NSFM2012 - Day 20
Featured snack: Trader Joe’s Pumpernickel Pretzel Sticks
Rating: 74 Lederhosen
I don’t think it is controversial to suggest that salt is the best and most useful of all the spices. Of course, what makes salt so great is its ability to enhance the flavors around it instead of being its own flavor. It is like the John Paul Jones of spices in that way.
This is what has always made pretzels a bit of a puzzle to me. I’ve never thought that a bread stick, albeit a crispy bread stick, held an interesting enough flavor to be enhanced. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the bread sticks commonly used for pretzels are so neutral, so empty of personality, that the flavor of pretzels becomes essentially the flavor of salt. Needless to say, this doesn’t make for a very compelling snack experience.
Trader Joe’s Pumpernickel Pretzel Sticks avoid this problem simply by using a more interesting and delicious bread as the central vehicle of the snack - giving pretzel salt, perhaps for the first time, something useful to do. Was that so hard?
NSFM - Day 27
Featured snack: Pizzeria Pretzel Combos
Rating: 999 Looks like we made its
Review: I’ve written about my love of Combos before so I won’t spend time here detailing the many ways that they encapsulate and reinforce my snacking values. Instead, I’ll just simply point out that after 26 days of regular daily snacking, as I was trolling the aisles of 7-11 to find a snack to feature on the penultimate day of NSFM 2011, and even though I had already enjoyed them literally hundreds of times before, this is still the bag I reached for. Now that is love.
NSFM - Day 21
Featured snack: Snyder’s of Hanover brand Honey Mustard & Onion flavored “Pieces”
Rating: 18 breath mints
Review: I’ll be honest with you guys: I’m not crazy about pretzels. Yes, the shape is fun and aesthetically pleasing, but the flavor department is severely understaffed. Also, do we really need the excessively large grains of salt?
This product, courtesy of Snyder’s of Hanover (not to be confused with Snyder’s of Berlin according to the packaging) has neither of those problems. The hearty chunks of sourdough pretzel have a beautiful balance of crispy shell and bready insides. However, what makes them truly addictive is the sweet and tangy mustard and onion flavoring. It’s comforting to know that when broken pretzels die, they go on to such a wonderful and productive afterlife. We should all be so lucky.
NSFM - Day 16
Featured snack: Pretzel M&M’s
Rating: 13 Key demos
Review: Big snack companies are always trying to find ways to put a new spin on an old product to boost their sales. In most cases, if the new variety of snack doesn’t take off in a couple fiscal quarters, it’s off the market. In this case, however, I can’t blame the Mars corporation for their (relatively) new variety of M&M. Chocolate and pretzels are a natural combination - it was only a matter of time. Despite the fact that even after half a dozen of these I was still subconsciously expecting a peanut (and being subconsciously disappointed), I enjoyed them moderately. I’m not sure that I would be excited about eating a whole bag. Perhaps, since the various varietals are of one of two shapes, a couple varieties of “mystery grab-bags” might be fun - although I wouldn’t expect any creative marketing schemes of this type until well after the post Easter sales dip.