Snack #2 – Zesty Lime & Red Pepper Salsa: Obviously, what you get here is not just salsa, but also pita chips to dip in it. It’s one of the lower calorie Graze offerings – only 70. I’d have preferred corn chips, which seem to go better with salsa to my taste. These chips were a bit more like croutons in texture and varied a lot in thickness, with some of them rather too thick for optimal dipping. As for the salsa, it wasn’t bad, but was a bit too sweet and much milder than I’d have preferred. I downgraded this from "like" to "try."
Snack #3 – Vanilla-Almond Protein Granola Topper: This consists of oat and barley granola, soy protein crispies, almond slivers, and vanilla pumpkin seeds. It’s 150 calories and, with 6 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat, it seems equivalent nutritionally to most granola cereals I might buy. (I am fairly addicted to Trader Joe’s Ginger, Almond & Cashew Granola, which is higher in calories and lower in protein, with about the same fat content.) To be fair, I should have tasted this straight, but I didn’t think to and just poured it on a small bowlful of plain yogurt from the farmer’s market. (The Mennonite farmers who come to the Tuesday Crystal City market make really good, tangy yogurt, which reminds me of the yogurt one gets in the Caucasus.) Anyway, I thought the virtue of this granola topper was largely in its crunch. The vanilla and almond flavors were mild and were largely drowned out by the tang of the yogurt. Overall, I thought this was fine, but not particularly exciting.
Snack #4 – Sweet Rhubarb Jam: This has nothing to do with jam per se, but is a mixture of dried fruit – rhubarb slices, apple pieces, and cranberries. It’s 110 calories, but a lot of that is sugar (23 grams of it). I’ll admit I was skeptical, as I haven’t been entirely crazy about the texture of their apple pieces and I was still on the fence about rhubarb. I’m pleased to say that I concluded that rhubarb is actually quite nice. And, as I think I mentioned before, eating a mix of the fruit types helps a lot with the chewy texture of the apple. I was pleasantly surprised.
Snack #5 – Raspberry & Coconut Muffin: This is another deconstructed snack, which consists of raspberry infused cranberries, almond slivers, amaretti drops, and coconut flakes. It’s 140 calories. I’m a little concerned that the amaretti drops are made from apricot kernel, which I understand contain cyanide, though they are apparently a common ingredient in Italian amaretto cookies and liqueur. Anyway, the whole thing tasted surprisingly muffin-like. It works best if you get little bits of each of the components in each bite. Overall, I thought this was a well-balanced, nice sweet snack. I’ve rated it as a "like," not a "love" because of that cyanide concern.
Snack #6 – Lemon Drizzle Flapjack: This is the standard Graze rolled oat flapjack (i.,e. soft granola bar sort of thing) with lemon curd and a yogurt drizzle. It’s 150 calories, including 14 grams of sugar. It is also thoroughly delicious with lots of lemon flavor. I thought the taste and texture of this were both right on the mark. Yum.
Snack #7 – Chocolate Pretzel: This was the other repeat. It consists of lightly salted pretzels, which you dip into a cocoa and hazelnut spread, similar to Nutella. It’s not quite as bad nutritionally as one might expect from that description – 140 calories and 8 grams of sugar. This is just fabulous and, as far as I am concerned, they can give me a container of it in every box they send.
Snack #8 – Sesame Garlic Crunch: This is a mixture of garlic sesame sticks, oat bran sesame sticks and multigrain soy rice crackers. It’s 140 calories. The mix isn’t super-garlicky, which is probably a good thing, since I was eating this at work. I love sesame, so this worked well for me, overall. I was especially pleased that it wasn’t very salty, since excessive saltiness is my most frequent complaint with savory snack foods.
Overall, this box had a very good mix of snacks. Obviously, as time goes on, I expect to get more repeats, but both repeats in this box were things I enjoyed and there was plenty of new stuff to try. My main intention was to shake myself out of a routine and Graze has certainly been successful at that. In fact, I am thinking about backing off on my rejection of raisins as they have several snacks with raisins infused with various other flavors that actually sound good. Banana, however, remains inedible in my book.