I’ve mostly focussed on chocolate on this blog so far, and that’s probably the way it will stay in the future. That’s quite simply because I write and review about what I snack on, and I tend to snack on chocolate rather than crisps/cereal bars/nuts etc. However I’ve got an open mind, and when the opportunity to try the ‘Graze’ experience came up, I leapt at the chance.
Graze Box Review
Graze is the name of a company based in the UK which delivers letterbox sized parcels containing four healthy and nutritious snack pots to your home. I think the idea behind the company is that people tend to snack ignorantly and aimlessly with negative effects on their health. Whereas each, well portioned, snack pod here comes with an exact calorie/fat/fibre content. So you can keep an effective track on what and how much you’re snacking on.
Graze offer more than 100 different snack pods, of which you can indicate your preferences; that you really want to try them, you’d give them a go, or that you don’t want to try them at all. Once you’ve told narrowed down the list, it’s posted out to you exactly as seen in the photo above.
Inside the box, as you will see in the photos below, are four pods, a personalised (which is a nice touch) card containing all of the ingredients and nutritional information from the box, and a napkin.
As I hadn’t given Graze any of my likes/dislikes, I received a totally random box. As mentioned above, the number of different snacks Graze offer is more than 100, and it’s a pretty diverse list too; including various nuts, fruits, seeds, breads, crackers, olives and even flapjacks.
Given that it was a lottery what Graze sent me, I was surprised but happy that I got four things I really liked the sound of! In my box, as eagle-eyed readers will be able to pick out, was 1) Graze’s take on the Jaffa Cake, 2) ‘The Herb Garden’, 3) ‘Fiery Seeds’ and 4) Graze’s take on the Bakewell Tart.
First up, we’ve got the ‘inspired by Jaffa Cake’ option. The contents were Belgian dark chocolate, orange infused sultanas and roasted hazelnuts.
I have to say, I love the idea of this. The Jaffa Cake is a very popular snack, but is, at best, ‘nutritionally suspect’ haha! So why not have a go at creating a healthier, but similar alternative?
I decided to try the ingredients one by one and then play around with the combinations. First, I tried a hazelnut. It was very dry, lacking that slight moisture that nuts normally have. Next up, it was a plump, orangey sultana. The dried fruit exploded with flavour- a really great ‘jaffa’ imitation. I did wonder before I tried it what an ‘orange infused sultana’ was going to be like, and it really did work so credit to Graze for that. Finally, the dark chocolate; pleasantly semi-sweet and the size of a Cadbury’s Giant Button, it was a decent chocolate. Not outstanding, but I’m used to trying chocolate from specialist chocolate companies, which Graze obviously aren’t. It was miles better than I expected it to be to be honest!
The REAL success of the Jaffa Cake inspired snack box from Graze though, was when all of the individual components were tried together. It was a remarkably good impression of a Jaffa Cake! The dark chocolate and orange sultanas tasted incredibly similar to the top two parts of a normal Jaffa Cake, with the slightly bitter dark chocolate contrasting against the chewy, fruity sweetness from the fruit. The difference was of course the presence of nuts. They offered a nice crunch instead of the spongy element in the Jaffa Cake.
This was a nice snack from Graze- at about 200 odd calories, it is less than most chocolate bars, and also contains (I know this thanks to the handy nutritional card accompanying the box!) three anti-oxidant foods.
Secondly, I tried ‘The Herb Garden’, which consisted of oregano rice crackers, crispy peanuts and baked herb bites.
With lots of colour, this was an interesting packet to look at. The golden herb bites were particularly attractive; almost like pork scratchings (although I was hoping they might be a little better for me!). Another huge positive you might see from the packaging is that this whole packet was only 91 calories. That equates to half a bag of crisps or a third of a Mars/Snickers bar.
It smelt delicious upon opening; a mixture of herbs and spices escaping the previously sealed packaging.
My favourite part of this packet was without doubt the rice crackers. Soft and melt in the mouth, they had a slightly ‘pizza-like’ taste, which was the oregano element I’m presuming.
The crispy peanuts were definitely that- crispy. They were so hard they were almost like hard boled sweets! They didn’t offer a very nutty flavour, but were still very enjoyable as they were covered in the various flavours from the other two ingredients.
Finally, there were the baked herb bites (or pork scratchings as I called them earlier!) The strongest flavour from the herb covering I could taste was paprika I think, which would also explain the red/brown colour of them.
At 91 calories, these were great. Almost oriental in taste, they were bursting with flavour and genuinely enjoyable. I’d definitely want these again.
The penultimate snack pod that I tried was the ‘Fiery Seeds’, which were sunflower and pumpkin seeds covered with a blend of soy sauce, paprika and chilli.
Straight up, these were the least successful option from Graze. I’m not a huge fans of seeds anyway (I’m not a damn bird!) but I thought I might go for these anyway because I’m a fan of heat and spice. There was no ‘super fiery’ nature to the flavour here though.
I had expected a really strong aroma of spice when I cracked these open at about 4PM last week. (Which is normally chocolate time; everyone around me thought I was a bit mental getting my packet of seeds out I think!) There was basically no scent at all though. No chilli, no soy sauce…nothing. Most disappointing.
Taking a small handful and ramming it into my gob (beautifully described there I’m sure you’ll agree) there was no heat whatsoever. I wanted some chilli or something to liven up the bloody bird food I was eating!
The seeds’ texture was just as you’d expect from seeds- slightly moist and very chewy. They were just a bit boring though. Would it have worked with some real spice? Maybe so. But the absence of any heat meant that these were just as you’d expect from seeds; a little bland and unexciting.
Finally, I tried Graze’s version of a Bakewell Tart yesterday. With cherry infused sultanas, cranberries and almonds, this was more my kind of thing than the seeds I tried the day before. After the success of the orange infused sultanas, I was keen to see if they could achieve similar results with cherry this time.
The cranberries were ok here; a moderate fruity flavour but more importantly an extremely sticky and chewy consistency like all dried fruit should have in my opinion.
The cherry infused sultanas were absolutely excellent, but very odd indeed! The flavour that came to mind immediately was the cherries from bags of Haribo! There was a tartness which contrasted very nicely with the natural fruity element of the cranberries. I had worried that (with two types of dried fruit here) it would become far too sweet and sticky, but the cherry sultanas carried an acidity which took the edge off the sweetness. Finally, the almonds delivered a relatively strong nuttiness and a firmer texture.
The attempts from Graze to recreate a Bakewell Tart weren’t as good as the Jaffa Cake snack pod. When eaten together, the components didn’t really combine to reproduce a Bakewell Tart-esque flavour. That said, this was still a very enjoyable snack. I’d eat it again without a second thought.
Overall, I was really pleased with the Graze experience and very impressed at what they had to offer. The seeds were the slight negative, but there were many positives to take. For instance the ease with which you can have healthy, nutritious and well-portioned snacks sent to your house. On top of that, these snack pods (well three of the four that I tried) deliver big flavours and aren’t like most of those horrible low-calorie products which normally taste like cardboard! Good for you AND taste decent… not much to complain about!
If you’re trying to be virtuous and live a good lifestyle, Graze is a wonderful idea and I would wholeheartedly recommend it.
Phew, I think these reviews are getting lengthier every time I write them!