My first post for 2013 is hopefully one that will help many people out there that have some wheat or gluten intolerance. When you are enjoying a glass of wine, it is nice to have some cheese and crackers to go along with it. But for those that have some intolerance to wheat or gluten, those wheat flour based crackers can give you an upset stomach, heartburn, or other irritation. Last year I attended Food Talks Vol 5, where one of the speakers was Kalpna Solanki from Martin’s Marvelous Naturals. Kalpna had successfully developed a whole range of gluten-free and nut-free cookies, crisps, granola and more for people to enjoy.
Martin’s Marvelous Naturals Products
Wheat products do give me heart burn, so I was very interested to try Kalpna’s products. She graciously sent me the following to samples:
- classic chocolate chip cookie
- sunflower seed raisin granola
- chocolate mole crisps
- date & olive tapenade crisps
- rosemary lavender crisps
- pumpkin seed cranberry crisps
- fig salami
Quite a range of crisps. I am particularly looking forward to the rosemary lavendar crisps, I think in part because I love lavender ice cream (which I became enamoured with when I travelled to France), and part because I think it might go very well with a glass of pinot noir.
My Wines for the Taste Test
For this blog posting I am going to taste the crisps and the salami. To these items, I will select one red and one white wine from my cellar for pairing. As I mentioned the rosemary lavendar crisps might be perfect with Pinot Noir, so my red wine will be the Meyer Family Vineyards McLean Creek Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009 from the Okanagan, BC. For the white wine I have picked the Miguel Torres Cordillera Chardonnay 2011 from Chile. My past reviews of these wines:
- Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, McLean Creek Road Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, 2009. This wine was medium garnet in colour. It does have a very pronounced nose with developing fruit characteristics. There are red fruits, red cherries, red & black currants, vanilla and oak, with hints of smoke, violets and some herbal aromas. Dry with higher levels of acidity, tannins and body. Red fruit, red cherry, strawberry, black currant and black currant leaf, some sweet spice, vanilla and a tiny bit of violet flavour on your palate. Very dry, long finish. This wine left the back of my tongue very dry, but shows it’s potential now with the good quality fruit flavours and higher acidity. Wait at least a year or longer for the tannins to soften and you should have an outstanding wine. (reviewed Nov. 2011)
- Miguel Torres Cordillera Chardonnay 2011. Nice tropical fruit and vanilla aromas. Medium body with tropical fruit, citrus and a touch of sweet spices. Dry on the palate. Very pretty. (reviewed March 2012)
As I noted for the Pinot Noir the tannins needed at least a year to soften a bit. So it is now January 2013, so it should be interesting to see how the aging in the bottle has progressed. I have a Dutch Gouda cheese as well to try with these crisps and wine.
- Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, McLean Creek Road Vineyard, Okanagan Falls, 2009. The wine was deep garnet with quite a dark core almost to the rim (part of barrel variation?). Light violet aromas followed by a larger component of red cherries, sweet speices and vanilla. Nice nose. Full body, dry with medium tannins and a minerality to it. Red cherries, ripe plums, sweet spice and a hint of cocoa on the palate. Long finish with some spice and oak. A very complex wine.
- Miguel Torres Cordillera Chardonnay 2011. Medium plus golden in colour. Lots of tropical fruit and pineapple followed by vanilla aromas. Luscious round mouthfeel, yet dry. Medium acidity support the roundness in your mouth. Lots of tropical fruit flavour. Long length with a bit of pepperiness on the sides of your tongue.
The Tasting Results
You can see many of the ingredients on these crisps. The seeds, berries, etc are not homogenized so that you get no texture. You can actually bite into a cranberry or an olive. Check out my photo of these crisps below.
Pumpkin seed cranberry crisps
I could taste the pumpkin seed more than the cranberries. The cranberry flavour was there but was quite light. This crisp was crunchy and tasted slightly salty. The cranberries added a chewy component to these crisps. The crisp with the chardonnay was an OK pairing. Neither really enhanced the flavour of the other. Similarly for the gouda cheese. But the crisp did pair nicely with the Pinot Noir. The cranberry flavour meshed with the cherries and spice from the wine.
Rosemary lavender crisps
I could really smell the lavender and rosemary from this crisp and loved it. Both flavours jump out at you when you take a bite, with the lavendar lasting longer on your tongue. You can also taste the saltiness, but not to the same degree as the pumpkins seed cranberry crisps. Note that all 4 of these crisps have the same amount of salt/sodium, but the intensity of the flavours of these crisps differ, so on some you can taste the salt more than others. Overall though, the salt is not overwhelming, so don’t worry about it.
I really like this crisp on it’s own as well as with the wines and the cheese. With the Chardonnay I think the tropical fruit flavour and acidity paired nicely with the rosemary and lavender flavours. The salt in the crisp added a mineral component to the wine. The creaminess and sharp flavour of the gouda also played nicely with the crisp’s flavours. The violet aroma was nice with the rosemary from the crisp, followed by the lavender.
Date & olive tapenade crisps
You can smell the dates and olives in this crisps, as well as taste them. This crisp has a more darker, savory, bitter (olive) flavour compared to the previous two crisps, but amazingly did not taste as salty. I could also taste the cumin in the crisp. A nice crisp.
The olives in the crisp paired well with the Chardonnay. The cheese and the crisp did not enhance each other’s flavours, as well as with the Pinot Noir.
Chocolate mole crisps
This crisp had the boldest flavour of the 4 crisps and I thought may really made it more difficult to pair with wine, but I was wrong. I could definitely smell the chocolate in this crisp, and taste the chocolate and sweet spices (cinnamon, allspice). Tasted like a Christmas pudding to me. Very tasty and the salt was barely noticeable for me. (I am quite picky about salt BTW.)
The sweet spices in the crisp paired very nicely with the Chardonnay, and even the chocolate which kicked in a bit later also complemented the wine. The gouda cheese was not the best pairing. martin’s marvelous naturals recommends a strong cheese with this, and I think they are right. The gouda was a bit too light in flavour. Again those sweet spices from the crisp paired nicely with the Pinot Noir.
My overall winner is the Rosemary Lavendar crisp. On it’s own it was very tasty, and it paired nicely with both wines and the cheese. My second choice/favorite was the Chocolate Mole crisp. It was great on it’s own and the sweet spices paired nicely with the wines. Third choice was the Date & Olive Tapenade crisp. It went well with the Chardonnay and had a nice savoury flavour. My fourth choice was the Pumpkin Seed Cranberry crisp. On it’s own it was nice, but did not pair well with either of my wines.
That being said, these rankings could change if I had changed the wines. What would have happened if I picked a high acid/vegetal flavoured Sauvignon Blanc, or a big tannic Cabernet Sauvignon? Maybe this is something for me, or YOU, to test in the future.
Overall I really liked these crisps. The ingredients on the packages were all things you could buy in the grocery store, such as organic oats, sea salt, cinnamon, and cumin. There were no butylated hydroxyanisole or other hard to pronounce ingredients on any package. I think martin’s marvelous naturals crisps are very tasty and can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless if they are avoiding gluten and nuts, or not.
I will be writing a separate post on their chocolate chip cookies, granola, and fig salami. Enjoy!