22 May 2012



I love when I am able to support local, and Simply Suzanne, a Michigan-based company and makers of some friggin' awesome granola, make supporting local easy.  

I'd seen bags of the stuff around--arranged on shelves of local, independent coffee shops, resting in baskets near Whole Foods' registers--but never gave it a second glance.  You see, I'm not a granola fan.  Most granola provides very little nutritional benefits and, let's face it, if I want to indulge in some delicious, high-calorie sweet treat, it's going to be in the form of a frosted chocolate cake and
not granola.

All this changed, however, when I went to the groundbreaking of
Whole Foods Detroit.  There, they were giving away very generous-sized sample bags of Simply Suzanne Original and Chocolate Granola!  Because it was free, and you can't beat that price, I grabbed a bag of the Original, 100% Vegan Granola.  I looked at the ingredients in the Dark Chocolate and Coffee and none seemed to contain animal products but because it was not stated as being vegan, I decided not to take my chances.

I didn't try the granola that same day because, as I said, I'm not a huge granola fan.  
Last night, however, I opened the little bag, took one cluster, ate it, loved it, and proceeded to finish off the bag.  After finishing it, I then looked at the nutritional information and was quite pleasantly surprised!  The very first thing I looked at was its sugar content because most granolas are LADEN with sugar, and this generous-sized bag contained only 10 grams.  In addition to that, the whole bag was only 230 calories, 4 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein!  This isn't your typical granola!!!  

Anyway, the fairytale ending to my story is that I now have an appreciation and
love for granola, all thanks to Simply Suzanne.  Now let the *glowing* review begin!

TASTE:  ****
I think my intro pretty much conveys my thoughts on the taste of Simply Suzanne Granola, but to be explicit, it tastes GREAT.  As the bag advertises, it is a complex combination of sweet and salty and the small amount of pepper provides an interesting, and I think necessary, flavor accentuation.  No one flavor overpowers and the distribution of sugar and spice is perfect.  You're not going to get large, brown sugar clumps or a pellet of black pepper.  Each oat cluster is coated to perfection.

TEXTURE:  ****
I loved the texture perhaps most of all.  Unlike a lot of granola I've seen--and the few I've tasted--Simply Suzanne Granola contains big honkin' chunks, not little crumbs of oats.  These are actually clusters.  Some even have peanuts (so watch out, those of you with nut allergies!).  I can only imagine how many more clusters there are in a large, normal-sized bag.

As far as granola goes, this stuff does look enticing.  It's not bland and tan, as many granolas look, but rather, warm and golden-y looking with visible cinnamon, brown sugar and pepper speckles, giving it an even richer hue.  Just looking at it (which I now do every time I hit up Whole Foods) makes me want to eat it.

PRICE:  ***
Simply Suzanne sells a 12-ounce bag of this stuff for $7.00 online, and 2-ounce bags cost $2.00.  I realize this might seem a little steep because granola is, essentially, oats and some spices, but it's the perfect amount of these oats and spices that makes Simply Suzanne sooooo good.  Additionally, because it's a small company that makes its granola in small batches, I feel better paying the $7.00 price.  A lot of times, though, you can find bags of the yummy stuff on sale at Whole Foods.

OVERALL:  ****

Four stars, hands down.  Five, maybe, but I'm working on a four-star scale.  I love that this granola is local, crafted in small batches, vegan-friendly AND delicious.  Simply Suzanne comes in four flavors:  Original, Dark Chocolate and Coffee, Lotsa Chocolate and So Very Cherry.  Simply Suzanne also offers two types of trail mix: Apple Rosemary Pecan and Cranberry Pepita Dark Chocolate.  If either of those are vegan, you can best bet I'll be trying them!  

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