Friday, August 17, 2018

Graze, UK

I first tried Graze snacks a few years ago, when they attempted to make an inroads in the US, offering customized subscription snack boxes.  I found the concept fascinating, as I'm an avid snacker, but I quickly forgot about it.

But in the UK, Graze is unavoidable.  Not just the subscription boxes, but they are in every convenience store, every grocery store, just ... everywhere.  Sweet snacks, savory snacks, spicy snacks, nuts, seeds, veggies, gluten-free, high protein, high fiber, breakfast snacks, post-workout protein bites ... they have it all.  And the product line is constantly evolving.

I tried an assortment of snack boxes, and I must say, I see why they are successful.  Some of them were really, really good!

Dips & Dippers

I'm a big fan of dipping things.  Ok, I'm a fan of sauces in general.  And of crunchy chip-like things in general.  So, the Graze Dippers line seriously appeals.

They use all sorts of things for the dipping element, like soy rice crackers, flavored crackers, pretzels, shortbreads, even jerky.  Dips run the spectrum from savory onion marmalade to sweet white chocolate or toffee sauces.  Some sound incredible, like cinnamon pretzels with cookie butter dip!
Protein peanut butter dipper with baked hemp sticks.
"Wholesome pure peanut butter dip, served with lightly salted hemp pretzel sticks."

"Our thick and creamy peanut butter is made from whole peanuts and nothing else. It’s the ideal pairing for these baked hemp pretzel sticks, and each serving packs a whopping 5.9g of protein!"

I selected this for one of the components, and I assure you, it didn't have "hemp" in the name.

And yet ... the part I liked?  Yup, the hemp pretzel sticks.  They were crispy, slightly salty, and had a slightly hearty flavor from the hemp.  Perfectly tasty just to munch on, actually.

But the peanut butter.  That should be the star right?  I love peanut butter!  But ... this peanut butter I did not love.  And I'm not sure why.  It was creamy.  It was pure peanuts (no additives).  The flavor just wasn't great for me though.

Overall, I liked the dippers, discarded the peanut butter.

Savory

I'm usually one to rave about sweets, but, in the crunchy munchy snack department, savory certainly has its place.  And wow, graze has an amazing lineup.  They, uh, even have one called "smoky hotdog", which is supposed to recreate the flavors of a hotdog, through hickory smoked almonds, mustard breadsticks, and cheese croutons.
Seriously Spicy Thai Sriracha with chili and garlic:
Thai sriracha flavored peas / half popped corn / jumbo salted corn.
"We can't get enough of the deliciously satisfying spicy crunch in our spicy Thai sriracha peas. We've coated half-popped corn kernels and green peas in a Thai classic; sriracha sauce. Our sriracha is a perfect balance of medium heat from the chilli, garlic to round out the flavour, and sweetness to leave you wanting more."

Ok, this was awesome.

A mix of three different crunchy elements: coated peas, large corn kernels, and "kern pops", half-popped exploded kernels of corn.  Each was good, and I appreciated different aspects of each of them.  The jumbo corn was the crunchiest and saltiest, the kern pops the most jaggy and lightest, and the peas had the best coating.

The flavoring though is what set this apart, besides just being well selected crunchy munchies.  It tasted like ... well, Thai sriracha.  I laughed when I read the description and thought, "What does that even mean", and then realized that I had no better way to describe it either.  I found it fascinating how the spicy sriracha came through, but didn't overpower the chili and garlic.  And there was even a slight sweetness.

It was addicting.  It was satisfying.  It was spicy without overpowering.  It would make a great bar snack ... with nearly every bite, I kept thinking how good a cocktail or glass of red wine would be alongside.

It is a good thing this was portion controlled.

Sweet

Of course, I also tried some sweet ones.  Here too, there are fun concepts like "jam doughnut", recreated through raspberry fruit strings and vanilla sponge drops.
White Chocolate & Raspberry: white chocolate buttons / blanched almonds / whole hazelnuts / raspberry fruit strings.
"There’s nothing quite like the summer flavours of white chocolate and raspberry. This clever creation fuses the sweet taste of Belgian white chocolate with juicy raspberry fruit strings, mixed with the crunch of almonds and hazelnuts. This is a delicious dessert-flavoured snack you can feel good about enjoying!"

Graze is right, white chocolate and raspberry are a great combination, as are, it turns out, white chocolate and hazelnut.  This was actually a fairly enjoyable mix.

The almonds were the most boring, just plain, white, blanched almonds.  They were also the component with the largest quantity, although the raspberry fruit strings were close behind.   The strings were like little tiny chewy fruity chews, like a fruit roll up, made into strings.  Fine, but not super exciting.

What I really liked were the large white chocolate drops.  Creamy, smooth, sweet white chocolate.  And the hazelnuts, just standard hazelnuts, but crunchy and flavorful, great with the white chocolate.

Overall, enjoyable, and a nice balanced mix of sweet, crunchy, creamy, and, some protein from the nuts.

Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel: Pecans / Belgian milk chocolate and salted caramel buttons / pumpkin seeds / amaretti drops.
"We love our salted caramel buttons! Especially when they're combined with crisp pecans, amaretti drops and crunchy pumpkin seeds. This mixture perfectly satisfies any salted caramel craving, with the added bonus of vitamins, minerals and fibre!"

This was very good.

The pecans and pumpkin seeds were basic but good.  I liked the texture of the slightly chewy amaretti drops, basically like ity bity macaroons, good almond flavor.  The milk chocolate buttons were a surprise, filled with gooey caramel.  I thought they were just big chocolate drops, and that the salted caramel would show up elsewhere.  The chocolate was smooth and good too.

Overall, I liked every single component, and I liked them even more when all combined.  A satisfying snack, could very easily feel a bit like dessert (particularly with some whipped cream?), and was good alongside a cup of coffee.  Wining mix!

Flapjacks

"Our flapjacks come from family bakers in the Cotswolds, who make these oaty delights from a trusted 30 year old family recipe that’s been handed down through a discerning generation or two! They’re handmade from the very best rustic rolled British oats and baked in small batches so each one is crafted to our deliciously high standards."
Back in 2014 I had my first ever British style flapjack, and it happened to be from Graze, the US version.  I wasn't that excited by it, mostly because the flavor was so plain.  Since then, I've tried other brands of flapjacks, but not the real ones from the UK Graze.

Graze makes a slew of flapjacks, as they are their signature, and most popular, product.  They even make high protein varieties, or bite sized offerings.
Full On Fruity Flapjack.
"Whole British oats, juicy apricot, vine fruits & seeds."

"Our original fruity flapjack was our first foray into flapjacks. We wanted to develop a flapjack that packed a fruity punch with classic country flavours. We’ve squeezed 5 fruits into the recipe combined with seeds to give it a great texture."

I tried the "Full On Fruity" version, as it was shared with me, not because I would pick that variety.

Well, it wasn't boring like the previous kind I had tried.  It was indeed loaded with all the things - raisins, sultanas, and currants, bits of chopped dates and apricots, and sunflower seeds.  I guess, it was "full on fruity".  Which, I didn't care for.

The base soft sweetened oats were fine, but, this was just all about the dried fruit, and I am not a dried fruit lover.  The sunflower seeds were bitter.
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