A couple of weeks ago I received my November issue of Delicious magazine (the one with the coconut and banana pancakes on the front cover) which I've been subscribing to since it was first launched about six or seven years ago – brilliant recipes I must add and dare I state the obvious, delicious as well. Anyway, being the advertisers' dream that I am, I spotted an advert for a new product range which I promptly acted on. There were two things that intrigued me about the products in question – the packaging and the flavours – and possessing the innate culinary curiosity that I have, I trotted out on my next shopping expedition and bought a pack of each from Woollies.
The products I'm talking about are called Flavour Escapes brought out by the Melbourne-based The Gourmet Nut Company. The four flavours on offer are – Thai Sweet Chilli (cashew and peanut blend), Canadian Maple (cashews), Indian Chai (almonds) and Japanese Wasabi (honey peanuts). I also loved the foil packaging in lovely friendly colours (I wear lots of black but I do love and respond to bright colours and my office decor is colour-saturated). I must also mention that I tend not to buy or eat much snack food (dark chocolate being the exception), and the nuts I do consume regularly tend to be of the raw variety – almonds and cashews – which I combine into breakfast dishes such as bircher muesli or yoghurt and berry parfaits.
Anyhoo, got the Flavour Escape nut combos home and tested the first flavour that night with the rest of my family. Well ... before you knew it the entire 175gm pack was gone, promptly followed by a second one. The next night we broke out the remaining two packs which we also promptly consumed. They were excellent! They landed an unrestrained flavour punch that absolutely backed up the inherent advertising promise. If I were to have done a blind test on each of the varieties I would have been able to identify them all distinctly by taste (something I wasn't really able to do with the latest Smiths crisps "Vote for Me" campaign where nothing much differentiated the four flavours tastewise for me).
I also had the experience of my taste buds being able to differentiate the sweet from the spice – in fact there was an inherit complexity in the way the ingredients melded with each other. The ingredients constituted 73% nuts, some sugar, spices and honey. And for the disciplined health conscious person who can constrain themselves to a recommended 25gm serving, a serving contains 553 kJ (127 Cal), 5.2gm (protein), 7.1gm (fat), 10.5gm (carbohydrate) and 91.3mg (salt) which is pretty good compared to many of the other nut mixtures I've seen.
I rarely have this enthusiastic reaction to new foods and am pretty tough in my rating system, but I was so impressed I rang the company the next day to let them know how fantastic the nuts were. If I were an American multimillionaire and all cashed up I would have bought the company! (In-joke – anybody born post 1980s who didn't watch Remmington shaver commercials on Australian television won't get it.) Had a great chat with Kerrie, the Quality Assurance Manager, who seemed to be delighted with the call. We discussed our respective favourite flavours (in order mine were – sweet chilli, maple syrup, chai and wasabi), and a whole bunch of other stuff.
So having said that ... if you're Australian go and check them out (that means you too Marcelo Baez, you snack-lovin' comics art genius you who lured me temporarily into M&Ms territory on your last visit!) I'm now looking forward to tasting the Lemon Myrtle flavoured variety in another Gourmet Nut Company range. The Flavour Escapes website hasn't been launched yet but keep checking www.flavourescapes.com.au to find out more or just trust me and go straight out and buy them. Jozef – I'm sharing the next pack with you!