Friday, January 09, 2015

Worthy Granola

I've been reviewing a slew of granola bars lately, but it has been a while since I reviewed regular old granola.  I went through a phase where I tried tons of granola, making yogurt, fruit, and granola parfaits regularly.  And then I stopped, mostly because I just never found granola I cared for.  I know good granola exists, but somehow, I wasn't finding it.  Some, like the ones I tried from Love Grown Foods, had bitter flaxseed that I didn't care for.  Others, like the peanut butter granola from Erin Baker's Granola sounded like they'd be delicious, but failed to deliver.  Honestly, the best I found was  the dessert-like granola from Target's house brand, Archer Farms, or the Udi's granola included in my meal on Virgin America.

But I was given a sample of Worthy Granola by a co-worker.  I read the label: organic, non-GMO, blah blah blah.  I had no expectations.

It turned out to be the best granola I've ever had.

Worthy Granola is made locally here in San Francisco, and most of the ingredients are California-grown as well, including TCHO chocolate.  You can purchase online through Good Eggs, or find it at a few establishments around town.  I also met the owner at an artisan's market once.  She only makes two varieties of granola, but both are phenomenal.  If you ever find Worthy Granola, I highly recommend trying it!
Original Love Granola.
The signature, and original, granola is called "Original Love", made with the standard players like rolled oats, whole almonds, raisins, and chunks of walnuts.  I really appreciated the extra crunch from the well-toasted nuts, but I'm always pretty meh about raisins.  These however were at least nice and plump, not little hard pellets like they sometimes can be.

The magic in Worthy Granola is in the additional ingredients in the mix, like generous size coconut flakes and pumpkin seeds.  Maybe it is just this time of year, but the pumpkin seeds were a unique ingredient that I really enjoyed.

But the true "love" in this granola is the seasoning.  Good base ingredients only get you so far, what makes this granola insanely addicting is just how delicious it is.  Sweetened with maple syrup and blackstrap molasses, both of which give a more complex sweetness than standard granola.  And then there is a tang from apple cider vinegar.  The final touch?  Pink mineral salt.  That is what kicks the granola over the top.  The salt level is high.  Some would say it requires a "chef's palette" to appreciate it.  But to me, it is perfect.

This is the best granola I've ever had.  Interestingly, I generally prefer to have larger clumps in my granola, and this has none, but the flavors are just so amazing that I'm willing to overlook that.  I enjoy it best just by the handful alongside a morning coffee, but I'm sure it is great in other applications too.  I just never get that far.  The moment the bag is opened, it is devoured.

Side note: the granola is normally distributed in glass jars, but since I had samples, it came in bags instead.
Cocoa Raspberry Love.
Worthy Granola now makes a second flavor: Cocoa Raspberry Love.

The ingredients list is a bit long, but nothing on there is scary: the same base of thick-cut rolled oats, almonds, dried coconut flakes, pure maple syrup, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, unsulfured blackstrap molasses, coconut sugar, raw apple cider vinegar, and unrefined pink mineral salt, plus additional freeze-dried raspberries, roasted TCHO cocoa nibs, and a blend of 66% and 84% TCHO chocolate.

I loved this flavor too.  The cocoa nibs added a little bit of extra crunch and bitterness, and the oats were covered with a little chocolate, making the whole thing take on a pleasant chocolate flavor.  I think it would be awesome over ice cream.

But the real bursts of flavor came from two other ingredients: the freeze-dried raspberries and again, the pink mineral salt.  The raspberries were just shocking.  How did so much flavor get into these little morsels?  The combination of raspberry and chocolate made it seem so decadent.  But the real final punch was again the salt.  It came through in every bite, on the finish, in a way that just rounded everything out perfectly, left the flavor lingering, and made you want.

And more I want.  Now.
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