It is no secret that I love to snack. I mean what goes better with the perfect cocktail than something wonderfully salty and savory?
Pretzels are the one snack food that has come a very long way since my celiac diagnosis many, many years ago. There was one product that was one of my all-time favorite snacks when they came out and I have never found a replacement — until now. Snyder’s of Hanover was always my go-to pretzel when I was eating gluten. They had one product that was truly way ahead of its time and when it hit the market it was THE snack item for a very long time. I am of course referring to their Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Pieces. I just thought that those were, well, the best thing since sliced bread. They were heavily coated pretzel pieces with the most amazing flavor that I had ever come across.
After my diagnosis I would walk down the snack aisle and see them staring back at me, almost taunting me from the shelf. Over the many years since my diagnosis the snack aisle has truly evolved. First, there was the inclusion of flavored chips which mimicked their gluten-filled counterparts, then we saw larger manufacturers roll-out gluten-free versions of their mainstays — Snyder’s was one of them. While this was all well and good — something was missing. It was those damned honey mustard pieces that I just could not get our of my head.
Well, after many years of literally cursing the flavored pretzel shelf under my breath as I walked by — something caught my eye at, of all places, my little local market that stocks a range of gluten-free items from around the world. What was it that was staring back at me? You guessed it — my beloved honey mustard pretzel pieces that were back (albeit in stick form) in all their gluten-free glory. Enter Snyder’s of Hanover Gluten-Free Honey Mustard and Onion Pretzel Sticks.
Okay, so they were sticks but I tossed two bags in my cart and raced home. I could not wait to tear into them. Oh, it was like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one. But I still wondered would they just be a gluten-free let-down of wonderfully gluten-filled times gone by?
Alas, when I tore into the bag I stuck my nose in and took a good whiff. Instantly I was transported bag to another time and place that only a previous olfactory experience can create. Yes, I know they are pretzels but when you love something that you can no longer have and there is even a remote possibility that it will transport you back to another time and place — well, it is kind of a big deal. I slowly pulled a pretzel from the bag, noting that it was quite heavily coated with what I was hoping would be instant pretzel Nirvana. I slowly to a bite and at that moment it hit me — the flavoring was exactly as I had remembered <cue the gluten-free angels singing>. It was a remarkable gluten-free moment to me because it was like having an old friend back. Seriously. I love food and to have missed something for so long and have it come back in gluten-free form is the stuff that my gluten-free dreams are made of.
These sweet and savory little pieces of perfection are hands-down one of my favorite snack items of all time. If you too remember the pretzel pieces from days gone by — and like me have been on a quest to replicate them — your search is over. These are the real deal and the the flavor is identical to the gluten-filled versions. I-D-E-N-T-I-C-A-L.
The evolution of gluten-free snack foods has, in my opinion, now come full-circle and if you come across these in your local snack aisle — do not pass them by. Now please excuse me while I go and find a mallet in the kitchen to smash these puppies into the pieces I remember.