Posts Tagged ‘Tasting Box’

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Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn from Rocky Mountain Popcorn

Product Information:

Cinnamon Sugar is our newest flavor that tastes like your mom’s cinnamon toast! We are proud to have this fantastic product in our line up and we are sure you will love the sweet taste.

I received a bag of this popcorn in my December Goodies Box.

Tea Suggestion:

Because this popcorn already has a delicious sweet and cinnamon-y taste, I decided to go with a pure tea (rather than a flavored tea!), so I chose this delicious Royal Golden Safari Black Tea from Butiki Teas.  The natural spice notes of the tea were accentuated by the cinnamon sugar coated popcorn.  A really delightful tea time!

What I Think:

After trying some other gourmet flavored popcorn, Cinnamon Sugar popcorn just seemed kind of … ho-hum.  Boring.  Or so I thought until I tried it!  This is really yummy! It reminds me a lot of kettle corn, but with a delicious cinnamon-y twist.

The popcorn has a fluffy yet crispy texture, and I didn’t find the hulls to be too bothersome.  I was a little disappointed in the state of the popcorn … there were more small pieces of popcorn rather than full-sized, popped kernels … as if the package had been smashed or something.  I got some full-sized kernels, but there were considerably more “crumbs” than anything to this pouch.  The “crumbs” are still tasty, of course, but it’s easier to eat the full-sized kernels than the crumbs so it was a little less than ideal to snack on because the majority of my package was crumbs.

I did find a few un-popped kernels, as well as a few half-popped kernels.  I like half-popped kernels, so I’m not going to complain about that, but, when the package is mostly crumbs, and I’m left needing to pour the crumbs in my hand to eat them, and I bite down on an un-popped kernel in the handful … that’s a little unpleasant.

My Final Thoughts:

Overall, I enjoyed this snack, it was tasty … I just wish that there were more big, fluffy kernels and fewer kernel bits.

Product Information:

Each yummy square is topped with crunchy almond slices and made with good-for-you ingredients like our seven whole grains, sweet potatoes and beans. And with natural sweetness from agave, 4g of fiber and 300mg of ALA omega-3, they’re a nutritious snack your kids will ask for by name!

This Kashi Soft-Baked Square was part of my Goodies Tasting Box for September.

Tea Suggestion:

Because of the cake-y/cookie like taste of the square, I decided that a black tea was the way to go.  I went with this Assam Mangalam from Zen Teas.  The robust, malty tones of the Assam gave this hearty bar from Kashi a boost, and this snack became a meal!

What I Think:

I really like this!

I can’t recall ever having tried Kashi’s products.  I kind of see them as “trendy” foods… like they’re pushing this health food angle because it’s the “in” thing to do, but, I always find myself wondering if they’re really nothing more than those other fatty junk foods, just dressed up to appear to be something it’s not.

I confess that I’m kind of a novice when it comes to reading labels.  Sure, I read them when looking at things like juices for my daughter – I like to make sure they’re not just a bunch of corn syrup – but, I don’t check the label on everything that I buy, and I really don’t know what all those numbers in the Nutrition Facts box really mean.  I mean, sure, this says that it’s just 6 grams of fat, but what does that really mean?  (And, no, I’m not looking for a nutrition lecture here, I’m just stating that I’m not really knowledgeable about these things and how I should be applying them to my overall dietary plan)

But, after quickly perusing the ingredient list here, I’m pleased at what I see.  I don’t see any artificial sounding ingredients … this stuff all looks like healthy options.  There are some sweeteners in this:  agave, tapioca syrup (this is a sweetener, isn’t it?) and cane juice … and while the verdict is out as far as I’m concerned with agave (is it healthy, or is it just glorified corn syrup?) I’m happy to see that this doesn’t seem to be chocked full of sugars and most of the ingredients appear to be whole grains and other healthy foods.  There’s even sweet potatoes and garbanzo beans in this!  Wow!

But this doesn’t really taste like cardboard or something equally as lackluster.  This is really quite tasty!  The bar itself has a taste that reminds me of the cake-y part of a Fig Newton, only denser and more delicious and satisfying.  The slivered almonds on top added a little bit of texture to the square, as well as a yummy, sweet almond taste.  Overall, this is sweet, but not too sweet, and really quite tasty.  Something I wouldn’t mind eating more often.

My Final Thoughts:

This is a very substantial, tasty bar.  This is something I could see myself keeping stocked in the pantry, it’s energizing and delicious, something that I could snack on and not feel guilty afterward.   And it’s very satisfying – I found those in-between meals hunger completely satiated after nibbling on this one bar.

photo from Sensible Foods. Click on the pic to go there.

Product Details:

100% Fruit – 100% Fat Free – Gluten Free – No Added Sugar – No Additives/Preservatives – Crunchy, Sweet & Delicious

This product was part of my Goodies Tasting Box for September.

Tea Suggestion:

Because the dried fruit is so flavorful and such a strong taste, I decided to go with something on that had good flavor but wasn’t a strong, overpowering flavor so that the snack and the beverage were not competing with one another.  I selected this tasty Hazelnut Vanilla Oolong from Zenjala Tea Company.   The sweet, creamy vanilla and nutty tones provided an excellent contrast to the bright, flavorful fruits of this product.

What I Think:

I am really liking this snack … and so far, it may just prove to be my favorite product in the September Goodies Box.  These fruits are freeze-dried, which I like better than the dehydrated fruit, because I love the crunchy texture that the freeze-dry process imparts on the fruit.  I’ve tried a few freeze-dried fruits up until this point:  apples, strawberries, and pineapple … and of these three, pineapple is definitely my favorite.  It tastes like candy!

This package of Cherry Berrry Crunch doens’t have pineapple, but it does have apples, strawberries, blueberries and cherries.  Of the four fruits, there is far more apple.  I found this kind of interesting since the mix is called “Cherry Berry” … and based on the name I would expect there to be more cherries and berries than apples, but, I’m not entirely surprised, since apples are cheaper than cherries, strawberries and blueberries.

And the apple is nice in this.  It is sweet and crunchy, and when eaten by the handful with the cherries and berries, the apple gives off a mellow enough flavor that the flavor of the cherries and berries really shines through.  The cherries aren’t really strongly flavored, though, which kind of surprised me – I expected a slight tangy-tart note from them but they’re rather mild.  The blueberries are only slightly more tart and flavorful than the cherries.  Of the fruit, the strongest flavor is the strawberry, and it is bright and very sweet and has a tart finish.

My Final Thoughts:

This was a very tasty mix, although I found myself wishing for more flavor from the blueberries and cherries.  The strawberries seemed to dominate the entire pouch, and as a strawberry lover, I didn’t really mind that, but, I think it would have been neat to taste more from the blueberries and cherries.   If I see this in the store while shopping, I might pick up a bag.  It is an enjoyable, healthy and energizing snack-time choice.

Hooray … it’s another month, and that means a new month for Knoshbox!   To think … a couple of months I was so sad about Foodzie merging with Joyus and now I’m overJoyus to have found both Knoshbox AND Petit Amuse.  (Don’t you love the punny double meaning there?)

Anyway… this month’s Knoshbox theme is “Wine Trail Box” and while this isn’t really a theme that excites me a whole lot… the contents of the box DO excite me and I can simply replace the “Wine” with “Tea” and just as easily call this a Tea Trail Box… because these will make wonderfully tasty tea time treats!

Tucked inside this month’s box was a package of Castleton Crackers, Rosemary and Olive Oil Chips from Deep River Snacks, A Chorizo Rioja sausage from Olympic Provisions, a cinnamon-clove Simple Square bar, and a chocolate bar from Madecasse Chocolate.  (Um… why yes, I did say CHOCOLATE!)

Also included with the box was a theme card that told a little bit about each of the snacks as well as offered a wine suggestion for each snack.  And while this is a very intriguing group of snacks that would go nicely with wine… as a tea drinker, I look forward to finding just the right tea pairing with each of these.

Also on the back of the theme card was another hand written note.  I’ve got to tell you, it’s little touches like these that makes me miss Foodzie less and less … and I look forward to what the coming months might bring with Knoshbox!

Picture from Chukar Cherries. Click on the pic to go there.

Product Description:

Sweet Bing and Rainier cherries alongside Montmorency Tarts. Ideal if you want to try all three varieties of our Northwest cherries and don’t know which one to choose.

Learn more about Chukar Cherries on their website.

Tea Suggestion:

These cherries make a wonderful alternative to the typical tea-time treat!   I like these with iced tea too, but, I think I like them best with some hot tea – and I found these cherries to be especially delicious with this Laoshan Apothecary Green Tea from Verdant Tea.  The tea is so pleasantly balanced  with a gentle warmth of the spices in this blend, as well as the exhilarating taste of the mint really brought out the flavor of the cherries in a very interesting way.  Even the creamy, buttery elements of the tea enhanced the flavor of the cherries.  The cherries became sweeter, while the tart elements also emerged.  I could even note some savory elements to the cherries that I had not previously tasted.

What I Think:

These cherries are remarkable.  The first thing I noticed about them is the size of them.  I’ve had dried cherries before (I try to keep dried fruits in the pantry, as I like to add a handful of them to my hot cereals when I make them, and they make an excellent snack that is a bit healthier than my usual sweet go-to snacks, and they taste great!), but these seem so much larger and plumper than the ones I usually get from the supermarket.  I also like that they don’t feel as sticky as the other cherries I’ve had before.  There is a slight stickiness to them (I think this is normal with dry fruit, although I don’t consider myself an expert), but, they don’t feel super sticky or oily.

Another thing that I’ve noticed as I pour these out into my hand is that they aren’t all clumped together – they aren’t stuck together.  I have a slight aversion to stuck together dried fruit … and there’s a reason behind it, and it’s one I don’t like to discuss because it grosses me out.  It is the reason that I pretty much refuse to buy raisins anymore, and whenever I encounter a recipe that calls for raisins, I substitute dried cranberries.  And really, this is a very disturbing subject for me, especially when I’m eating, so I’m going to stop talking about that, and move on to these cherries!

I’m really enjoying these … they make a fabulous snack.  I like that there are a couple of sweet varieties along with one tart variety of cherry, so that you get a nice “medley” of flavors as you eat.  They’re bursting with flavor!  They have a very satisfying, chewy texture, and a handful or two is enough to satiate the hunger pangs that hit in between meals.  Sweet, with a delicious “juiciness” that makes my mouth water, and just enough tartness to keep it interesting.

My Final Thoughts:

I really like these.  I love that it is a medley of cherries, and not focusing on just one – I think that this provides a more satisfactory taste because it appeals to both the sweet and the tart.  For an even more satisfying snack, I like them served alongside something a little bit salty, like peanuts or cashews.  I also LOVE that this is a local company (well, somewhat local … Seattle.  The other side of the state, but, still, within the state!)  This is a brand that I will keep an eye out for when I visit Whole Foods or New Seasons next time, because I’ll be wanting more of this when it’s gone!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really missing the tasting box from Foodzie.  Now, I’ve found one replacement – Petit Amuse – and I’ve really been enjoying that box.  But I’ve also recently stumbled upon another new tasting box alternative for those who, like me, are mourning the loss of the Foodzie tasting box (although, I must admit that the Coconut Box on Joyus does have me intrigued!  Don’t be surprised if you see me gushing about it soon … I might end up breaking down and getting one of them!) 

And the name of this new, exciting tasting box?  Knoshbox!

On the outside, this looks a lot like the Foodzie box:  about the same size and shape (I think that this one might be a bit larger than the “regular” size of the Foodzie box, but, smaller than the large Foodzie box) but instead of Foodzie, this one says – appropriately enough – Knoshbox.  On the inside, it looks quite the same too:  five products tucked inside a brightly colored tissue paper, along with a product card and just for fun, a strip of tickets like you might get during a visit to the fair.

Tickets?  Why, you might ask?  Well, because this month’s theme is “Country Summer Fair” … yep, these boxes even have themes, just like the Foodzie boxes!  These tickets are just for decoration purposes, but they add a bit of fun and whimsy to the box, and I applaud the makers of Knoshbox for this little detail.

Another detail not to be overlooked here is that on the back of this month’s product card was a personal, hand-written note, thanking me!  I love it when a company takes the time to add something personal like this – it makes me feel like I’m getting a gift from a friend rather than something that was put together on an assembly line.

In this “Country Summer Fair” box, I received a bag of Maple Kettle Korn from Bureau’s Sugarhouse (My daughter and I have already eaten this – yummy!), a pouch of Organic Cotton Candy from Bernod’s Spun City (I’ve already sampled and reviewed this product, you can read it here, but I am really looking forward to enjoying it again), A package of Belgian Pearl Sugar Waffles from Unique Belgique, Organic Cherry Preserves from Middleton Organics (which I’m happy to say is from Eltopia right here in Washington state!) and a package of Goat Milk Caramels from Big Picture Farm.   All of these products are available (for a limited time, I believe) on the Knoshbox website in their market.

As I’ve mentioned before, I really couldn’t wait to start diving in to this box… my daughter and I have already finished the Kettle Korn!  Yum!  Watch for the review of it which will publish tomorrow.  The other products I will review later, except the cotton candy, which I’ve already reviewed.

I am so happy with this month’s Knoshbox!

The arrival of this month’s Foodzie Box was bittersweet for me.  Of course, I was excited to try all the goodies inside, but, I am also sad that this is to be the last Foodzie tasting box.  From what I’ve been lead to understand, the boxes will still be available as a one-off option on Joyus.  However, Foodzie as I’ve come to know it – delivering me unique, delicious goodies once a month – is gone.  No more subscriptions.  

And I don’t really think this is a change for the better, at least, not as far as the customers are concerned.  I do hope that Emily and Rob (they brought us Foodzie) did make out well with the acquisition, because at least someone got something good out of it.  But from this customers perspective – no, it’s not a good change.  Higher prices on the possibility of a one-0ff option.  No go for me.  The additional $10 price hike at the end of last year was as far as I was willing to push the proverbial envelope.  I am not willing to pay $39 for a box.  Just not going to do it.

This month, we were sent the email that allows us to choose our box, and our choices were:  Grilled Pizza Box, Raw Food Box and Seattle Box (which was their signature box).  To be honest, I wasn’t all that thrilled with any of these selections.

I mean, really, I don’t grill pizza … I mean, it sounds interesting and something I might want to learn more about, but, I didn’t feel comfortable enough with my grilling abilities to go ahead and get the box, you know?  The Raw Food box interested me somewhat, but, I didn’t know if I was interested enough in it to receive a whole box.  And the Seattle Box… ok, so I live here in the Pacific Northwest and Seattle is on the other end of the state from me, but, even this box I found a little disappointing because how could Foodzie do a Seattle box and not include something from Skillet (the company that brought us Bacon Jam).  And… how could they talk about Pike’s Place and not include something from MarketSpice?  (Preferably their MarketSpice Signature Tea!)  OK, so maybe that’s just the tea lover in me talking.  But, if they’re going to do a Seattle Box, you’d think that if they’re not going to include a tea then at least a coffee!  This is the Pacific Northwest!  We’re known for our hot beverages here.

And if they had included the coffee, it would have made my choice a lot easier, I must say, because I would have chosen the Raw Food box.  (I drink tea not coffee)  My point is that it almost feels like this box was “phoned in.”  You know?  None of these boxes seem as inspired as some of the boxes of the past.  Perhaps that will make it easier for me to say goodbye.

Anyway… that’s my rant about the box.  Let’s talk about goodies that were included.  In this box, there was a jar of Strawberry, Vanilla Bean and Lemon Jam from BigSpoonJam, a pouch of dried cherries (the Cherry Medley) from Chukar Cherries, a small package of Fluer de Sel Caramels from Jonboy, a bag of Flagship Cheese Crackers from Beecher’s, and a 2 oz. package of Butter & Sea Salt Halfpops.  Everything sounds yummy, sure.  Maybe I’m just feeling a little sad that this is my last box and it seemed very anti-climatic.

Also included in the box was the theme card, which explained Emily & Rob’s inspiration behind this box:

Seattle has a significant place in our hearts.  An easy flight from San Francisco, we love going up there for the dramatic skies, incredibly fresh seafood and of course strolling through the iconic Pike Place Market, one of the great food meccas of the world.  Plus it was Seattle that we first discovered one of Foodzie’s longtime bestsellers, Skillet Street Food’s bacon jam.  Along with Pike Place, markets like Ballard and Melrose are bubbling up all kinds of new foodmakers, and we’ve culled a few new faves, like buttery-salty caramels, cheesy crackers, and strawberry preserves that taste like a spoonful of summer.  If you can’t make a trip to the Pacific Northwest, this box brings a taste of Seatown to you.  ~Emily & Rob

I DO look forward to trying these, and there is more to look forward to, as well.  As some of you may have read, I discovered Petit Amuse (or should I say they discovered me?) and I do look forward to trying the goodies they deliver every month!  They will definitely help me get over the loss of Foodzie.

Ah… Foodzie, I will miss you.