This week I broke into a box load of breakfast goods that arrived in my mailbox from Wildway, a Texas company that makes grain-free granola, hot cereal and smoothie mixes.
I love granola. I’m a regular chipmunk when it comes to the stuff. I eat it for breakfast, stuff it in little baggies to eat while I’m paddling, biking or hiking, and occasionally roll out of bed in the dead of night and nibble on it while in a state of semi-slumber.
But this didn’t exactly look like – or more precisely feel like – the granola I normally eat.
Wildway, started by Kelli and Kyle Koehler of San Antonio, crafts its granola without grain, which makes it popular with the Paleo crowd. But the Koehlers say they weren’t just catering to that audience when they developed their product, which doesn’t have refined sugar, gluten or dairy ingredients. They wanted to make a nutrient dense food that tasted good.
I tore open a little pouch of banana nut granola: Soft, chewy and not a trace of crunch, something I actually like in my granola. This seemed more like a fat slab of banana bread that’s been crumbled up and tossed into a pouch.
Interesting. I ate it plain, as a snack. I always need stuff that I can keep on hand when I’m on the go. It fit the bill in that respect. But still. Crunch-free granola? Unsure.
The next day, I poured myself a bowl of Wildway coconut cashew granola and doused it with almond milk. You could put coconut on a piece of styrofoam and I’d love it, by the way. I’m a sucker for that tropical, nutty flavor.
This time I felt like I was eating a bowl full of chewy, slightly sticky coconut macaroons. (Anybody remember Cookie Quisp? Cookies for breakfast!)
I checked the Wildway ingredient panel – organic dates, walnuts, organic coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dry roasted cashew, pecans and vanilla bean. No oats. No sugar.
Then, for comparison, I checked the ingredient panel on the box of HEB granola with pecans hiding out in my pantry. The top ingredient? Rolled oats, followed by sugar. Ouch. Also on the list? Pecan pieces, sunflower oil, rice flour, caramelized milk powder, dried coconut, honey, wheat gluten, barley and some other stuff I can’t pronounce. I missed the crunch in the Wildway a little less and appreciated the ingredients a little more.
I’m yet to dig into the instant hot cereal packets that arrived in my Wildway box, but I’ll try those next. I don’t expect my hot cereal to pack a crunch, so I think I might like it better.
An interesting side note? The Koehler landed their products in Whole Foods stores after cold-calling a buyer at the Austin-based grocer. The buyer they wanted to meet wasn’t in when they dropped by, so they left some samples. They got a call back within days, and Wildway granola landed on Whole Foods shelves just weeks later.
You can buy it at Whole Foods, HEB and online at www.wildwayoflife.com. An 8-ounce pouch of granola ranges in price from about $5 to $6, depending on where you buy it.