Friday, January 03, 2014

Snyder's of Hanover

As you know, I love snack foods.  Whenever I visit my family, my mother always has a variety of pretzels around, usually for use as part of Chex mix.  And she always buys Snyder's of Hanover brand.

Over the year's, I've sampled a large number of Snyder's of Hanover's offerings, although in looking at their website now, I realize they make far more products than I realized.  They are most known for pretzels, which come in assorted shapes and seasonings, but they also apparently make chips and salsa.

The pretzels are pretty much as generic as can be, standard bagged pretzels, although they do come up with some interesting flavors.  I won't ever seek them out on my own, but when I'm home, you know I can't resist ...

Traditional Pretzels

The most classic product made by Snyder's is traditional pretzels, offered in just about every shape and size, including mini pretzels, sticks, rods, snaps, and of course, holiday shapes.  Snaps are the checkerboard shaped ones, which are the best for use in Chex Mix in my opinion, since the waffle shape helps trap extra seasoning!

These pretzels are all about the same, not offensive, slightly buttery, nice and shiny, some salt.  Nothing remarkable, but not bad.

Seasoned Sourdough Nibblers

For interesting flavors, go for the Nibblers. These are chunks of their sourdough pretzels, coated with seasonings.

I only have notes on one variety that I've tried, the Honey Mustard & Onion: The flavor coating on these was awesome.  The pretzels were crunchy.  I was addicted.   But not because I loved them.  Rather, I was addicted because I wanted MORE of the coating.  The ratio of pretzel to coating was just off for me.  But then again, I did keep eating them, so perhaps they did create a good product.

Flavored Pretzel Pieces

Luckily for me, Snyder's seems to have realized that their coating is delicious, and figured out a way to expose more surface area of the pretzels.  They also offer flavored "Pretzel Pieces".  Just like the Nibblers, they are made from sourdough pretzel, but are just little twists and chunks, with lots of exposed edges to soak up the flavor.  By far my favorite of the products I've tried, as the pretzel: coating ratio is perfect!

The pieces come in a slew of flavors, ranging from savory cheddar cheese or spicy jalapeno, to sweet and salty salted caramel or s'mores, to "50% less fat" varieties, and finally, peanut butter filled.
Honey Mustard & Onion.
Just like the Nibblers, I liked the slightly sweet, flavorful, salty coating. Do they really taste like honey mustard or onion? Nah. But I get addicted, even more so with the the pieces than the nibblers. I do find that I always want them to be better than they are. As single pieces, they still just aren't that great. They are much better by the handful. Beware though, I've found that eating too many of these in one sitting really easily causes a stomach ache. And it is far, far too easy to eat too many of these!
Hot Buffalo Wing.
The hot buffalo wing are almost awesome.  The flavor is intense.  And I like it ... about half the time I try them.  The other half of the time, I find the flavor repulsive.  I really can't explain why I find them so nasty sometimes, when other times, I'm so close to loving them.

The flavor is ...  I guess buffalo hot wing.  There is some garlic and cayenne flavors that come out.  And of course, MSG.  They always leave my fingers bright orange.

Like the honey mustard & onion, they aren't great when you just eat one or two, but really require a big handful to get addicting.  And then they do get addicting.  The assorted sized pieces range from fairly large to tiny little bits.  The tiny bits are usually my favorites, as they are just absolutely coated in seasoning.

I always want to love these more than I do, but, like I said, so close to good.

They also come packaged as "Flavor Doubles" with Buttermilk Ranch.

These were quite interesting.  The Hot Buffalo Wing and Buttermilk Ranch flavors are also each sold separately, but they also mix them in a bag together, as "Flavor Doubles".  At first I didn't realize that there were two distinct flavors in the bag, I just thought each piece was supposed to be both ranch and buffalo, and that some were more or less coated than others.  After a few handfuls, I realize that the very orange ones were buffalo wing, and the duller ones were ranch.  The ranch really didn't taste much like anything else "ranch" flavored I've had.  It was a very muted flavor, probably due to being mixed in with the hot buffalo ones?  The buffalo were good, and addicting, but even more so than the Honey Mustard & Onion, you really had to be careful not to overdo it.  I can't even tell you how many times I ate too many handfuls of these and later regretted it.  I'm not sure what is in these things, but they really give a stomach ache!

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More Varieties
  • Cheddar Cheese: Not my favorite of the flavors, slightly cheesy, but decent.  I'd eat them again, but wouldn't pick if given a choice.
  • Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper: Well, these tasted like pepper.  Very strongly of pepper.  I didn't like them at all, but if you like the idea of peppery pretzels, check them out.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Muffins from Munchery

The past few Mondays, I've reviewed meals from Munchery, a meal delivery service in San Francisco.  Since they only deliver in the evenings,  I've generally ordered from Munchery for dinner, but they also make great desserts, and we even got our Thanksgiving feast from Munchery.  But they also have muffins.  And you know how much I love baked goods.

I've had my eyes on these muffins since they first appeared on the menu.  They are one of the highest rated dishes on Munchery, averaging 5 stars!  Everyone raves about them.  And Ojan loves blueberry muffins, so they sounded perfect.  But, I didn't want to order *just* muffins for delivery, as that feels a little silly.  So, the moment I saw that they were on the menu the same day we ordered our Thanksgiving feast, I quickly added them.

Since I've reviewed Munchery many times before, I'll skip all of the general details, but if you haven't checked it out already, I highly recommend it - perfect for weeknight easy meals, and so, so much better than standard delivery.  If you use my invite link, you'll even get $20 off your first order.

While I wouldn't order from Munchery just to get muffins, they are perfect for adding to a dinner order and enjoying for breakfast the next day!
Blueberry Bran Muffin.  $2.95.
The muffins are made by Chef Emily Guzzardi.

I was amazed when I pulled the muffin out of the box - it was a hefty muffin!  Not only was large in size, particularly in diameter (although fairly short), but it was also incredibly dense.

I planned to save it for breakfast, but I couldn't resist trying a bite (ok, perhaps two) the night I received it.  It was very moist, almost a bit gummy on top however.  The slight chew from the whole grains and wheat bran made it texturally interesting to eat.  It wasn't overly sweet, not one of those cakes masquerading as a muffin.  There was sweetness, but it stayed on the healthier, not-unreasonable-for-breakfast side of the spectrum.  My very first tasting note is that I tasted molasses, which I confirmed when I later read the description.  The molasses flavor was strong, and such a more interesting sweetness than standard sugar.  And of course, there were blueberries.  The berries were plump berries, large size, generously distributed.  Very good.

The next morning I had the rest, and warmed it up in the toaster oven.  I liked it even more warm, and even more once I slathered on some butter.  I again loved how it wasn't too sweet, it was hearty tasting, and really did the blueberries justice.  A healthy but satisfying start to my day, it left me filled up easily until lunch.

I shared some bites with Ojan, who loves blueberry muffins, but dislikes bran, and he enjoyed it as well.  He didn't care for it cold, but exclaimed several times how much better it was once warm.

Price was about standard for getting a bakery, so I see this as a great add-on whenever ordering from Munchery.  I think they'd freeze well too, so could be worth ordering a few at a time to pull out whenever the muffin mood strikes!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bissinger's Chocolate

Bissinger’s is a chocolate maker with quite the history, as in, they have their roots in 17th Century France.  They make an assortment of bars, chocolate, caramels, etc, however my exposure is quite limited, as I just received a small box of plain dark chocolate for Christmas.  It was quite good, so I look forward to sometime trying more of their selections.
Dark Chocolate.
This was fairly complex, bitter yet with some fruit notes.  Very solid, thick chunk, making it a bit hard to bite into.  But overall, quite good.

Subsequent tasting: Really complex, smooth, nice dark chocolate.  I'd gladly eat more of these!