Update 4/27/16: Sadly, El’s Kitchen has permanently closed.
We are a family of voracious snackers. Each week I stock up on apples (we go through at least 10 pounds), popping corn, chick peas (for making hummus), carrots (for dipping in hummus or just munching on), strawberries, dates (for nutbutter- chocolate “milk” shakes), cucumbers, sunflower seeds & almonds, and dried fruits (mango is a favorite). We try to keep it healthy, but sometimes, we just crave a crunchy, salty treat. Chips are yummy, and I admit I have caved to that bag of Ruffles when it has called my name, but they are loaded with nasty fat.
Always on the lookout for new gluten free snack foods to appear on the market to supplement our whole food treats, I was delighted when a box of El’s Medleys arrived in the mail for me to sample. I opened the box to find three, 5 ounce bags of their “zesty mix”. In flavors of Cheddar, Sour Cream & Onion, and Original, I was hoping for something reminiscent of my childhood favorite “chex mix”. My mom would mix and bake enormous quantities of that 1950’s snack classic in her large blue enamelware turkey roaster for tailgate parties at OSU games, camping trips in our pop-up camper, and for Christmas afternoon nibbling. I loved it! I miss it. I missed it so badly, in fact, that shortly after being diagnosed gluten intolerant, I bought a 1 pound bag from the grocery store’s bakery and ate it all myself. The pain in my hips and knees that pounded deep into my body a day later reminded me that being gluten free was the only way for me to keep my fibromyalgia at bay.
I opened and tasted El’s Medleys Original flavor first. The adjectives on the bag, “lively, robust, zesty, crunchy” were appropriately selected. The mix was very crunchy and decidedly salty, but what I’d want in a treat like this. The Medleys all contain flaxseed corn chips, corn nuts, pretzels, bagel chips, and potato chips along with their particular seasonings. It was certainly an acceptable substitute to squelch my cereal mix yearnings.
Although we generally follow a dairy free diet, I chose to sample both the Cheddar and the Sour Cream and Onion flavor mixes. I know my limits and felt comfortable having a small amount of the product sufficient for offering my feedback. I loved, loved, loved the Sour Cream and Onion and must say definitely it is my favorite of the three. The Cheddar flavor was great, too, probably ranking at #2, with the first cheesy bite having a particularly aged cheese taste (think blue cheese). I love blue cheese, so did not find this offensive, rather interesting. The subsequent bites were just the cheesy profile you’d hope for in a bag of cheesy snacks.
The company states the following:
- No gluten
- No preservatives
- No trans fats
- No cholesterol
- No fake colors
- No fake flavors
- No hydrogenated oil
- No eggs
For your piece of mind, each production run is sampled and tested to confirm gluten levels do not exceed 5PPM.
After our three bags were quickly devoured, I went on El’s website to find out where I could buy their product. They have a list of all the stores where their product is located. The closest store to me was nearly 45 minutes away. It was a health food store I had not yet scouted out. I love food field trips, so after picking up my two kids from elementary school, we took a drive to Kriegers Market. We found loads of snack items, including 15 pounds of apples, 10 pounds of pickling cucumbers (the pickles were made yesterday), our favorite medjool dates, and some nuts and seeds. Unfortunately, El’s isn’t in stock yet, but I was assured that the rep had just been in that day to discuss the order. Yeah!
In the meantime, I’ll be ordering this yummy convenience snack through Amazon or directly on El’s website.
Thank you to El’s for the samples. Although I did receive the zesty mix free of charge, all opinions stated above are my own and I was not compensated for this post.