Saturday, 22 September 2012
Several of my friends have been getting Graze boxes for ages, and I kept listening with envy to what they've got each week, but it's taken me a while to catch up with the trend and grab my free trial. I thought anyone else who's been dithering might appreciate a glimpse inside my first box.
Before you even order for the first time, you can rate items you think you'll love, and bin those you never want to receive (anything with bananas, in my case). The site is really nice to use, and has great photos of the products. Everything in the range is vegetarian, and for vegans and coeliacs there's an easy way to ditch all unsuitable foods.
The box itself is slim enough to fit through the letterbox and contains four small, individually-packaged portions, each one ideal for addressing the mid-afternoon slump. Well, it has to beat grabbing a packet of crisps. I got a good mix of sweet and savoury snacks, including two I'd speculatively marked as favourites.
The pack of apple & cinnamon flapjacks was the first that I dived into (I wonder why), and contained three miniature slices of flapjack. Each tiny slice was gone in a couple of mouthfuls, but having three pieces instead of one larger one certainly encouraged me to spread out my snacking. Nice and moist, with plenty of juicy apple and just a delicate hint of cinnamon.
Next I tried the Mississippi barbecue pistachios, which sounded like a great idea - I love both pistachios and smoky BBQ flavours - but I felt the point was defeated somewhat by the nuts being left in their shells. That meant a lot of the taste was infused into the shell, and some of the nuts themselves managed to avoid picking up any of the flavouring. I think I would have preferred just plain pistachios.
Several of the Graze options are simple mixtures of fruits, nuts, and seeds, sometimes with an extra "treat" ingredient thrown in. Yin & Yang is one such, featuring gigantic dark chocolate buttons, blanched almonds, dried cherries, and jumbo raisins. Simple but effective.
Lastly, Yaki Soba looks a bit like bombay mix, but has a more oriental flavour. Crunchy noodles with dried broad beans, soya beans (edamame), and peanuts, all spiced up with lime and a touch of chilli. Surprisingly filling and very tasty.
Overall, this was a really fun way to get a few unusual snacks. The main advantage of the system is that you can get a lot of variety in small batches - if you tried to make all these mixtures at home, you'd end up with a lot of open packets and probably have things going off before you could use them all up. The individual portions would also be great to take away on trips - I'm always looking out for good snacks to slip in my bag for airports and train journeys.
Want to try Graze for yourself? Get your free box here. Enter the code R3CKQCPA in the special promotions box. You can't really go wrong with free food, after all. (Disclosure: I get a discount against a future order if you use my code to sign up.)