I’m not much of a snacker, but as you’re well aware it’s often hard to grab something quick and easy when you’re gluten free. I found myself standing on the sidelines of my daughter’s soccer game a few months back, blood sugar plummeting, when my friend whipped a bag of Sahale snacks out of her purse. Luckily it was one of the small bags, since I devoured the whole thing! That first taste (Soledad) sparked my interest in exploring Sahale’s other products.
Sahale Snacks offers three lines of nut mixes: Nut Blends, Glazed Nuts, and Seasoned Nuts, all produced in a certified gluten-free facility. Since they’re the perfect snack to keep on-hand (the handy resealable bags make sense for my car, purse, desk drawer), I’ve managed to work my way through the entire product line. My opinions vary pretty widely, as follows:
Nut Blends: I absolutely love the nut blends. They’re sweet, salty, and savory all at once with perfectly balanced flavors. Some have a bit of heat, others convey a spark of tartness, but what strikes me most is the downright interesting combinations of ingredients. The choices include: Soledad (almonds, dried apples, flax, balsamic), Valdosta (pecans, dried cranberries, black pepper, orange peel), Ksar (pistachios, pumpkin seeds, figs, sesame seeds, harissa), and Sing Buri (cashews, dried pineapple, peanuts, lemongrass, chiles). (Each blend also contains salt and some form of sweetener, but I’m cutting to the chase.) Sahale has successfully developed a truly unique and delicious line with these nut blends. Choosing a favorite is nearly impossible, but I may go with Valdosta. So good!
Seasoned Nuts: The ingredient lists in the nut blends (above) were short, sweet, and to the point. The seasoned nuts veer a little off that path. Not only are the ingredient lists significantly longer because of all the seasonings, but they contain other allergens such as dairy and soy. (Note: this is not a problem per se, I’m just pointing it out.) The Seasoned Nuts family includes Barbecue Almonds, Southwest Cashews, and Tuscan Almonds. For my taste buds, these nuts were just over seasoned. I appreciated their lack of sweetness, but the dry spice blends immediately assaulted my palate on the front end and then lingered on and on. If you know you like this kind of aggressive seasoning (think Doritos), however, you’ll probably be a big fan.
Glazed Nuts: What doesn’t sound appealing about Almonds with Cranberries, Honey, and Sea Salt or Cashews with Pomegranate and Vanilla? I expected to enjoy the glazed nuts quite a bit, but these were my least favorites of the bunch. The predominate taste was sweetness; the nuts tasted flat–almost artificial–without even a trace of salt for balance. Additionally, the ingredient lists contained more than six different types of sweetener (sugar, cane juice, honey powder, tapioca syrup, brown sugar, honey) in each blend! Why?
Given that I’m such a fan (!) of the Nut Blends, I admit to being surprised by my lack of enthusiasm for the other two product lines. If I’m not mistaken, the Nut Blends were Sahale Snacks first line. They started out with a group of ingenious blends that were straightforward, simple, and delicious. In my opinion, I feel like their later products have fallen short: more ingredients, more sweeteners, and more complicated yet with lackluster results. What are your thoughts?