When the nice folks at Hail Merry emailed me and asked me if I was interested in receiving products for a potential review on the blog, I was really excited.
I love Hail Merry. Yes, I know I could make macaroons and raw granola and soaked/flavored/dehydrated nuts and seeds on my own – and I do – but as much as I cook a lot from scratch, sometimes it is nice to open up a package of goodness that uses almost exactly same ingredients I would use. All of Hail Merry’s products are refined-sugar-free and raw or high-raw, using soaking and dehydration methods. And GFCO certified, which is basically the gold standard in packaged gluten-free products.
I often am asked if I consume sugar / what my thoughts are on sugar. I limit my sugar consumption across the board – I remember times in my life where I was so addicted to iced chai lattes that the cravings were intense and awful – I never want to go back there, ever. That said, I do enjoy some sweets occasionally. I choose to consume only unrefined sugar, my favorite being coconut sugar, followed by agave and maple syrup. That said, while I think those sugars work better for me, I am still aware that sugar is sugar, so on a day-to-day basis I usually just use stevia (usually this vanilla stevia). Once in a while I either make or buy a sweeter treat. I do have to be careful to mindfully portion as I am far from immune to sugar craving, but I do find them easier to manage when eating natural sugars.
One of my favorite brands is Hail Merry, because their point of view closely mirrors mine – whole ingredients, no refined sugar, low in natural sugars, packed with ingredients such as nuts and seeds. The Hail Merry Grawnola was new to me. I tried all three kinds: Lemon Blue Agave, Hemp Xtra Protein Cherry Almond and Orange Cranberry. All three kinds are raw, vegan, gluten-free, low in natural sugars, devoid of refined sugars and do not contain any added oils, deriving their richness instead from soaked and dehydrated nuts and seeds.
The Lemon Blue Agave is best eaten out of hand – it is lemony and lightly sweet – while the Orange Cranberry and the Cherry Almond were both delicious atop green smoothies:
I love raw granola as smoothie toppers – you don’t need a lot to get the effect, and they add delightful texture. I should add that I usually dislike all things cherry flavored and yet *loved* the Cherry Almond Hemp Grawnola – the flavor balance is perfect. I enjoyed it with almond milk:
While the Lemon Grawnola contains agave (one of the better brands of it too), the Cherry Almond and Orange Cranberry do not – those contain some maple syrup and the evaporated cane juice on the cherries and cranberries. All three Grawnolas are low in sugar – would I eat them every day? No, because that would set off sugar cravings, but occasionally these work well for me.
Bottom line, these Grawnolas are one of my top choices when I decide I want raw granola but do not want to spend two days dehydrating it or to turn on the oven and make a batch. They are pricy, but that is a reflection of the quality of the ingredients – mostly organic - and the labor-intensive nature of their preparation. And really, the flavor and quality is so worth it.
I am submitting this review to next week’s Gluten-Free Wednesday over at the Gluten-Free Homemaker, a collection of gluten-free recipes and product reviews.
Specific disclosure: I received these products from Hail Merry in exchange for my consideration of reviewing them here. I was under no obligation to review the products and my opinion was not influenced by the fact I received them free of charge.
General Disclosures & Disclaimers