I love granola. Chunky, sink-your-teeth-into-a-piece granola. While there are many gluten-free granolas out in the marketplace, one brand caught my eye on its chunks alone–Laughing Giraffe Organics. Here is my review.
Laughing Giraffe Organics Gluten-Free Granola is not made from certified gluten-free oats or a non-gluten-containing grain. Instead, nuts are the main ingredient that form the structure of the granola and hold all the other ingredients together. As the flavor names may or may not explain:
Walnuts and pecans are at the heart of the Walnut Pecan Cherry Ginger,
Cashews and macadamia make up the Pineapple Macadamia Coconut Cacao and,
Walnuts, pecans and almonds form the base for the Cranberry Orange Cacao
I was first drawn to this granola at Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe, when I lived in Fairfield, CT. Since moving, I’ve seen it in my local Whole Foods Market as well as other Whole Foods locations around the country.
I first picked up the bag to check out its gluten-free, raw and vegan claims. While not certified gluten-free by a certifying organization, there are no grain or grain flours so I felt comfortable testing it out. Again, the big chunks of nuts and fruit intrigued me so I spent the $10.99 for an 8oz. bag ($9 online) providing just 4 servings. Yikes! At that cost, this granola better be good.
I love the texture of Laughing Giraffe’s gluten-free granola. The big chunks are hardy, yet not hard where they scratch the mouth. To my liking, they are chewy and yielding instead. Another plus…the chunks don’t have a sticky remnant from the sweetener, like so many other granolas do.
With respect to flavor, I like the Walnut Pecan Cherry Ginger. I can’t detect much cherry, but the walnuts, pecans and ginger combine for a flavorful experience. The Pineapple Macadamia Coconut Cacao is a mildly-pleasing combination of macadamia and coconut, but I just don’t get any pineapple or cacao. Perhaps in both cases there are too many competing flavors for all to shine through. I can’t speak to the Cranberry Orange Cacao as it wasn’t available and I am not a fan of cranberry orange anything, so wouldn’t have bought it even if I could.
From a nutrition perspective, these granolas have clean ingredient statements: organic nuts, organic dried fruits, spices and extracts, sea salt and raw agave nectar as the sweetener. That’s it.
But don’t fool yourself into thinking this is a “diet” food, because that it is not. While consisting of natural ingredients, this is a calorie and fat dense food. Just 1/3 of a cup provides 310 calories and 26 grams of total fat. On the flip side, one serving does contain 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein, which is pretty decent for a granola.
At this cost and calorie/fat content, Laughing Giraffe Organics Gluten-Free Granola is one of three things:
a better-for-you indulgence to eat in lieu of cookies or cakes when having a sweet craving
a true energy food to be eaten when expending lots of calories, such as intense hiking or other outdoor activities
a flavor enhancer to be sprinkled in small quantities over other foods