April 17, 2012

Boulder’s Snackle Mouth: A Delicious Gluten-Free Granola Snack

By Evan Sandsmark -  

Let us begin by correcting the title we just wrote: Snackle Mouth, a Boulder company that recently released a line of delicious and healthy granola snacks, is technically not a gluten-free operation. In order to achieve this designation, a food producer needs to use only certifiably gluten-free ingredients in its products, meaning these ingredients were farmed, handled, and processed in such a way that guarantees that no cross-contamination took place. The products of Snackle Mouth do not meet this stringent requirement, and to the company’s credit they make no claim to the contrary. However, they do produce a snack that does not in itself contain wheat or any other gluten-containing grain (although, as implied, gluten may be inadvertently added to the snack because it is not produced with gluten-free equipment), so they should be safe to eat if you merely have a gluten sensitivity, but of course the snack should be avoided if your body cannot properly digest even trace amounts of gluten. Also, it’s important to note that generally oats may be considered suspect in terms of cross-contamination unless they are certified to be gluten free.

With the essential information out of the way, we can now move on to the business of reviewing the product, of which we have nothing but good things to say, starting with the product’s packaging. Snackle Mouth makes three different products – Almond Berry, Almond Pecan Maple, and Peanut Cranberry – and each comes in its own artfully designed box. The front of the packages feature clown-like faces that appear to belong to circus performers. The mouth of the face is wide open, and in the gap between the smiling rows of teeth is “Snackle Mouth.” (haha) On top of the box, where you open it, is the parted hair of the clown(ish) person. The images are almost disturbingly vivid, or at least this is the effect they start to have after staring at the packages for several minutes trying to come up with a suitable way to describe them. You probably shouldn’t leave a box on your young child’s nightstand before they go to bed, for instance. Disturbing or not, the boxes are certainly far more eye-catching than those used for your average snack, and they stand out when you are looking for Snackle Mouth in a grocery store. (For a list of places you can get Snackle Mouth in Boulder, see below.)

Another cool thing about the packaging is that all the ingredients are listed very clearly on the side of box (as opposed to merely in small print in the “Nutrition Facts” box). Clearly Snackle Mouth is proud, as they should be, of what their products contain, which is a combination of natural and organic ingredients that are quite good for you. For example, Snackle Mouth doesn’t use refined sugar in their products, but instead use organic blue agave and brown rice syrup. The products also contain several ingredients that are naturally good for you, like oats, almonds, and dried fruits.

As for the snack itself, it is delicious, and also highly unique. When thinking about this review, we tried to come up with some comparison to another product that is more widely known, but we honestly can’t think of anything that is all that similar. The snack is (very accurately) billed as “granola nut clusters.” The clusters range in size, shape, and composition – some have more granola than nuts and dried fruit, and vice versa – so not all clusters are created equal, but they are all good. Obviously, granola, nuts, and dried fruits are familiar enough foods, but Snackle Mouth is really its own thing – it’s a variety of snack onto itself, if you will. Because of the granola, Snackle Mouth products kind of taste like a cereal you might find in a health food store, but the nuts (almonds, peanuts, or pecans, depending on the type you choose) complicate this view, as nuts do not play such a prominent role in any cereals we’ve ever tried. Moreover, you wouldn’t want to mix Snackle Mouth’s products with milk, which also distinguishes them from cereal. By extension, eating Snackle Mouth doesn’t feel like eating dry cereal because the latter experience often seems unsatisfying – you want milk to complete the cereal, but this isn’t the type of thought you’d have with Snackle Mouth. All of this is a long way of saying we don’t really have a good way of describing these products. They taste like, well, granola nut clusters.

But they do have a taste, one that, not surprisingly, is clearly determined by the main ingredients used to make them. Of the three products available, we bought two: the Peanut Cranberry and the Almond Pecan Maple. Both taste fairly similar because they are made with largely the same ingredients, and granola plays the dominate role in each type of Snackle Mouth, but they are definitely distinct products. In addition to the clear flavor of granola, the Peanut Cranberry tastes as its marquee ingredients imply it ought to: like peanuts and cranberry (or dried cranberry, more precisely). (It also tastes a lot like peanut butter, even though no peanut butter is actually contained in the product.) The main ingredients of the Peanut Cranberry are what distinguishes it from the Almond Pecan Maple, which of course tastes of almonds, pecans, and maple. Dried cranberries are also in the Almond Pecan Maple, as are raisins, and both of these come through as you eat your way through the box.

In our final analysis, we must confess a preference for the Almond Pecan Maple, but this is only because we like almonds and pecans more than peanuts, and the flavor of maple that hangs in the background of every bite of the Almond Pecan Snackle Mouth is more to our liking than the peanut butter taste that permeates the Peanut Cranberry. However, we certainly enjoyed both and would happily eat another box of either, so don’t take our preference for one as an indictment of the other. Both are quality, healthy snacks that taste great – they are also perfect on-the-go snacks – and we suspect the same can be said of the Almond Berry. Naturally, we recommend that you buy the version of the product that contains the ingredients you like most.

Snackle Mouth can be found at all the Whole Foods Markets in Boulder, Lucky’s in North Boulder, and Lolita’s in West Boulder. It will also be available at the Boulder Farmer’s Market soon, and the snack can be ordered online. Snackle Mouth is also nationally distributed, with more locations being added every day, so you might be able to find these excellent granola nut clusters no matter where you are in the country.

To find out more information about Snackle Mouth, check out their well-designed website here:

http://snacklemouth.com/

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