The sample stations get me every time. Whether I’m at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, I can’t help but crane my neck when I see shoppers gathered around for tastings. When you’re gluten-free, pawing at a communal bowl isn’t a smart idea, but fortunately, many sample stations now serve their bites in individual cups or bags to keep cross-contamination (not to mention, germs) at bay. Now the tough part is keeping an eye out for the gluten-free goods.
Which brings me to Brad’s Raw Chips. A few months ago, I was meandering through Whole Foods when I came upon a sampling station for Brad’s Raw Kale Chips. More importantly, I spotted “Gluten-Free” on the banner promoting the product. Naturally, I had to try it.
I scooped up a small cup of the Nasty Hot flavor and pocked a business card. Could be a great local contact, I thought. But first, the taste test. I popped a kale chip in my mouth and crunched. Flavor explosion. It was light and airy, but packed a punch of salt and spice. I tend to boast about my tolerance for hot foods, but this was intense. When I left the store 30 minutes later, I could still feel the tingle on my lips. That being said, I wanted more.
Brad must have read my mind. A week or two later, I received an email from the company, asking if we’d like samples of their product line.
In addition to kale, Brad’s Raw Chips showcase other fresh vegetables, including Sweet Potato, Red Bell Pepper and Beet – all raw, vegan and gluten-free. Now, when you hear “raw,” don’t think “cold and wet.” The chips are dehydrated at a very low temperature, which produces dry, cracker-like consistency (though the kale chips are more delicate), perfect for dipping or snacking.
As for taste, we found the bare chips to be a bit lacking. The Sweet Potato and Beet chips, for example, were a filling, nutritious snack, but could have used some salt or spice. The flavored chips – Indian and Cheddar in particular – had a wonderful zing but still had the raw, almost woody base we were looking for.
Amid all the options, we kept going back to the Kale Chips. Something about the way the leaves crinkled, or how the sea salt hid in its crevices, won our tastebuds over. The fact that kale is a super veggie certainly didn’t hurt, either.
Brad’s Raw Chips are sold in grocery stores and markets on the East Coast and in Iowa, but you can also score them by ordering online. Visit www.BradsRawChips.com.