  Wowza!  What a box!