Sunday 7 April 2013

Nutribox & A Special Offer

Being coeliac can mean that finding healthy yet tasty snacks can be a bit of a challenge. If I’m out and about or off site for a work meeting then it can be tricky to find anything, let along tasty and exciting things to eat while everyone else pops in to a shop for a choc bar or passes round a plate of custard creams.

There are a few companies around now that offer to post you little boxes of snacks for you to have on hand. These are a great idea, but sadly are often not guaranteed gluten free or don’t have a great variety of suitable gluten free snacks, meaning and you end up with the same variation on peanuts and raisins week and week (I’m talking from past experience here)

Enter Nutribox! This is a Sheffield based company that source snacks from gluten free suppliers, all within the UK, that they then put together into a selection box and post out to delighted gluten free munchers. I must admit I didn’t know much about them until they got in contact and offered me one of their boxes to review. All the products they provide are gluten free – naturally gluten free – meaning they don’t try and supply gluten free alternatives to e.g. muffins, but rather provide healthy, naturally gluten free foods perfect for snacking on – fruit crisps, nuts bars etc.

They offer two sizes of box, mini Nutribox – 8-10 products per box or Nutribox – 18-20 products per box. Both of which can be delivered anywhere in the UK on a monthly basis. The boxes are designed to fit through the letter box, so you won’t have to keep traipsing off to the post office to collect your box of goodies. The range of things on offer and the companies they sources the snacks from differs from month to month, so each box is an exciting surprise as to what you will receive.

On receiving my box I eagerly opened it to find a selection of exciting treats inside, including:
3 raw fruit/choc/nut bars.
Bounce – Cashew & Pecan Vitality Life – A mix of nuts, GF oats, seeds and fruit juices
Braw – Apple & Pear fruit bar – dried apple, pear, dates, almonds and flax
Energy Bomb – Raw Coco Crisp – A high fibre, fruit, nut and cocoa bar

3 little packets of dried fruit and nut mixes by a company called The Ludlow Nut Company.
No Choc Fruit & Nut – Almonds, hazelnuts, sultanas & raisins
Tropical Mix – Banana chips, almonds & coconut
Hot Cross Bun – Cranberries, hazelnuts and sultanas

There were also two small raw chocolate bars. Raw chocolate is something I’ve heard a lot about but never tasted it in bar form before, so I was excited about this.
Ombar – Dark 72% Bio Live Chocolate – Raw, organic, vegan chocolate bar enriched with bio ‘good’ bacteria
Ombar – Cranberry & Mandarin Chocolate – Raw, organic, vegan chocolate bar infused with cranberries and mandarin

A finally an interesting packet of 2 disc shaped raw superfood ‘cookies’
Energise – Raw Fruit ‘Cookies’ – A mix of sprouted almonds, coconut, hemp, flax, agave syrup, cocoa nibs, goji berries, maca and vanilla.

How delicious and exciting do they all sound! I'd normally be thrilled to find even one of these on offer in a shop, so to be presented with a whole box full of new and interesting snacks made me ridiculously happy. I wanted to save some of the treats to take with me to the office or when I’m out and about, but I couldn’t resist trying three of them at home for review purposes.

Energise – Raw Fruit ‘Cookies’
Being raw there is nothing baked about these ‘cookies’ They are simply a mix of delicious, nutritious ingredients squished together to resemble a cookie. There are two raw cookies per 50g pack.
They felt a little soft and ever so slightly sticky to the touch, almost like a flapjack. They smelt strongly of coconut and when bitten into they had a nice chew and slightly sweet flavour. The flavour and texture of the coconut comes through on chewing along with a slight sweetness from the agave and then tartness from the goji berries. The texture was similar to other dried fruit and nut bars I’ve tried, very nice and very moorish. I could quite happily munch on these any time. All very nutritious natural ingredients, so far better than a muffin or chocolate bar.

Energy Bomb – Raw Coco Crisp
On removing the wrapper, this bar felt very dry, dense and firm. There was no softness or give it the texture. It had a strong cocoa aroma, quite bitter and not very sweet. On biting into it, it had a coarse, slightly crumbly feeling in the mouth. It wasn’t unpleasant but I wouldn’t hurry to have another one. It would certainly fill you up and provide you with a long supply of energy, probably ideal if out on a hike. I felt it would be more something I would eat for its benefits, rather than because I enjoyed it. It was perfectly pleasant, but not treat-worthy enough to make me crave another one. I found it too chalky and bitter, and this is coming from a girl who likes to eat 90% dark chocolate.

Ombar – Raw Dark 72% Bio Live Chocolate
The idea behind raw chocolate is that it has not been heat treated so all the powerful enzymes and antioxidant are still at their peak. It’s also had live bio cultures added to it to aid digestion – the same thing they do with some probiotic yoghurt drinks. So health benefits aside, how did it taste?
The aroma is what struck me first on unwrapping the bar. A deep, rich and intensely dark chocolate aroma wafted up to greet me. The bar had been divided into segments which broke apart with a very pleasing and loud, clear ‘snap’ the mark of a good chocolate. No dull thunk of poor chocolate here! On eating, the bar dissolved and broke apart in a very nice yet slightly unexpected way. I was expecting something very solid, but it had a very light texture, almost that of a very superior Aero. Light, but also intensely rich and cocoa flavoured. Even after only one piece I found the chocolate flavour lingered for several minutes. A delicious bar and one I would happily eat again. I was pleased to see that it had been lightly sweetened with coconut sugar, so a very natural and healthy bar all round.

I was really impressed with the quality and variety of the treats I received. I love that everything Nutribox send out is always gluten free, how they support local UK food producers and provide such a variety and exciting assortment of snacks and treats, rather than just putting together a few peanuts and raisins. Each snack is the perfect size to pop in your bag, meaning you never have to miss out on the afternoon munchies again. The snacks are unusual, tasty, nutritious and many of them are not readily available in local shops, meaning you get to sample some really innovative and artisan products. Much better than a plate of custard creams!

Special Offer
Nutribox have been generous enough to offer the first 10 Apple & Spice readers an amazing 50% off their first box! Simply put the following code (APPLE&SPICE50) – without the brackets – into the discount code box on the Join page.
Offer applies to the first 10 customers only, and must have a UK delivery address. So you better be quick!


Caroline said...

They all look really interesting, and what a great idea - there must be plenty of coeliacs out there in the same position as you, wanting an interesting range of snacks. Great review.

The Nutribox said...

Fantastic review Katie. Thanks a lot for trying our Nutribox-mini. We're so glad you enjoyed it!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a fabulous box to receive! I'd be curious about everything in there too :)

Komal said...

Hi! I just discovered your blog, can;t believe I've never come across it before. It's lovely, plus you've been going since 2007 that's great. I thought I was the first one to have started a food blog in sheffield that was still going but you've proved me wrong!