Friday, August 14, 2020

Southern Grove Tuscan Trail Mix (Aldi)

Very one-dimensional for a "mix".
One thing I've learned here lately is that trail mix can be a pretty fickle thing: throw in too much of something, or one wrong ingredient, and the entire mix can be dragged down a few pegs, if not altogether ruined. (Who knew that creating a solid trail mix was so...scientific?)

Enter Aldi, which has some of my favorite trail mixes in the biz: their Indulgent blend combines all sorts of unhealthy, sugary sweets together in an impossibly rich concoction that's more dessert than snack; while their “spicy and sweet” deliciously blends both of those flavor profiles together, the sweet helping to counterattack the potent sodium-overloaded spicy seasoning. Even better, their “path blends” (they need more damn synonyms for “trail mix”) are one area where most competitors can't match them in price, with their 25 oz. bags retailing for only a buck or so more than other store brands' 12 oz. bags.

With this in mind, Aldi’s Tuscan trail mix isn’t an outright failure, but it’s probably closer to that metric than an outright success; it's one of the more disappointing offerings down the condiment/dried fruit aisle. Most of Aldi's trail mixes have at least an interesting combination of flavors to keep things interesting, such as the aforementioned “spicy and sweet”: unfortunately, the lack of such a combination here forces this into a very “one-dimensional” taste that, quite frankly, gets real old, real quick.

Adding to the disappointment is that it’s also very “dry”; while that might technically be true of virtually all trail mixes—after all, there really aren’t many “moist” ingredients that fit well into a “portable”, bagged snack—its complete lack of versatility makes it all the more noticeable. Most bites feel like you’re sucking on the machine at a dentists’ office that vacuums all the liquid out of your mouth; after a couple handfuls, you feel like you've been wandering around a desert for a few hours. (I guess on the upside, it helps me to remember to drink water more frequently.)

I do have to give some credit where credit is due: unlike Meijer’s spicy trail mix, which failed to resonate with me for similar reasons, this one at least knows to cut back on the seasoning. Sure, it has a lot of sodium content, just like almost every other “savory” trail mix out there, but it at least doesn’t taste like it, nor does it threaten to give you sodium burn if you eat too many handfuls.

All of this is a shame, because the price tag is right on par with Aldi’s other trail mixes, and because I like all of the individual ingredients. Sesame sticks might just be one of my favorite snack foods ever, as are rye chips, and there’s even a complete lack of pretzels, which have to be everyone’s least favorite addition to any mix (I’d venture to guess for every bag of trail mix or Chex mix thrown in the trash, there are still pretzels left in at least 75% of them).

But even despite the pluses, I find this one to be a very underwhelming trail mix, and one that I won't be getting again in the near future.

Overall: 5/10. Value is very good (a 25 oz. bag is under $5), and the seasoning is kept in check so that it doesn’t taste overly salty—unfortunately, it’s all downhill from there: the taste is incredibly one-note and quickly gets repetitive, while the overabundance of mouth-drying ingredients (“breads”, peanuts and salt) make you feel as if you've been wandering through the Sahara for eight hours after just a couple of handfuls. It's okay, but not something I'd be interested in buying again anytime soon.

4 comments:

  1. wish there were more sesame sticks in iut. just love them or else just have them to buy

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    1. That's my biggest wish too! I've been buying sesame sticks like crazy lately and they're probably my favorite part of these (although the rye chips are always good, too). I would be all for replacing some of the peanuts with some extra sesame sticks!

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  2. I was very disappointed with this mix. I've picked out all the garlic breadsticks and rye chips. i attempted shaking out excess salt from what's left.

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    1. Oh man, the rye chips are one of my favs! Agree with the disappointment, though...why do snack mixes always have to be so damned salty? Are there no ways to just add a little to a bag? Is the salt machine at the trail mix factory broken with "maximum" as the only setting? Almost all snack mixes would be improved with a sodium reduction, yet all seem to add as much as possible.

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