Sweet Vanilla, Meet Almonds

So, I was scrounging the packaged nut section at Whole Foods- you know where you can find the 8oz bag of gourmet fair trade cocoa dusted, pink Himalayan salt sprinkled, organic goji berry infused, hand-harvested millet and individually dry roasted almond bag for $99.99.   Now, don’t get me wrong, if I find an indulgent treat here I enjoy I will pay top dollar for it, but there is no coercing me to do a trial of any new food product or flavor at some of those prices regardless the purity or rarity of the ingredients.  I looked over some of the usual suspects and then had the eerie sensation that I was being watched.  I slowly tilted my gaze upward to a proud row of little almond bags with their inviting, regal little queen smiling at me.  I excitedly snatched the 3 oz vanilla maple bag and marched to the register.

 

When I tore open the top of the Ziploc pack of the Hail Merry almonds, the most amazing scent came drifting out.  It was a marriage of the most wonderful, thick maple syrup poised for pouring crossed with the most luxurious bourbon vanilla.  I instantly flashed back to the kitchen watching my mom bake as a little girl.  I remembered having my nose shoved so far in the vanilla bottle that a tattling witness might say I was attempting to get high on it.  If something smelled that good, imagine how could it would taste!  Disregarding my mom’s warning as “an overly-concerned old person’s jibberjabber,” I took a determined glug and cringed in disgusted horror.  I wasn’t sure if I was more upset with the false advertising of the vanilla or the fact that my mom was right.  Luckily, this bag of almonds allowed me to get closure on that memory once and for all as the taste is truly matched by its aroma.

 

They appear as normal almonds would, but each one has a few clusters of thin, sugary maple sweetness stuck to it that dissolves on your tongue in the same fashion as a buttery praline.  The surprise for me that make these treats stand out above the rest comes from the almonds texture.  They easily grind between your teeth with less crunch than would a raw almond.  This comes from the soaking and then gently dehydrating of the almonds that not only aids in digestion for those that struggle with nuts, but also preserves the powerful enzymes they carry.  This makes them feel indulgent- something you don’t get from a standard nut mix.  They taste like they were soaked in a vat of pure bourbon vanilla and they finish with a sweet and salty linger of maple-y goodness.  There’s a total of four harmonizing ingredients in the ready-to-travel pouch, and these treats are raw, vegan and gluten free. A decadent but good for you treat to reward yourself with this week.  All Hail Merry.

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