Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kettle Brand Potato Chips: Yogurt & Green Onion!

We are all familiar with potato chips. A lot of us had them packed in our lunch boxes, or served at parties and BBQ's. The standard potato chip is one of the most common snack foods around. Now kick that up a notch, and add a twist. Make 'em gourmet! That's where Kettle Brand Potato Chips come in. First made in 1982, the Kettle Brand has sought out to produce a natural, tasty snack. There is no trans fat, no preservatives, nothing artificial. Only pure, savory flavor. For our first review of the Kettle Brand Potato Chips, I decided to start with the Yogurt & Green Onion flavor.

The chips are packaged in a eye-catching jade green, matte finished bag. After grabbing a chip, one of the first things I notice is how homemade they appear. Unlike standard potato chips, I can easily tell that what I'm looking at is a slice of a real potato. Not something overly processed. They are deliciously crunchy, with varying levels of texture and toast. I felt like it indicated that the makers took great care and pride in producing a quality product.

The taste was basically a stronger version of the sour cream & onion flavor. It was the sour cream, or in this case the yogurt, flavor that really stood out to me. I initially felt it to be perhaps a little too strong, but I can happily say it quickly grew on me. This is one delicious chip! We can't wait to try all of the varieties offered by the Kettle Brand. Very highly recommended!

Buy this snack :)

Yan Yan Choco Cream Snack!

For some reason, there seems to be this draw to snacks that we can dip. From chips and salsa, to soft pretzels and warmed cheese, people love their dipping snacks. Sweet dipping snacks, however, seem to be a bit overlooked in the US. Luckily, Yan Yan Choco Cream Snack is one of those finds that satisfies a sweet tooth, and the want to dip.

Packaged in a red, plastic cylinder, this sweet treat features two compartments: One contains the long, very mildy sweet "cripsy cracker sticks". The other contains the very smooth, milk chocolate cream. The cripsy cracker sticks alone are rather bland, but that's ok, because it's not meant to be eaten alone. The chocolate cream is what delivers the flavor. The cracker sticks are essentially a means to a decadent end. There is, however, an interesting bonus to the cracker sticks: each one features an embossing of a different animal, and an appropriate message. Examples include "Horse: Gallop Away", and "Mouse: Do Not Be Timid". Though I don't really understand the reason or purpose to these messages, they are nonetheless fun.Not only is this snack a satisfying sweet dipping snack, but it is a yummy snack in general. Perfect for watching a movie, or hanging out and relaxing. Though not necessarily recommended while multitasking with your hands, as this snack can be ever so slightly messy, if one is dipping haphazardly. These are much easier to find nowadays, so be on the lookout. Two thumbs up!

Buy this snack :)

Not so good: Pringles Mozzarella Sticks & Marinara Flavor!

I've always been a fan of Pringles and its large variety of flavors, but today we ran into an odd new line known as Restaurant Cravers. I decided to pick it up out of the sheer niche quality of this offering, Mozzarella Sticks & Marinara. What wierded me out is how they would translate the concept of a mozzarella stick, with its very memorable crispy outside and gooey interior into a chip format. I was skeptical and had every right to be.
The packaging is nice enough, featuring a darker colored tube with red labels exclaiming its 'Restaurant Cravers' line as well as the 'Super Stack' feature(meaning there are 100 chips in each tube). Opening it though I was faced with what looked like any Pringle, except with tiny red flecks after a closer inspection. They also smelled like any other Pringle, with no noticeable hints of zesty marinara, or mozzarella stick or appetizer flavors.

I popped the first one in and proceeded to notice that it had an incredibly mild tomato flavor, but was missing just about everything else. Baffled that the mozzarella stick flavor was completely absent, I kept trying one after the other to make sure it wasn't just the first chip or two that lacked what it said it would have. The result was disappointing and the concept itself in my opinion, was flawed to begin with. The idea of translating a gooey, yummy appetizer, which in itself is mostly a textural experience just doesn't translate into potato chip format. If you're considering trying these, just get ready for Pringles: Marinara because there's no cheesy flavor to be found in this sad tube of chips.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Snack News: Breyers Introducing Cinnamon Bun Yogurt Snack!

We just learned that the Colorado based Breyers Yogurt Co. is adding a very yummy sounding flavor, Cinnamon Bun to its yogurt line this month (combining the flavor of rich cinnamon and sweet icing). From reading on their website, it’s 100 percent fat-free, fortified with extra helpings of vitamins A and D and calcium, has 70 percent less sugar (only 7g of sugar per serving) and 50 percent fewer calories than the leading low-fat sweetened yogurt.

We're excited to hear about this flavor, and hope that the fat free tag doesn't completely sacrifice flavor. It seems to be a completely new flavor for yogurt products, the closest being the Apple Turnover flavor from Yoplait. We hope to snag one of these soon at the local grocery store to review for you guys! Be on the lookout for these.

Kinder Bueno Chocolate Bites!

From Ferrero, the same company that brought you Ferrero Rocherand Nutella, also brings you Kinder Bueno Chocolate bites. Purchased from a local Italian grocery store here in Seattle, we bought this with high hopes. Having been lifelong fans of both Nutella and Ferrero Rocher, we were very excited to try this product. And we weren't disappointed.

Kinder Bueno comes in a candy bar sized package, each containing about eight pieces of chocolate hazelnut goodness. Pieces are connected, and easily broken off from each other. Smooth, rich chocolate covers thin wafers and the unbelievably light hazelnut cream. Popping each one in our mouth, we quickly recognized that heavenly flavor, while savoring a new sort of texture. Before we knew it, the bag was empty, and we were left with only a chocolate memory.
This snack is essentially a lighter, softer version of Ferrero Rocher, in terms of flavor. The small, bitesize pieces makes snacking on this treat all too easy. Which can be a good thing or a bad thing, dependng on your perspective. Regardless, this snack was beyond delicious. It is almost pillowy soft, and quickly melts in your mouth. The only con? It also melts in your hand just as quickly. Highly recommended!

Buy this snack :)

Kasugai Mixed Nuts!

While perusing our local Japanese grocery store here in Seattle, we came across Kasugai Mixed Nuts. What drew us to the this particular package was the colorful variety of nuts pictured on the front. Not to mention the introduction "A Happy Present from The Earth". Who doesn't like presents, especially happy ones? We were happy to give this one a go.

We opened the yellow, square bag, and surveyed the snack inside. Before us was a selection of nuts, in both different textures and colors. Choices varied from the large sesame and nori seaweed covered nuts, to the small sweetly coated nuts. The crunchy wasabi peas added a green pop of color to the assortment, though the taste a bit subdued. As a whole, the taste of this snack was mild and even. It's something we could find ourselves enjoying with a cold beer or any other cold, crisp beverage.While we were perhaps expecting to experience some stronger, specifically spicier flavors, we were nonetheless pleased with this snack. If you are a fan of the sweet and salty combination, this snack is definetly a winner. It is easily one of those snacks that you could find yourself finishing with little effort. Good for any time, whether it be at your desk at work, or during a movie at home.

Buy this snack :)

Snack News: Kraft Announces Toblerone Tobelle!

Kraft just announced today that they would be premiering a new concept for the Toblerone line called 'Toblerone Tobelle' at the Cannes TFWA event (Tax and duty free retail expo basiscally). The 'Tobelle' take on Toblerone will feature thin triangular pieces of Toblerone chocolate while maintaining the same delicious flavor of milk chocolate, honey and almond nougat.

I'm honestly pleased to hear about this because Toblerone hasn't really done much new with their product in quite a few years now aside from their Toblerone Fruit and Nut, which is also quite delicious. We've always loved the strong honey/milk chocolate flavor of Toblerone. This new format should also make it much easier to share with friends and snack on, which we find quite appealing. The new format also includes a triangular box with red and gold packaging which will definitely be an eye catcher once it launches. We'll be sure to try and get our hands on one of these for a review. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Soy Joy Gluten Free Bars!

What happens when you take the goodness of soy and mix it with delicious fruits, nuts and chocolate? You get SoyJoy, our first gluten free review on Snack Overload! We're going to talk about two of their yummy baked bars, SoyJoy Peanut Chocolate Chip and SoyJoy Almond Raisin from their All Natural Fruit and Soy line. I'm honestly not much of a soy consumer but I found these to be pretty darn good and healthy too. They come in bars like Snickers would, with specks of fruit and nuts in them. The whole time I was eating these I kept thinking of cutting these up into small pieces and enjoying them with a glass of milk, because they reminded me of cookies in a good way.

The texture of these bars was a little chewy, a little mealy but it overall tasted great. The peanut chocolate chip bar had specks of nuts and other goodies in it with a yummy peanut flavor residing through the whole experience. The raisin almond bar had an immediate fruity smell before you even bit into it with a nice fruit flavor, with a subtle touch of almonds. Really reminded me of an oatmeal raisin cookie in terms of consistency and flavor, we think it might have had something to do with the baked nature of these bars(We're not complaining though). I preferred the peanut chocolate chip simply because of my love for any snack with a strong peanut taste. :)
In conclusion these SoyJoy bars are a definite must try even if you are new to the soy scene. It’s an interesting alternative to a chocolate bar and accommodates people's special dietary needs. They're also available in many other flavors to cater to everyones taste buds, like the more exotic Mango Coconut Bar. :) Recommended!

Buy this snack :)

Reese's Fast Break!

Do you like Reese's Peanut Butter cups? Do you like peanut butter in general? Well Reese's Fast Break bar might be the thing for you. It seems Hershey decided to take the classic peanut butter cup and turn into a bar format, allowing you to eat this on the go.

Packaging wise it's the typical orange format we're all used to with the addition of a nice blue stripe that caught our attention to begin with in the checkout aisle. This version of a Reese's product also adds nougat to the mix aside from the standard milk chocolate and peanut butter, adding a little bit of a twist to the typical flavor we're used to. In terms of flavor the bar tastes just like their peanut butter cup with a really rich chocolate and peanut butter flavor, but I could barely taste the nougat. After cutting open the bar it became obvious why, there was a small sliver of nougat under a mound of peanut butter which drowned out most of that flavor. I didn't mind as much, you could detect the subtle flavor of it in between bites.

What I've always liked about these Reese's products is the slightly salty aftertaste that comes after the sweet, and this bar features the same flavor profile. So in a nutshell, Reeses Fast Break Candy Bar is a really awesome choice if you don't like fiddling with the cups and prefer a much easier to eat version of a classic. It doesn't do much new, but at the same time why fix something that's not broken? Delicious and peanut buttery, just the way I've always liked it.

Buy this Snack :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Glico Pocky Men's!

Pocky has had a very successful run in the US and abroad with its simple, yet delicious formula: A crunchy pretzel stick dipped in delicious chocolate. While browsing the local Asian mart here in Seattle, we ran into an unusual new variety of the Pocky line, known as Pocky Men’s.

Having a female staff member here at Snack Overload(Our awesome contributor Rachael), we had to wonder; What was it that made this Pocky so masculine? We picked up the turquoise colored box and set out to unravel this mystery. This Pocky snack comes in the standard sized Pocky box, but with some minor aesthetic differences. It features a different color as mentioned before, as well as an odd blurb: “This combination of crispy pretzel and smooth dark chocolate brings a whole new flavor to fun.” Fun?

Flavor wise this version of Pocky has a much less milk chocolatey vibe than standard Pocky, instead featuring a sharp cocoa bite that while being quite pleasant, didn’t exactly come off as masculine. What exactly was the message being conveyed here? All men are bitter? I didn’t know how to feel about that. We let our female staff member try it out to see if she felt more masculine, unfortunately she felt quite the same.
Anyways masculine issues aside, Pocky Men’s is a nice change of pace from the sweet standard Pocky. If you’re a dark chocolate fan, you’ll definitely want to give these a shot.

Buy this snack :)

Boylan's Sugar Cane Cola!

Boylan’s Sugar Cane Cola has a lot of things going on that we like: Its been around for 109 years, is free of any preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, has no sodium and features good ol’ fashioned cane sugar, a rarity in this day and age.

We picked up this bottle due to its distinctive yet classic glass bottle featuring an embossed ‘vintage soda’ blurb on the outside surface. There’s something really nice and nostalgic about having a frosty glass bottle in your hand compared to the typical plastic bottles we come across on a daily basis.

Upon taking our first swig the first thing we noticed was how clean the flavor was, lacking that typical odd aftertaste that high fructose drinks feature. It wasn’t overly sweet but it had that distinctive Cola taste that we all love. In terms of ingredients, Boylan’s understands that a little goes a long way. Staying away from artificial ingredients helps Boylan’s version of cola stand out in a big way from its grocery store counterparts. We commend them for sticking to their tried and true recipe and delivering a superior cola product. If you want a step up from high fructose, this is the drink to beat.

Buy this snack :)

Umaiwa Puffed Wheat Cheese Rings!

We were unsure what to think of these snacks when they arrived to us, yet were nonetheless intrigued by the bizarre packaging. The chips featured what appeared to be a ‘Doraemon’ like character singing his heart out about these chips, and an odd tube spitting out more cheese rings onto a pile. The bag also featured an ad on the bottom left boasting about the size of some of their other products, which really made us fear that this rather large bag of chips might be an exercise in quantity over quality.

I cautiously opened the bag only to be treated by a very strange aroma. It definitely smelled cheesy but had a tang of something else to it. It took us a few minutes to determine what the smell reminded us of...Mushrooms. To be precise, it had the smell of Porcini mushrooms which really caught us off guard. An odd combination, but after tasting these wheat rings covered in tangy goodness, I can consider myself sold. The texture of these golden rings was nice too, featuring a nice crunchy bite.

We don’t think the bag was labeled with anything resembling a mushroom, but after we spent a few minutes trying out these tasty snacks we all agreed that it had a cheesy mushroom flavor. Definitely out there, but quite pleasant! Wacky packaging aside, these were solid cheese snacks with an interesting twist to their flavor. Worth a try for sure! Find these at your local Asian mart!

Buy this snack :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Guylian Chocolate Seashell Pralines!

Belgian companyGuylian have made quite a name for themselves for their incredibly decadent Seashell Praline line over the years, a delicious meld featuring a blend of Belgian white, milk and dark chocolate filled with roasted hazelnut praline. Each seashell is meticulously crafted to represent various shells and sea creatures, including seahorses and clamshells.

This pack is the perfect snack size, holding 3 yummy confections of these shells which are easy to pop into your mouth one at a time. They melt instantly in your hand and even faster in your mouth, the flavor transitioning from a really wonderful chocolate flavor to an intense, sweet hazelnut cream. This is the type of snack to savor as long as you can before letting it go, and will fill you with all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings. :)

A personal favorite of mine since being in Europe, I’m happy to see these offered in most mid to high end grocery stores. Pricier, but worth every penny!

Buy this snack :)

Snack Overload Flu Edition: Ricola Cough Drops!

Alright! So we’re approaching October, and getting ever so closer to the dreaded flu season. As a result we’ve decided to focus on one of the better cough drops on the US market, the Swiss made Ricola cough drops. Having had the flu recently thanks to a friend, I thought I’d mention in case any reader of this blog is unfortunate enough to catch the bug this season.

Though not considered a snack of course, if sick you’ll be literally snacking on these for a quick fix to relieve any annoying cough and sinuses. In terms of flavors we had our hands on menthol and mixed berry, with Vitamin C. Menthol offers a really nice strong kick and minty flavor that really clears out your sinuses, like having some horse radish. Starts out light then hits you hard, which is actually nice and refreshing. The mixed berry flavor is much milder and definitely for people not in the mood for getting their butts kicked by a cough drop. Fruitier and much smoother, the mixed berry Ricola is also quite soothing drop for anyone experiencing cough symptoms, providing relief when it’s most needed.These babies can be found relatively cheap at most common grocery stores/pharmacies! We wish everyone a flu free season!

Buy this snack :)

Loud Truck Energy Gummies!

We’re really surprised we never heard of these snacks before, but I can already tell any gamer out there who spends long hours playing that these will make your day! We picked these up at a specialty store and they really caught our eye with their clean design and appealing colors on the packaging.

The basic gist of these gummies is that each pack contains plenty of energy via various boosting vitamins such as B12 and C. There are two types, a milder Citrus Blast Gummy and the ‘one pack is one energy drink’ Red Blast Maximum. They look like gummy bears but in terms of similarities they end right about there. Upon opening one of these bad boys I was greeted by an incredibly strong energy drink smell that really resembled a Monster Energy beverage. In terms of flavor, imagine what would happen if someone solidified your favorite liquid drink into a chewy gummy. Good stuff!
I enjoyed the flavor and they definitely do their job, providing a nice boost with no crash just as they claim. It’s up to you to choose what you need though. Citrus Blast for a lighter jump start to your day, or the energy drink stuffed into a cute gummy Red Blast! You can get these direct from their website in boxes of 12 or 24 at a reasonable price. For such a fun idea being pulled off so well, definitely recommended!

Buy this snack :)

Not so good: Baby Star Crispy Chicken Noodle Snack!

It was bound to happen, and it’s bound to happen again due to the nature of this blog. We’re going to run into that occasional bad apple here at Snack Overload! And so, we will begin our ‘Not so good’ section with dried chow-mein like snacks.

There are so many red flags on this bag, yet we decided to try them anyhow. The brand name itself doesn’t help. The jaundiced child on the front seemed to claim that these were chicken flavored yet upon opening and trying one of these crispy noodles all that was left was an aftertaste of sadness and disappointment. Due to their small size and consistency of broken dried spaghetti, you’re bound to make a mess trying to get these out of the bag to begin with. They also tasted like burnt bread, which didn’t remind us of chicken at all.
The only thing I could think of after choking down my first and last handful of baby star snacks was the flavor betrayal I was experiencing. Avoid at all costs.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Snack Overload! on Twitter

Have an account on Twitter? Looking to be kept up to date with our latest blog updates and news? Follow us on our Twitter page or RSS feed! We'll do our best to keep it really entertaining. :)

Suntory Gokuri Graperfuit Drink!

This beverage definitely proved to me that you should always expect a surprise when randomly choosing between Japanese drinks. This Gokuri drink caught my eye with its nice blue metallic bottle and pleasant grapefruit pic on the front. It was classified as a 'non carbonated soft drink,' so I thought I'd give it a try. The nice thing about these aluminum bottles is how well they chilled. I put it in the freezer for 30 minutes before consuming it to get it really nice and frosty.

Upon opening the bottle I was treated to a really pleasant grapefruit aroma, a fruit that I've really enjoyed drinking in the past in juice form. However, upon drinking I was caught off guard by the texture which was anything but smooth. I stopped drinking and looked down only to realize that it contained pieces of actual grapefruit. The weird thing is hows its labeled as 'fruit fiber' on the back, which led me to question if it was actual fruit or some bizarro facsimile. After realizing that I kept drinking and was able to enjoy it.

This version of Gokuri had a really natural grapefruit flavor minus the overly bitter finish typically associated with the fruit. The pieces of fruit might not be for everyone, but it was interesting to experience mild chewing and drinking at the same time. I can see people who don't like grapefruits bitterness enjoying this happy middle of a beverage.

The packaging and flavors make this a pretty good exotic beverage to seek out. Enjoy the party in your mouth! Come in different flavors too!

Buy this snack :)

Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips!

I found these chips in various smoothie/health stores and decided to finally pick them up. I've always been a big fan of simple snacks, so these really called out to me.

They're a humble, yet flavorful snack. These chips involve cut pita strips which are baked with a dash of sea salt. These chips offered a simple, but bold flavor that was very memorable. They're crunchy with specks of sea salt on each chip, and I found myself wondering how many different things these would go amazing with. At the same time, they stood amazingly well on their own.

I tried these chips with tuna salad, hummus, smoked salmon and various dips and was pleased every single time. These chips will make you appreciate how good a snack with so few ingredients can be. :) I found that what their website said is quite true, "perfect with anything, perfect without anything." Two thumbs up!

Nongshim Chicken Snack! (Korean!)

These were contributed by a local asian market and were quite curious. Never had the chance to try Korean snack foods, so this is a first on Snack Overload! Our first non drink foreign snack review. What got me about these is the packaging, featuring a pretty angry looking stylized chicken. The way the box opened puzzled me for a few minutes until I realized what it was trying to do, resemble a fried chicken take out box.

When you open the box flap it featured a small comic about a chicken involved in some hijinks with a chef and some sort of explorer(You can guess who won at the end). I'm guessing this was a snack designed for kids. The idea is that you open the small bag inside and dump it into the faux takeout box. Its a pretty fun idea and makes it easier to snack on these drumstick shaped snacks, rather than picking them out of a bag one by one.

The flavor and texture of these chicken snacks was a little unusual, the only thing I could relate them to are mild Funyuns, with a really mild chicken flavor. These snacks are small and hollow with a nice golden brown color, each one resembling a yummy drumstick. They were crunchy, mild and kept reminding me of Funyuns! Its the first thing you'll taste after biting into these, followed by that chicken-y flavor. I enjoyed them but was expecting a much stronger, spicy chicken flavor from judging the box(it featured flaming drumsticks..LIES!). Worth a try nonetheless. Find them at your local Asian mart!