Have you ever met someone or had an experience that left you feeling incredibly inspired? I recently kicked off a new partnership with Sahale Snacks (pronounced Su-hall-ee) and find myself feeling inspired to try new things and to eat more foods that are wholesome and thoughtfully sourced. There are so many convenience foods out there that just aren’t good for you. Some of them don’t even taste good. Sahale Snacks is very different. Their snack mixes, blends and bars contain only the best nuts available, naturally dried preservative-free fruits, and fabulous ingredients like lemongrass, honey, chipotle chili, and pure ground Madagascar vanilla beans. It’s something you can feel really good about.
I am so passionate about food. You might have guessed that if you’re a regular reader. And at age 45, with a son who has left the nest, I find myself seeking new adventures and eager to experience new things. Sahale Snacks encompasses all of that. They are delicious snacks that go beyond ordinary.
HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED
You’re going to love this story. Sahale Snacks co-founders, Josh and Edmond, were good friends (both journalists and food enthusiasts) and had done many climbs and hikes together. The two share a passion for adventure and they treat food as an experience. The food they usually brought with them on these adventures was some form of sausage, cheese, bread, and of course wine. On a guided climb up Mt. Rainier in August of 2003, the guide wouldn’t allow them to bring their normal feast – only trail mix and dehydrated food. Think back to what trail mixes were like back in 2003. Clearly that wouldn’t do for these two guys.
The very next day, they set out in Josh’s kitchen to improve upon what had become the standard for trail mix. They opened up the spice cabinet, got creative and ended up with 15 batches of Sahale Snacks. Some of the original flavors are still being made today. Isn’t that just the most inspiring story?
The adventure continues. Last year Edmond and Josh traveled to Vietnam to a cinnamon farm north of Hanoi, along the boarder of China. They learned about how the cinnamon was farmed and how they could become a long term partner with this farming community. They are also supporting efforts in Vietnam to remove old and unexploded bombs that are buried in the ground leftover from war years. They seem like two incredible guys.
Edmond was nice enough to spend a morning chatting with us about the Sahale brand and share his story.
MY TRIP TO SEATTLE
This new year-long partnership started off with a trip to Seattle to go on a factory tour and meet with the Sahale Snacks team and co-founder, Edmond Sanctis. It was pretty much 2 days of non-stop food and fun with the Sahale crew, marketing team, and 4 other Sahale Snacks Ambassadors. If you’ve never been to Seattle, my best description for you is Foodie Heaven. There are so many options for amazing farm-to-table restaurants. Incredibly fresh food, lovingly prepared. The people of Seattle know how to eat. Well.
We dined at two of Seattle’s top restaurants – Urbane and Sitka & Spruce. Both amazing. I almost lost my composure when chef and Food Network star, Tyler Florence, walked by and stopped to chat with one of the chefs at Sitka & Spruce.
We did more than just eat in Seattle, we also spent some time with photographer, David Clugston, and food stylist, Rachel Grunig. They are responsible for the gorgeous new Sahala Snacks packaging rolling into stores. They are experts in their fields of photography and food styling and were gracious enough to spent time with us in David’s studio sharing tricks of the trade.
It was very hands on and incredibly informative. I left with some great tips.
The pic above is the oh-so sweet Amy of Oh So Savvy Mommy doing what bloggers do best.
Here’s Julianne making sure she gets the perfect shot.
PIKE PLACE MARKET
We spent some time at famous Pike Place Market where we embarked on a culinary scavenger hunt.
I always enjoy spending time in Pike Place Market when I visit Seattle. I really need to dedicate a whole post to it. It’s really a wonderful place to get unique gifts, incredibly fresh produce, seafood, gorgeous bouquets of flowers and so much more.
I spent some time hanging out with the fabulous and funny Andi of Misadventures of Andi and we had a blast together. We ended up in a spice shop where I took a pic of a giant jar of Taco Seasoning. It was one of the things I found during our scavenger hunt, and allowed me to check off the box for an item that I’m always sure to have in my kitchen. I love making my own homemade taco seasoning.
After coming across that giant jar of taco seasoning, we found ourselves with a serious craving for tacos. It’s funny how that happens. So we met up with the lovely Julianne of Beyond Frosting for a spectacular taco lunch at El Borracho – an unassuming little Mexican restaurant just outside of the market.
SAHALE HEADQUARTERS AND FACTORY TOUR
At Sahale Snacks headquarters I got to tour the production line and sampled just about every single one of their products. I can telly you that there is a lot of care that goes into creating and producing Sahala Snacks.
Check out this fun pic of me and the other bloggers after our factory tour.
From Madagascar vanilla to cinnamon and black pepper from Vietnam, every single ingredient that goes into a Sahale Snacks is sourced/created to perfection. The fruit is naturally dried and is unsulfered, and preserved in fruit juice instead of preservatives. They dry roast their nuts instead of using oil. They choose ingredients with a story and seek to find the best ingredients available.
Near the end of the trip, Sahala had one final surprise for us. They turned us loose in their test kitchen for a mixology session where we got to create our own Sahale mixes!
I teamed up with my friend and fellow blogger, Jeana, from the travel blog Surf and Sunshine to create a sweet and spicy Korean BBQ Mix. Jeana’s Korean heritage on her mom’s side and our shared love for all things spicy inspired our mix.
Sahale sent me a professionally packaged bag of my “Soeul Spicy” blend along with the other bloggers mixes. They are all really great!
Not to brag, but our “Seoul Spicy” blend is pretty spectacular.
Jeana & Angela’s Seoul Spicy Blend
Inspiration: Korean BBQ
Ingredients: Cashews, Almonds, Pineapple, Organic Tamari Powder, Brown Sugar, Sea Salt, Ginger, Garlic, Sesame Seeds, Black Pepper, Orange Peel Powder, Cayenne, Guajillo Powder, Rice Vinegar, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Honey.
In tasting different spices, I discovered some new ones like the Guajillo Powder which has a strong fruity and almost smoky flavor, and the Organic Tamari Powder which is essentially soy sauce in a powder form. I look forward to incorporating some of these spices in my home cooking.
EXPERIENCE THE ADVENTURE YOURSELF
Feeling adventurous? You don’t have to be a world traveler to experience new and unique flavors. You can experience a taste of Thailand with Sahale Snacks Thai Cashews Glazed Mix Nut Blend. Or you can discover the flavors of the south with Valdosta Pecans Glazed Mix. (Two of my personal favorites.)
Meeting the people behind Sahale Snacks and learning their story has inspired me to be more adventurous, to follow my passions, do what I love and to only settle for the very best ingredients in the foods I eat.
You’ll be glad to know that Sahale Snacks are readily available in stores like 7 Eleven, Walmart, Costco Wholesale, Kroger, Safeway, Whole Foods Market, and Hudson News stores in airports.
The Sahale Snacks Ambassadors
“Thoughtfully sourced, carefully crafted, committed to community.”
Some images provided courtesy of the J.M. Smucker Company. This post is part of an ongoing sponsored #SahaleInspire project. Over the next year, I look forward to sharing my snacking experiences with you.