Nutty snack attack

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The expert snack hunter moves catlike with an athletic fluidity. And with each soundlessly pouncing step, the expert snack hunter nimbly exhibits studied caution and deliberate care. Thus was I recently slithering panther-like, slit-eyed and ever-ready to snare unaware prey while I patiently padded through the pertinent aisles of a close-by store. Then, suddenly daring to flit across my fierce and roving stare, came the very kind of attractive packaging that can rouse my savage snacking attention. -G.A. Benton

What I tried: True North Almond Clusters and Pistachio Crisps ($3.29 each)

A little misdirection: True North is a brand I'd never heard of that loudly and (obviously) effectively promises to be 100 percent natural. (Turns out that can include things such as monocalcium phosphate, though, to be fair, most of True North's ingredients do not read lab-like.)

At the top of each unglossy, zip-lock resealable, earth-tone-y beige pouch is an arrow that, in the manner of a compass, ostensibly points in the direction of the brand's name. Accordingly, the pouches claim "When a strong passion guides your life, it becomes your true north," and go on to boast of no preservatives, no artificial flavors, no added colors and good sources of protein.

This all made for some pretty good full-disclosure-type reading, and it was only when I finally reached the super-fine print at the very bottom of the bags that I discovered words that faintly whispered a hidden little secret: "Frito Lay."

Cracker snacker: Though the package for the pistachio crisps depicts a couple of crackers enveloped by bunches of nuts, do not mistake these for anything other than full-on crackers. But they're nice enough crackers, hexagonally shaped, mildly sweet, lightly salted and speckled with plenty of pistachio bits, which do lend them some nutty punch. They're also effective foils and carriers for sliced cheeses and, especially, Italian-style deli meats.

Nut jobs: The Almond Clusters are just that - small clumps of almonds bound together by a restrained sweet glaze. They're good, too - a little sweet, a little salty, a little smoky, and a whole lot nutty and crunchy. The nutty bundles eat sort of like grown-up Cracker Jack or Fiddle Faddle, minus the popcorn and dental threat.

Would I eat them again?: Yes, especially the almond clusters. In fact, these decent munchies have piqued my interest in other True North products.

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