Posts Tagged ‘Almonds’

hotcrossyumSnack Mix Ingredients:

sponge pieces, cinnamon and honey almonds and orange infused raisins

I received a tray of this snack mix in my November Graze Box.

Tea Suggestion:

For this “cake” like snack from Graze, I decided to go with a cup of hot black tea.  I chose this Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Black Tea from Eco-Cha.  The sponge “cookies’ and the almonds accentuated the sweet vanilla-like tones of the tea, and I found that the cinnamon notes of the tea came out a bit more when I enjoyed the two together.

What I Think:

The name of this snack is Hot Cross Yum and they certainly got the YUM part right.  I’m loving every bite of this snack!

The “sponge pieces” are like tiny, soft cookies.  Or perhaps a piece of slightly dry cake.  It’s sweet and yummy and reminds me a bit of a Nilla Wafer but without the crunch of the Nilla Wafer.

The raisins are amazing, and are quite possibly my favorite component of this snack, and that isn’t something I’d usually say about a raisin!  But the orange infusion adds a really interesting dimension of flavor to the otherwise boring raisin.  These taste bright and sweet and orange-y and delicious!

And the almonds add a nice crunch to this, as well as a delicious cinnamon-y note.  Of the three components, there were far fewer of the almonds than of the raisins or the sponge, and I think I would have appreciated a better balance of ingredients, but, since I really liked the raisins I didn’t really mind that there were more raisins than the other two ingredients.

My Final Thoughts:  

I “liked” this snack.  It’s definitely yummy.  I love the sponge pieces and the raisins are amazing.  A really tasty combination of flavors, made even better with a cup of black tea.

cinnamonnutsProduct Description:

California-grown almonds are roasted to crunchy perfection, and then seasoned with  a blend of sweet honey, spicy cinnamon, and floral vanilla.

I received these nuts in my December Love with Food box, and they can be purchased on the Love with Food website.

Tea Suggestion:

These almonds make a delightful tea-time snack!  I enjoyed these nuts with a cup of Kyobancha from Tealet!  I thought this was a perfect pairing – the natural nutty tones of the Kyobancha and it’s delicious roasty-toasty flavor complemented the almonds so nicely … allowing the natural goodness of the nut to shine through the sweetness of the honey, the warmth of the cinnamon and the touch of salt.

What I Think:

Yum!

The best part about these is the cinnamon, it gives the sweet, candied nut just enough extra interest to keep it … well, interesting.  After a while, candied nuts – while delicious – end up tasting all the same, and it seems like this time of year almost every one of my tasting boxes has at least one type of candied or flavored nut in them.  I don’t mind this, of course, I enjoy these offerings, and they make a somewhat healthier option versus all the sweet candies and cookies that are also sent in the tasting boxes.

However, it’s nice when I open a pouch of candied almonds like this and find something just a little different about them … and with these, Nunes Farms added a touch of cinnamon (maybe a little bit more than just a touch!) to give them some warmth and spice without making them spicy.  These aren’t an ordinary “spicy-sweet” kind of candied nut, or even just a sweet candied nut.  They are really quite extraordinary!

My Final Thoughts:

Well, first of all, the pouch was too small, because the almonds disappeared too quickly!  (ha!) but, I loved the portion that I received.  These are crunchy, a little salty, sweet from the honey (but not sticky!) and have just a little exciting twist with the cinnamon note.  Really yummy!

Picture from Knoshbox. Click on the pic to go there.

Product Description:

These bars are wheat-free, all-natural and made with local apples from Bishops Orchard in Guilford, Connecticut. The flavors and aromas of the bars will bring back memories of apple picking in the orchard and drinking warm cinnamon apple cider on a cool autumn night.

They’re made with: organic rolled oats, Connecticut wildflower honey, organic oat bran, organic sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, golden raisins, cranberries, canola oil, natural vanilla, organic lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, malt syrup, cardamom, sea salt and ginger.

I received this bar in my October Knoshbox, and they can be purchased on the Knoshbox website for a limited time.

Tea Suggestion:

This granola bar has a lot of flavor on its own, so I didn’t want to choose something that might have a competitive flavor profile.  I chose this High Country black tea blend from Trail Lodge Tea, and it was an ideal choice.  The richness of the tea complimented the sweet, toasty flavors of the granola bar, and the earthy tones of the bar highlighted the tea’s earthier qualities.

What I Think:

When it come to granola bars, I typically prefer the softer variety over the crunchy.  This granola bar seems to fall somewhere in between the two … it’s not as hard as the commercially produced granola bars that you’ll readily find in the grocery stores, it isn’t pressed the way those bars seem to be.  You know what I’m talking about right?  It seems like the ingredients for those granola bars are compacted into a solid, brick-like form that is almost as hard as a brick.   That’s not the case with these bars, You can see all the ingredients, and they don’t appear to be quite as SMOOSHED together as the brick granola bars, but these DO have a certain toothy crunch to them that makes them similar to the crunchy granola bars.

But, what makes them crunchy are the chunks of nuts (I can taste the almonds and especially the pecans!  YUM!) and the toasted oats and sunflower seeds.  The texture is brought on naturally, not by over-processing.

My Final Thoughts:

I love that I can identify each ingredient that is listed in the above list.  I can taste the honey, and the cranberries and each of the spices too!  It’s really a warm and delicious tasting bar – definitely very “Harvest-y” … a perfect granola bar for this time of year (and for the Autumn Harvest themed Knoshbox!)  While I do generally prefer my granola bars to be slightly softer, I like that the crunchiness of this bar comes from the toasted textures of the ingredients.

Overall, this is an enjoyable, hunger-satiating granola bar … and one that I enjoyed enough that I might purchase it again.

Product Description:

This delectable snacking experience features almonds, apples, and flax seeds, tickled with date, balsamic vinegar and cayenne.

Learn more about Sahale Snacks on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

I highly recommend that you have a glass of iced tea nearby when you start eating these snacks!  I really like this Apple Pearadise from Big Tea House. It makes a stunning iced tea, and the sweet, fruity notes of the tea go very well with the fruit flavors of this snack mix.

What I Think:

This tasty snack mix is a wonderful juxtaposition of flavors and textures.

The flavor is all at once spicy from the cayenne pepper, sweet from the apples and dates, nutty from the almonds, and just a little tangy from the balsamic vinegar.  Add a little salt just to keep it interesting, and WOW!  So good.  It’s an exciting balance of flavors that is sure to make the palate happy.

But it is, first and foremost, a spicy snack.  So if you tend to prefer your snacks on the timid side, this is not the snack mix for you.  But if you like your snacks with a little bite – you should definitely look for these the next time you’re in your local Whole Foods Market.

The almonds are lightly glazed with a cayenne balsamic glaze and then sprinkled with flax seeds.  This gives them a nice crunchy texture and a spicy, tangy flavor to go along with the natural, nutty sweetness of the almonds.  Then chunks of apple and dates are added, which give the mix a pleasing sweetness and a chewy texture to contrast with the crunch of the nuts.

My Final Thoughts:

As much as I enjoyed the Sahale Cashews with Pomegranate and Vanilla, I think I might like this snack mix even more!  I love the spicy flavor of this one… it is very warm but not what I would call spicy-hot… although as I said above, you’ll want to have that iced cold tea nearby to help cool the palate.  YUM!  Seriously, I loved both of these snack mixes … so much so that I may have to try some of Sahale’s other intriguing snacks!

Product Description:

By popular demand we have created this rich 70% dark chocolate bar with chunks of almonds and just the right amount of salt!

Learn more about Theo on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

Goodness, what tea doesn’t go well with chocolate?  Just about any tea you choose will go nicely with it.  I prefer a black tea with chocolate, just because I like the way the deep, rich flavor of the tea brings out the deep, rich flavors of the chocolate and vice versa.  For this tasting, I chose this Organic, Fair Trade Assam from Hampstead Tea.

What I Think:

The “salted” part of this chocolate bar not only offers contrast to the bitter sweet flavor of chocolate but it also adds some definition to the complexity of the chocolate.  As this is a fairly large bar of chocolate, I ate it in in thirds.  I ate the first third of it without giving much thought of what I was enjoying.  In other words, just experiencing the joy of eating chocolate without dissecting it.

As I was eating this portion of the chocolate, all of the sudden it dawned on me that I could taste a fruity note within the chocolate – and this is something that is quite new to me.  I noticed it for the first time with the Sea Salt & Nibs Chocolate Bar from Madécasse.  Before that, I never really took the time to notice the complexity of chocolate.  Sure, I enjoyed it, but I am almost ashamed to admit that I never really got to know it the way that I am just now getting to know chocolate.

In case you’re wondering, the second third of the chocolate bar seemed to just disappear.  I don’t know HOW that happened.  This phenomenon (disappearing chocolate) is something that I have noticed frequently throughout my life as a chocoholic, though I can’t really seem to explain it.

So, now I am left with my final one-third of this chocolate bar, and I am trying to focus on what I’m tasting so that I can share those thoughts and experiences with you.

The almonds are cut into small chunks.  While there was a time when chocolate with almond bars were among my favorite chocolate choices, back then, I always would want the almonds to be whole.  Now, I find that I appreciate the smaller chunks of almond, as this not only allows for better distribution of the nut into the chocolate, but, it also allows for a more consistent chocolate bar. The almonds add some sweetness, a delicious roasted flavor as well as a crunchy texture.

The salt of the bar is different from the typical salted chocolate confection that is popular these days.  Usually, you’ll find an ample sprinkling with large flakes or grains of salt that add a little bit of texture.  Here, the salt is inside the bar and in every single bite.  While I do enjoy the texture of the sprinkling, I do think I like the way the salt is distributed here, as it allows for full enjoyment of the role that the salt plays in this confection.  I can allow a small piece of the bar to melt slightly on my tongue and I taste not just chocolate as it melts, but also the light touch of salt.  Just as the description above suggests, there is just the right amount of salt, and it interacts with the chocolate in such a beautiful way, revealing the lovely complexity of this 70% dark chocolate.

So Good!

My Final Thoughts:

I really loved this chocolate bar, and I’m glad that it was part of the Valentine’s Box from Foodzie.  After perusing the Theo website and seeing their many unusual confections, this seemingly simple combination of salted almonds and dark chocolate is probably a chocolate bar I would not have selected for myself, I think I would have probably gone for something more unique (Their Chai Tea bar did NOT escape my notice!)  So I am glad that someone else did the choosing for me in this case, because I really LOVED this chocolate bar!

Product Description:

Almonds are our secret weapon against weight gain and mindless snacking. Six almonds contain only about 100 calories, and will absolutely stave off the in-between-meal grumblies. They’re also believed to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol, reduce risk of cancer and even improve complexion. Oh, and did we mention they’re delicious? They are, especially these fresh almonds roasted to nutty perfection.

Learn more about Stackhouse Brothers Orchards on their facebook page.

Tea Suggestion:

I chose a naturally sweet, nutty green tea:  Organic Green Tea from TeaSpree.  I just love how well green tea and roasted almonds go together:  a deliciously sweet combination.

What I Think:

After popping the first couple of almonds in my mouth, I couldn’t help but think that something was missing.  No salt!  These roasted almonds are unsalted, which is alright, I suppose, but I wasn’t quite prepared for it.  I guess I should have paid better attention to the labeling, as it says, in red letters right in the middle of the label:  No Salt.  It’s even in parenthesis, which should have called my attention to it.

That’s what I get for not reading the label before I start munching.

Don’t get me wrong, these nuts actually taste quite good without salt, but, I guess I’ve just come to expect salt on “snacking” nuts … however, since these did come in the “Jump Start My New Year” tasting box, it makes sense that the healthier option would be unsalted, roasted almonds.

Other than not having salt, these taste very much like I’d expect them to taste.  They taste like almonds.  They taste like they’ve been freshly roasted, and they have a nice crunch to them.  Sweet, toasty, and delicious.  And just as the above description (from Foodzie) suggests, they definitely do help satisfy that in-between-meals hunger.

My Final Thoughts:

I really enjoyed these almonds.  I don’t know that I liked this particular brand enough to set out and buy them rather than another brand from the grocery store.  As I said, these taste remarkably fresh, but is it that noticeable to where I’d want and crave these over a supermarket brand?  I don’t know.  But what I do know is that I found my hunger satisfied by snacking on some almonds while sipping on my green tea.  A delicious yet healthy way to snack!

Learn more about Clarine’s Florentine’s here.

Product Description from Foodzie:

A favorite from our February Tasting Box, Clarine hand-makes these European-style cookies – a delicate layer of well-caramelized almonds slathered with bittersweet chocolate.

What I Think:

As I mentioned on my article about my Stocking Stuffer Tasting Box, this is the product that prompted me to buy this additional box.  Sure, I wanted to try the other goodies as well, but, these Florentines have been on my mental wish list for a very long time.

And as I also said in the aforementioned article, my Florentines were smashed upon arrival.  I was sad.  But, I was glad to learn that my Florentines would be replaced, so I wrote to Foodzie and instead of replacing them they are offering me a $5 credit.  Nice, but, I am still here, left with crumbled cookies.

But they still taste good, even though they’re in small bits. In fact, it might be more in keeping with the whole “Stocking Stuffer” idea, since, if I were a child given a cookie like this, I probably would have broken it up into little pieces to enjoy.

Thin slivers of almonds have been caramelized to a dark golden brown, rendering them sweet and chewy from the caramelizing process.  The bottom of the cookie is a thin, solid layer of dark chocolate which has just enough of a bitterness to it to give this cookie a sweet yet savory appeal.

It tastes very elegant and delicate but at the same time, incredibly indulgent … and I think when served whole, would be even more luxurious!  In one bite, I taste a delicious, earthy, nutty flavor, sweet caramel, and smooth, rich chocolate.  YUM!

For a tea pairing, my immediate thought would be a Keemun, but, perhaps even a Yunnan would be nice.  The spicy and earthy tones of the Yunnan would offer additional contrast to the sweet and bitter of the cookie while enhancing some of the earthy tones of the almond.  Ultimately, I chose this Yunnan Gold from Teavert.  The robust flavor of the Yunnan brought an amazing dimension of flavor to an already decadent treat.

My Final Thoughts:

Even though they were broken, these cookies are awesome.  It’s a little late to be ordering them as holiday gifts, but, they’d make a great Valentine’s gift (I know I’d be really thrilled with a box of these for Valentine’s Day!)  And they make tea time extra special!