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nuts

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.

March 8, 2013
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Blue Diamond Almonds – Rosemary & Black Pepper

Posted in Nuts

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.

November 27, 2012
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Emerald – Cinnamon Roast Almonds

Posted in Nuts

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!

November 15, 2012
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