Monday, August 15, 2016

Western Washington

For Christmas my little brother and his wife sent us an amazing smattering of Western Washington-specific products. A brilliant idea, with a nicely varied selection.

Rainy City Crunch (Chocolate) granola bars. These have oats, a bunch of kinds of nuts and seeds, and cranberries in them. I was a little concerned about the dried cranberry addition, especially since these were chocolate flavored. The bars are thin, and come all together in one bag - no individually wrapped wastefulness here. Intense cocoa flavor, brilliant crunch, with a hint of chewiness. The nuts and seeds make it quite hearty, and the cranberries work somehow. They're just a little tartness for when the cocoa and the richness of the nuts starts to overwhelm. Also, there's a sprinkle of coarse salt that makes these. They are all gone, and I want more.

Drizzle's Blood Orange Olive Oil and Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar.  The blood orange flavor brightens the olive oil, and adds a wonderful tartness. I used half the bottle in a blood orange olive oil cake, no regrets. The cake was delicious and I'm pretty sure that subbing in the blood orange oil in place of plain really kicked the flavor up a notch.  The blackberry ginger vinegar is equally wonderful. The flavor is rich and heady, enough that I sometimes pop the bottle open just to take a quick whiff. It's brilliant headlining a vinaigrette, and I keep workshopping a way to add it to something chocolate.

Spice Hut Orange Cream Rooibos Tea. Delightful. It's tart, but the vanilla smooths the tartness. I only put a touch of sugar in here, which is pretty impressive. (I usually add a bunch not because I have a sweet tooth but because I have a hard time reconciling the difference between the smell and taste of most teas.) As a wonderful bonus, the tea bags are biodegradable, so I don't feel bad about using them.

Bellewood Acres Honey Roasted Peanut Butter. I had to ration this once I started to get to the bottom of the tub. It's crunchy and perfectly sweetened and salted with a deep, roasted peanut flavor. This is hearty, stick to your ribs peanut butter and I'm sad it's gone.

Smoked Sockeye.

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