Product Review part I: Kim and Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels
I seriously, seriously, didn’t get into blogging for the Free Stuff. (Which is a good thing, because it comes few and far between.) I just do it because it’s fun.
So obviously, when Kim and Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels contacted me and asked if they could send me some samples of their product for me to review on my blog, I said, “No, thank you, it would be a violation of my desire to just blog freely and joyfully and prevent additional influences from contaminating my writing.”
No, actually I said, “Hell Yeah!” (I was a little more diplomatic, but that was the upshot.) Stuffed pretzels? I’m all over that. And I’ve seriously never felt like, when someone sends you something for free to review, that should constitute any responsibility to say you love the product when you didn’t. (Unless that was the agreement beforehand, but I would never agree to that. Even for free pretzels. So that’s the disclaimer. I calls ’em as I sees ’em.)
They sent me this enormous box of six different varieties of their stuffed pretzels, and it’s taken me this long to review because we haven’t even been able to get through all the varieties yet. But I feel bad waiting so long, so I’ll write it now and do addenda when I get to the Spinach-Feta and Grilled Cheese ones.
I find with these reviews I always tend to follow the same format, so why shake it up? I give my bottom line/summary, followed by the things I wasn’t sure about or didn’t care for, and ending with the things I loved. (I always like to end on a high note.)
Bottom line: these things are delicious. Seriously good. In the middle of each pretzel is a ribbon of something–sauce in the pizza ones, spicy cheese in the jalapeno cheddar ones, gooeychocolateyumminess in the chocolate crumb ones, and so on. The flavors were very nice and present without being overpowering. All around, a really awesome product, the kind of thing I’d keep around work if I had a freezer to store them in. They can be microwaved or oven-baked, and they’re good both ways. (Oddly, I found the chocolate better from the microwave, but the cheesy ones better from the oven.)
Disadvantages: Their website does have a listing of retail stores where you can buy these, and honestly in the future I would definitely go that route. Since via mail they need to arrive frozen or at least still cold, they shipped them in a big styrofoam cooler-type thing, and the amount of packaging required to get them to me was understandable but also massive. (On the other hand, the styrofoam cooler, now that it’s here, will certainly get more use.) These things are not low-calorie–one 3.5 oz. pretzel will run you 230-380 calories, depending on which one you eat. (Spinach-Feta seems to be the lowest.) They do have full nutritional info on their site, though, so you can check it out. They do tout themselves as a “source of whole grains,” but one should be clear that whole wheat flour is quite a ways down on their list of ingredients. These aren’t a health food. They are tons better, both in ingredients and in taste, than anything you’re going to get at One Of Those Other pretzel places, and I’ll totally be buying them again, but like so many other yummy foods these are not something to grab and feel all nutritionally virtuous about.
On the other hand–they are yummy. And if I cared about feeling nutritionally virtuous, I would be wearing clothes a couple sizes smaller than the stuff with which my closet is now full. And the list of “pros” for this product is considerable: good ingredients, not a lot of scary chemical weirdness or weird chemical scariness, ingredients I recognize and can pronounce; a small business and even a local business for those of us in the Chicago area; and most important of all they are delicious. The apple crumb ones were a little too sweet for me, but my kids loved them. The chocolate crumb ones were even a bigger hit. The cheddar-jalapeno ones had just enough spice without being “hot”, cheesy and good. (This was probably my favorite.) I found myself wishing the pizza pretzels had some actual cheese inside the pretzel rather than just sauce inside and cheese on top, but hell, it’s a pretzel, there’s not that much room in there! My daughter and I will christen the grilled cheese ones in a few days, and I suspect I’ll be on my own with the spinach feta ones, since I’m the only one in the family who likes feta cheese.
I’ll be checking out our local Whole Foods to see if they carry them, and if not, maybe they can soon…
So in summary: Good product, delicious, caloric but worth it, give ’em a try.