Thursday, 27 March 2014

Raw Ecstasy

I often get asked if I would like to review products. Some of them are perfect for #freefrom eating and others aren't so suitable. The cross over between #freefrom and naturally free of allergens is worth considering if you are not highly allergic (IgE or coeliac). Most production facilities used by small business with a clear passion for their products are easy to decide if they are suitable for your diet or not. If in any doubt please contact the manufacturer.

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Raw Ecstasy. This passionate and enthusiastic company have an interesting product range that I had spotted on social media. I was kindly offered some samples from their range. At first I wasn't sure that I should blog about them and turned them down as I don't like to take advantage of small companies. I am extremely grateful that they offered again and pointed out their product benefits. All of their products are dairyfree, lactosefree, glutenfree, wheatfree and vegan. None of these allergens are tested for but are not used in the production process. Of course they do contain nuts and may contain traces of mustard and sesame.

Raw Ecstasy sell a range of raw activated nuts, spreads and snacks.

"Activated nuts are effectively fermented, germinated or awakened nuts. In nature nuts experience being soaked in rainwater which triggers their germination process and the dormant nut awakens with enough power to create a whole tree. Inspired by nature and the ancient Aztec practice of soaking nuts in seawater, we long soak our nuts in natural saline solution. We then slowly dry the nuts at temperatures below 47C ensuring gentle preservation of the now activated nuts. Activated nuts are remarkably less bitter, taste sweeter, deliciously moreish and feel lighter in your belly."

Here are my thoughts on the products I tested:

Himalayan Salted Walnuts
The walnuts look dusty and pale in comparison to regular walnuts but don't let that put you off. They, and all of the activated nuts, taste clean, light and full of flavour. There is no bitterness or slightly scratchy inner shell to these nuts as the activation process removes it. The salted walnuts make a great savoury snack in the same way you would reach for salted nuts at a party. The extra benefit is you know these are going to leave you feeling better fulfilled in a more healthy way.

Maple Syrup Walnuts
These walnuts have the recogniseable and familiar taste of pure maple syrup. They have the same clean taste with a delicious flavour. The maple syrup coating gives them a great texture as there is a little crispiness to the softened walnuts.

Raw Chocolate Walnuts
On opening the bag of the chocolate walnuts you know you are going to get a satisfying hit of chocolate. The walnuts smell of good quality raw chocolate. They are dipped in chocolate and dusted in cocoa powder. There is more chocolate on the nut than I expected which makes them a great treat. Expect a slightly bitter taste from the chocolate compared to the salted or maple walnuts. This product won a commendation from the prestigious Free From Food Awards in 2013.

Raw Oatmeal Cookie
I have recently been put off products where the first ingredient listed is dates. They are so often used as a soft, naturally sweet base for freefrom or raw products. Fortunately this cookie has good, strong flavours to balance the taste of the dates. Cinnamon and fruit makes it taste like an aged fruit cake and the texture is moist and filling. The sweetness is balanced and not overpowering.

Activated Chocolate Almond Spread
These 140g jars look modest but hide a luxurious treat that you need not feel guilty over. The smell of raw chocolate emanates from a soft and spreadable silky concoction. The taste gives you an instant chocolate hit with an almond aftertaste. Without the bitterness of regular almonds you are drawn back for more. There is a minimal coffee like aftertaste perhaps from the coconut oil? The beautiful balance of sweetness and saltiness makes this chocolate spread very moreish, especially if you are armed with a spoon! If you are missing chocolate spread this is the product for you!

Activated Almond Butter
This almond butter is liquid at room temperature and still rather runny if kept in the fridge, just a warning if like me you burst the lid open with gusto! On tasting you are rewarded with mild saltiness moving to a pure almond flavour. The butter is smooth with no coarseness or bitterness. There is no odour to entice you but the butter is glossy and speckled and very pretty. You wouldn't need much of this spread to satisfy your cravings and get a nutritious boost.

The versatility of these products lends them to far more uses than just snacking. I was instantly inspired to add the chocolate walnuts to my breakfast and create a cake with the almond butter and maple walnuts (recipe here FreeFrom Blondies).

Raw Ecstasy charge the following for these products:

Activated Himalayan Salted Walnuts, 70g £4.39
Activated Maple Syrup Walnuts, 70g £4.59
Activated Raw Chocolate Walnuts, 70g £4.98
Activated Chocolate Almond Spread, 140g £5.99
Activated Almond Butter, 140g £5.99
Raw Oatmeal Cookie, 45g £3.89

(When reviewing these prices please consider the equivilant price of organic walnuts in a supermarket is £2.25 100g. These will not have had the same specialist, careful process that this lovely small company use)

We are looking at stocking these products and others from the Raw Ecstasy range and would love to know your thoughts. Would you buy these products? Would you pay this price? How often would you buy them?

Please let us know on our Facebook and Twitter pages or by email

Find out more about Raw Ecstasy on Facebook and Twitter

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