Graze Box – Number Four

Hey guys! Have any of you ever heard of Graze? It originally started in the UK and has been slowly branching out into the USA on an invite basis. The basic concept is that for $5 they will send you a mailbox sized box full of 4 different snacks every other week. There are over 80 different options to choose from and they are adding more.

Graze uses the following scale to rate how often they should send you something: trash, try, like, love. One of my New Years resolutions goals is to try new foods, so when I was picking out stuff I really made myself select try on more foods than I normally would.

Because of the amount of food, I will review the treats in a little bit different format than I normally do. Let’a go!

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This weeks mix is a half and half blend of sweet and savory.

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Fruit and Seed Flapjack : rustic rolled oat flapjack with mixed seeds and dried fruits
If you would have told me that there were apricots, dates, currents, sultanas, and raisins in this flapjack, I would have probably turned my nose up at it. I think in the last few Graze reviews I have made it pretty clear my feelings about raisins, but I had no idea when I was noshing on this delicious oat bar. Side note, because of my insane love of Hall & Oates, it is nearly impossible for me to type oat or oats correctly the first time. The flapjack is very moist and chewy, and the fruits included give it a great sweetness to it that is just right. The seeds that are included are sunflower and pumpkin which are both very tasty.
Overall this mix : love

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Brooklyn Bites : BBQ pumpkin seeds, poppy seed pretzels, and cheese cashews
This mix looks like a match made in heaven. Cheese cashews, poppy seed pretzels, and pumpkin seeds, yum! Unlike the other mix in my last Graze box, the pumpkin seeds in this are flavored, which takes this mix to a whole ‘nother level. The cheese cashews are slightly salty with a hint of cheese, but still keep the delicious cashew flavor. The pretzels were what I found the most underwhelming in this mix – they were pretty bland. All of the flavoring is concentrated on the pumpkin seeds which were slightly overpowering with the first bite I took. But out of the whole mix, I think I would say that they were my favorite.
Overall this mix : like

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Marvellous Macaroon : amaretti drops, almond slices, coconut flakes, and white chocolate buttons
Well it looks like the white chocolate didn’t hold up very well the few minutes my bag sat in the backseat of my car, baking away in the blazing hot sun. This made most of this mix turn into a katamari of ingredients, but I think it kind of worked out. The amaretti drops are so good, as are the white chocolate buttons. When this mix is eaten as it is intended, a little bit of everything at one time, it does in fact taste just like a macaroon, but because of my weird food habits, I eat everything separately. Sadly I was left with a bunch of almonds and coconut flakes and together those two things are the most bland thing on the planet.
Overall this mix : like

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My Thai : sweet chili sauce with baked soy bites
I love japanese cracker mixes – and I especially like the soy crackers, so when I opened my Graze box to find this mix in there, I was quite delighted. As usual I saved what I thought would be the best for last and I think I made the right choice. The chili sauce was spicy and sweet, but I am more of a dipper than a scooper when it comes to things like sauces, salsas, and the like, so I felt like they either gave me too much or didn’t give me enough crackers. The crackers alone were so good, and I could eat an entire bag if I had one and the chili sauce was very good. I could smother rice with the sauce or maybe some gyoza, man it was good. And sadly because I was so starved at work, I demolished the tray before even managing to take a picture. Crap.
Overall this mix : LOVE

*please note that this post is my own opinion (like all other posts) and was not paid or compensated with goods from Graze for this post.

Graze Box – Number 2

Hey guys! Have any of you ever heard of Graze? It originally started in the UK and has been slowly branching out into the USA on an invite basis. The basic concept is that for $5 they will send you a mailbox sized box full of 4 different snacks every other week. There are over 80 different options to choose from and they are adding more.

Graze uses the following scale to rate how often they should send you something: trash, try, like, love. One of my New Years resolutions goals is to try new foods, so when I was picking out stuff I really made myself select try on more foods than I normally would.

Because of the amount of food, I will review the treats in a little bit different format than I normally do. Let’a go!

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The outside packaging is no frills.

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This weeks offering was mostly savory.

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Summer Berry Flapjack : rustic rolled oat flapjack with berry infused cranberries

I had never had a flapjack prior to this Graze box or even had an idea of what a flapjack was aside from the normal pancake. Apparently it is similar to what most would consider a granola bar but it was more chewy than a regular granola bar. The oats were moist and flavorful, and the cranberries were sweet and tart. If Graze messed up and sent me an entire box of this flapjack, I would not be sad at all.
Overall this mix : love

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Cheddar Gorge : cheese cashews, baked herb bites, and salsa corn sticks.

I bring my box to work with me so that I will have a few choices when it comes to snacks during the day. Unfortunately this mix fell victim to the mid-day munchies and I completely forgot to take a picture of it (though you can see a picture here). The cheese cashews were nicely seasoned, the baked herb bites were flavorful and crunchy, and the salsa corn sticks tied the entire mix together with a nice kick of spice. I thought the corn sticks were a little to corn-y but they were good.
Overall this mix : love

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Mississippi BBQ pistachios : roasted pistachios with BBQ seasoning.

If I had to choose my favorite nut, it would be a toss up between cashews and pistachios. My only qualm with pistachios is that occasionally you will get one that tastes exceptionally gross. BBQ flavoring is not my first choice when it comes to food, and I dislike BBQ sauce all together which I’m sure is illegal in some portions of the United States, but these pistachios were the perfect amount of salty and smoky flavoring. I also learned a trick that seemed pretty ingenious for those pesky pistachios that are not open enough to crack open with your fingers – if you take a shell from a previous pistachio you can use the end to pry the other one open – so far I’ve had 100% success rate with this method.
Overall this mix : love

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Smoky Gazpacho Dip : smoky gazpacho relish with wholemeal crisp bread slices.

I will admit, I have never had gazpacho in my life, so I have no metric to measure this by. The gazpacho relish in my container was more of a gelatinous blob that was not very inviting at all. I am more of a dipper than a scooper when it comes to things like dips and salsas, so I dipped one of the bread slices into the gazpacho gingerly and took a bite – no thank you. When I read what gazpacho was made of, it sounds like it would be pretty good, but the smoke flavor was far too overpowering to be enjoyable for my liking.
Overall this mix : trash

*please note that this post is my own opinion (like all other posts) and was not paid or compensated with goods from Graze for this post.

Graze Box – Number 1

Hey guys! Have any of you ever heard of Graze? It originally started in the UK and has been slowly branching out into the USA on an invite basis. The basic concept is that for $5 they will send you a mailbox sized box full of 4 different snacks every other week. There are over 80 different options to choose from and they are adding more.

Graze uses the following scale to rate how often they should send you something: trash, try, like, love. One of my New Years resolutions goals is to try new foods, so when I was picking out stuff I really made myself select try on more foods than I normally would.

Because of the amount of food, I will review the treats in a little bit different format than I normally do. Let’a go!

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The outside packaging is no frills.

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My first delivery had a nice mixture of different types of treats that Graze will send you.

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Nacho Libre : salsa almonds, cheesy sombreros, jumbo chili corn

This snack mix was really good. The almonds had a nice coating of spice and the cheesy sombreros are light and crunchy. The jumbo chili corn were seriously on steroids, move over Corn Nuts.
Overall this mix : love

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Billionaires Shortbread : Belgian milk chocolate, almonds, cranberries, fudge

I will admit, I was a little leery of the cranberries in this mix. I really like cranberry flavored things, but I don’t like the texture of raisins, so I was cautious. The Belgian milk chocolate was crazy good. I found the almonds to be a bit disappointing because they were completely plain, which made them slightly bland, not to mention due to the lack of skins on the almonds, they were squeaky on my teeth. The tiny fudge cubes were really yummy. Ready for my feelings on the cranberries? YUM. They were really good and not raisin-y at all.
Overall this mix : love

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Inspired by Jaffa Cake : Belgian dark chocolate, orange raisins, roasted hazelnuts

Up until a few minutes ago, I had no idea what a Jaffa cake was. After a little google-fu I found out its a sponge cookie with a layer of orange jam with a coating of chocolate. I think had I known this I might have passed on this mix, but hey, what’s the harm in trying.

As before, the chocolate is very good. The hazelnuts have the same problem as the almonds did in the Billionaires shortbread, lack of roasting, not to mention they really picked up the orange flavor. The orange raisins? I can’t. I tried, I really tried. Nope. Not only do I not like raisins, I don’t care for oranges.
Overall this mix : trash

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Summer Berry Compote : berry compote with wholemeal shortbread dippers

I was most excited to try this one in the box. Shortest review yet? SO GOOD. The compote was sweet and tart and the shortbread was exceptionally good.
Overall this mix : LOVE

*please note that this post is my own opinion (like all other posts) and was not paid or compensated with goods from Graze for this post.

Emerald Breakfast On The Go! – S’mores Nut Blend

I am constantly searching for on the go breakfast food that I find somewhat enjoyable. Sure it is easy to grab a Poptart or a bagel, but I like to switch things up a bit. Being the chocolate lover that I am, I was pretty excited when I spotted these on the shelves at my local SaveMart. As I have mentioned in a few previous posts, almonds haven’t always been my favorite, but cocoa roasted? YES PLEASE.

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This mixture is comprised of the following items:

  • cocoa roasted almonds
  • chocolate candies
  • coconut flakes
  • granola bites
  • “marshmallows”
  • honey roasted peanuts
  • graham squares

For 100 calories you get a pretty nice sized baggie of treats. The cocoa roasted almonds have a nice subtle chocolate flavor to them. The chocolate candies taste kind of like a M&M knock off that you would find in most generic store trail mixes. I’m not overly sure where the coconut flakes fit into this mixture but they are okay. I could live without them. The granola bites are pretty good, it has a nice honey flavoring that compliments the rest of the mix.

I am not sure what the marshmallows are. They have the consistency of Play-Doh, but taste good – not at all what I would expect from a marshmallow. The honey roasted peanuts are probably one of my favorite parts. They are exceptionally generous with the candy coating on the outside. The graham squares tie the whole mix together but occasionally can be a bit hard. (That’s what she said)

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Texture: 3/5 - The overall texture of the mix is okay. I tend to be a bit OCD and eat all of each individual item at a time. My least favorite of the mix is the coconut, its like eating a pencil shaving (which I have never done, so it might not be like eating a pencil shaving)
Smell: 5/5 – This mix has a nice nutty, sweet, slightly chocolaty smell to it.
Appearance: 3/5 - This isn’t the prettiest of mixes out there, but it gets the job done.
Taste: 4/5 – I really enjoy this breakfast mix. It is something that I would buy over and over again to add to my morning rotation. Sometimes you really crave the sweetness factor, and this blend does it well without feeling like you ate a spoonful of sugar.

Planters Snack Mix – Bold, Original, and Sweet & Salty

Hello hello! The weather here in Northern California has been rainy and windy and has done nothing more than make me want to stay in bed all day. When I woke up this morning and saw a text from my boss telling me not to come in today, I did what any girl would do in my situation. I curled back up in bed and cat napped my day away watching Private Practice on Netflix.

I’ve had this Planters Snack Mix in my stash for quite some time, but it kept getting bumped by various holiday treats. Please enjoy this 3 part rainy day review.

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I started with the Bold flavor. The mix consists of wheat squares, almonds, peanuts, sesame sticks, small bread cracker crouton things (scientific term), pretzels, and Corn Nuts? Sadly because Planters is late to the snack mix game, I couldn’t help but subconsciously compare these to Chex Mix. The flavor was mostly smoky, slightly spicy, and salty. I could not put my finger on exactly what flavors make up this mix but it wasn’t too bad. I however remember how much I do not like Corn Nuts. I have been spoiled by Blue Diamond and Emerald by their giant almonds as the ones in this mix were barely bigger than their peanut counterpart.

Next up was the Original flavor. What is Original flavor anyways? Upon first bite, it didn’t taste like the mix had any seasoning at all. After giving the bag a little shake, I noticed that it had a little salt to it but not much more. This mix also ditched the Corn Nuts. I wish that there was a more equal mix of ingredients, as this mix was mostly comprised of those little mini toast deals (also a scientific term). It was okay, if you only wanted a handful, past that its rather bland.

Lastly, the Sweet & Salty mix. This was made up of the same components as the Original mix. In fact, I think they just took the Original mix and dumped a huge helping of sugar and a little bit of cinnamon on it. Sadly the salty part of this duo has gone into hiding. I also did not like the sesame sticks in this mix coated with the sugar mixture. Not tasty at all.

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Texture:

  • Bold: 3/5 – Because all of the elements in this mix are crunchy, it makes for a nice snacking experience. The flavoring does not add anything to the texture.
  • Original: 3/5 – (see above)
  • Sweet & Salty: 3/5 – (see above)

Smell: -

  • Bold: 3/5 - You can definitely smell the slight spiciness when you open the bag.
  • Original: 1/5 – The bag was practically devoid of any sort of smell, it was weird.
  • Sweet & Salty: 3/5 – There was a hint of sweetness to the bag when opened.

Appearance: -

  • Bold: 3/5 – The Bold offering was covered in little black specks of flavoring, which would almost lead you to believe that it is peppery, which it is not.
  • Original: 2/5 – Nothing special about the Original flavor, all of the elements looked like they were in their raw form.
  • Sweet & Salty: 3/5 – On the Sweet & Salty mix, you could see the white specks covering the majority of the mix, which one can only assume was some sort of sugar type material. I hope.

Taste:-

  • Bold: 2/5 – I did not overly enjoy the flavor chosen for the Bold mixture. The only way I could describe it would be that it kind of tastes like how BO smells. Yep, that good.
  • Original: 2.5/5 – The Original mix mostly tasted like you took all of the ingredients and poured them together, sprinkled a little salt and called it a day. It is not bad, but it is not spectacular. If you are looking for something with flavor, go for a bag of regular Chex Mix instead.
  • Sweet & Salty: 2.5/5 – Despite my love for overly sweet things, this mix does it in all the wrong ways. I especially did not care for the sesame sticks (in any of the mixes but in this one mostly) as they just tasted like greasy sweet… things. This mix may be somewhat redeemable if you combined it with the Original flavor.

If I had to rate these in order of enjoyment, 1. Original 2. Sweet & Salty 3. Bold

Blue Diamond Almonds – Rosemary & Black Pepper

Good evening! Somehow I lost some time in the last two days and thought it was later in the week than it was. Color me disappointed when I finally consulted my phone and saw that it was only Tuesday. Have you all put your Christmas decorations up yet? I helped hang some lights yesterday and nearly blew myself across the street, but that’s a story for another day.

I don’t know if you noticed but I’m a snacker. I honestly prefer to eat little bits here and there all day instead of heavy meals that do nothing but put me into a food induced coma. Despite some of the crap I eat and share with you on here, I do attempt to try and pick healthier foods to snack on. One recent addiction has been almonds.

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I haven’t always loved almonds. I would say its only been in the last 6 months that I have really given them a chance. I don’t really find plain almonds all that appealing so I am glad that they are releasing lots of different flavors to keep things interesting.

When I saw these at Target I got instant flashbacks to one of my favorite chips EVER, Archer Farms Baked Rosemary & Garlic chips. Rosemary is not something that I would normally consider to be a delicious chip topping, but good grief, I think I was keeping that flavor or chips on the shelves with how many bags I was buying. Rosemary and black pepper? I’m in.

When I cracked this tin of almonds open, the first thing I smelled was black pepper with a slight hint of rosemary. I thought for sure that since rosemary is such a potent spice that it would overpower things but that wasn’t the case at all. The almonds had a hefty even coating on the outside, ensuring that each almond is flavorful. When you first bite into the almond you encounter the taste of rosemary but it is quickly steamrolled by black pepper. These could have just been called Black Pepper Almonds. Because of the coating on the outside it manages to find its way into every nook & cranny of your mouth, leaving you with a really strong pepper taste. These taste good, but I wish there was more of a balance in the flavor.

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Texture: 3/5 – The outside coating make these a tad gritty but they have a nice crunch, which is expected from an almond.

Smell: 4/5 – The rosemary is slightly noticeable when smelling these but you mostly smell the pepper.

Appearance: 3.5/5 – There is no shorts me of visible flavoring on these almonds.

Taste: 3.5/5- My overall verdict on these is that they are good. If you do not like strong pepper flavoring you should pass on these because that is the main flavoring that you will taste in these. The only thing that I find disappointing is that the flavoring is so overpowering that I could only eat a half-dozen or so before I was just overwhelmed with the strong flavor. If Blue Diamond could tone down the pepper a bit and turn up the rosemary, I feel like they would have a home run on their hands.

Blue Diamond Almonds – Bold Lime ‘n Chili

Happy Thanksgiving Eve Eve… if that’s even a thing. Are you guys as excited about Thanksgiving dinner as I am? I honestly feel like a kid counting down to Christmas. I think its because I am longing for a home cooked meal like no other.

Tonight I gave these Blue Diamond Almonds – Bold Lime n’ Chili a go. I am not overly sure what prompted me to grab these from my stash, as I already felt like I was breathing fire from the Tapatio smothered tacos I had at lunch today. And if you don’t love Tapatio, well, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

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I mentioned a while back that almonds and I have not always been friends. There was just something about them that I could not palate. I don’t know if it was the pointy ends, the weird skin or the texture, but it wasn’t until this year that I decided that almonds and I could give it another go. Now I am slightly obsessed. I enjoy spicy foods or foods with bold flavors. I also really enjoy lime flavored things, so these almonds seemed right up my alley. These were picked up at Walgreen’s on a late night snack run, and ran a whopping $4.00 for this measly tin.

Upon popping the tin open, I was immediately slapped in the face with the lime smell. There was also no shortage of flavor coating on these bad boys. I popped a few in my mouth and instantly tasted the lime, but where was the chili? The chili flavoring in these is rather subdued and honestly only brings a smidgen of heat to the almond. The lime however is very bold and is a nice compliment to the almond flavor. I was expecting more of a spice with these due to the mass quantity of visible flavoring, but honestly all I could taste was lime.

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Texture: 4/5 – These almonds have the standard texture that we are all used to. The flavor coating on the outside dissolves immediately in your mouth, which does not leave a gritty taste like I would have expected it to.

Smell: 4/5 – The lime flavoring is very pungent upon opening the tin of almonds. They smell delicious but sadly the smell is stronger than the taste.

Appearance: 3/5 – You definitely know what you’re getting into by the looks of these almonds. But at the same time, they also look like you maybe dropped them under the refrigerator and put them back in the tin. You decide.

Taste: 3.5/5 – These almonds were tasty, but they were not outstanding. I was really hoping for more heat from the chili, but was honestly just met with a lime almond, which is a combination that I would have never would have thought would work. They are good, and would be nice as a change up kind of snack in your desk drawer. The flavor is rather dominating which would keep me from consuming the entire thing. (Unlike the Cinnamon Roast AlmondsYUM!)

Emerald – Cinnamon Roast Almonds

I really suck at breakfast. I like to sleep in until the last possible second and rarely ever sit down for a bowl of cereal or toasted bagel. I am constantly searching for things that are easy to eat on the go, something that I can grab and snack on on my almost 40 mile drive to work. Sure I could opt for a Poptart, but I am ingesting 400 calories and crazy amounts of sugar first thing in the morning, which leads to a lovely crash midday. It wasn’t until recently that I started enjoying almonds. Are there any foods that you just started liking out of the blue? When the snack food fairy brought these home, I knew that they would be a breakfast staple for me.

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Emerald has been kicking it into high gear with their new flavors. I recently reviewed the dark chocolate and peanut butter mix and the peanut butter and jelly mix. I’ve seen tons of different flavors on the shelf including chile lime, pumpkin spice, rosemary, etc. Cinnamon roast almonds don’t seem like that far of a stretch, it’s not like they are reinventing the wheel here, but surprisingly not all over the market. These come in a larger container as well as the 100 calorie packs for those of us who either are counting calories, enjoy forced portion control, or are just looking for a small snack. I enjoy a breakfast blend from Emerald for breakfast (imagine that!) often which includes cocoa roasted almonds – which I don’t find exceedingly good. They taste good, but they are not incredible. I was expecting the cinnamon roast almonds to follow suit. Instead I was greeted with almonds coated in cinnamon and sugar (ala Cinnamon Toast Crunch) and they had a nice roasted flavor. There is no shortage of coating as there is about half a teaspoon of coating in the bottom of the bag. I made the mistake of dumping this into my mouth and was overwhelmed with cinnamon and a little salt, which I did not taste while actually eating the almonds. Kind of a weird taste – I vote, don’t follow my lead and chuck the cinnamon dust.

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Texture: 3/5 – These have the texture of your run of the mill almond. The coating on the outside makes for a little more grit but it also helps give the almond a little more crunch.

Smell: 4/5 – These have an intense cinnamon aroma.

Appearance: 3/5 – Nothing overly exciting about these almonds. The outside coating definitely lets you know what you’re getting into.

Taste: 5/5 – These are nothing short of delicious. The spice from the cinnamon mixed with the sugar accompanies the almond flavor quite nice. These make a delicious morning treat or after lunch snack. Check them out – you won’t regret it!

Emerald Sweet & Salty Nut Mix – Peanut Butter & Jelly and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter

Good evening foodies! I do apologize for the late post today, but I was out at the biggest Halloween party in Sacramento last night as part of the medical staff on hand, and didn’t roll into bed until 4:30 this morning. To add insult to injury, I woke up with a lovely migraine to boot. Luckily I’m feeling better and can bring you a brand spankin’ new review.

Apparently it was go nuts week with nut manufacturers. This week I have sampled more flavors of nuts that I have ever tasted in my entire life. This is starting to sound pornographic. Anywho, I knew I had to try the Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter & Jelly Sweet & Salty mixes from Emerald because I know they are destined for the clearance aisles. I have been a cashew lover my whole life, followed closely by my love of peanuts. It wasn’t until this past year that I started to enjoy almonds, and I must admit, pecans are not so tasty in my book. It wasn’t until I got to my car after picking these up at Target that I noticed that the Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter mix had pecans in it. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about trying the pecans. But what would a review be if I skipped over part of it?!

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First up are the Peanut Butter & Jelly. I definitely had my apprehensions about this flavor. The picture of the fruit coated almond on the front looked more gelatinous than coated, which I was convinced I was going to be bitting some sort squishy coated almond. Yuck. I also thought for sure that the regular almonds in the mix would have the peanut butter flavor incorporated, but they did not. There are 3 different nuts in this mix:

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• Honey Roasted Peanuts – I LOVE honey roasted peanuts, especially the Frito-Lay brand that you can get 2/$1. I was excited to try the peanuts in this mix but honestly I missed the honey roasted taste. If anything they were just candied and brought a little sweetness to the peanut flavor.

• Plain Almonds – I thought for sure that the plain almonds would be where Emerald brought in the salty factor, but they were completely plain. I’m not overly sure what their purpose in this mix was supposed to serve. If I want plain almonds, I will just buy them.

• Fruit Coated Almonds – The moment of truth, fruit coated almonds. They actually had a hard candy exterior, not a jelly like one that I was concerned about. The first one I tasted was not good. I tried a few more and decided I thought they were rather uninspiring. I feel the fruit flavor is really lacking and all you get is a crunch from the candy and a mild tart flavor from what I’m assuming is raspberry.

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One of these things is not like the other!

Now for an entire handful all together. Meh. I can see what they are trying to do, but I feel like they fell a little short. Better luck next time with these, Emerald.

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Now onto the Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter Sweet & Salty mix. This flavor profile seemed a lot safer than the other. Honestly I think Emerald should have lead with this one, then introduced the PB&J later, like some sort of series. Peanut butter and chocolate were meant for each other, I don’t care what anyone says. These also contain 3 different nuts.

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• Honey Roasted Peanuts – see above! :) Though I feel that they work better in this mix.

• Peanut Butter Pecans – The flavoring on these are a bit inconsistent. They taste like candied brown sugar and peanut butter. They are SO delicious.

• Dark Chocolate Almonds – These are chocolate roasted vs. coated. The chocolate flavoring is subtle but good.

A handful of all of these together are rather tasty. I opted to have them as dessert tonight, that’s how yummy they are.

Texture: 4/5 – The coatings on the nuts add a nice crunch to the mixture.

Smell: 3/5 – Neither of these have a very strong smell upon opening.

Appearance: 2/4: – The coated nuts look nothing like the pictures on the outside of the container. They aren’t the most appealing looking.

Taste: 3.5/5 – The PB&J flavor is lack luster. I wouldn’t buy these again. The chocolate peanut butter flavor on the other hand are completely addicting. Yum!