Crab Chips, Prickly Pear Candy, and Tuna Jerky: A Complete Look at the September 2020 Crate
When I subscribed to SnackCrate, in addition to my starter box I was given the option to get the current month’s box as well. How could I say no?
After enjoying my Canadian starter crate, I could not wait for my next box to arrive! For September 2020, the box was USA Road Trip, featuring regional snacks found in different parts of the country. I was actually really interested in and excited about this theme, as the US is really a very diverse country and there are lots of local treasures to be found.
So without further ado, here’s a complete look at what I thought about the contents of my American Crate:
I can picture a lot of Americans not being the most excited about this Hawaiian snack. However, my sister and I are sushi lovers, and my sister in particular is a big fan of Ahi tuna and was very eager to try this. It actually wasn’t bad! Not overly fishy, but with a distinct tuna flavor paired nicely with savory teriyaki seasonings. The texture was actually nice too, like jerky but soft, thin and flaky and not too dry or chewy. I didn’t love it as much my sister though — sometimes having foods in formats we’re not used to is very jarring, and something about tuna in jerky form felt too off for me. And while not bad, the taste and smell are very strong. There wasn’t very much in the bag either, just a small sampling — but if you normally don’t shy away from seafood, these can actually be a nice savory snack.
Marsha’s Homemade Buckeyes
I was born in Ohio, but moved away when I was small, so I delight in finding small connections to my birth state like this. I absolutely loved these! They’re like a Reese’s peanut butter cup meets a Lindt truffle. The package comes with three generous spheres of rich chocolate and peanut butter. The sphere shape fills your mouth a lot more but is still easy to eat, and it’s so luscious and creamy. The ratio of chocolate and peanut butter is perfect. I only have early memories of Ohio, but I’m glad to say I was born somewhere that can make snacks like these!
Chesapeake Crab Chips
As it may have been made clear above, I love seafood. So I was disappointed to find I actually didn’t like these crab chips that much. They smelled delightful, like salt and vinegar chips, and the taste initially is salty and briny just like crab — excellent! But then there’s a peppery taste that kicks in, not terribly spicy but more like peppercorn, and it burned the back of my throat. I really dislike black pepper and the burn started to overrun the nice saltiness, which disappointed me. But to others (such as my sister again in this case), these are just some yummy salty chips!
Aunt Sally’s Creole Pralines
Holy mama these are DELICIOUS. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like them as much as I did, but wowie. Soft and buttery and with a prominent taste of brown sugar, the taste and texture remind me almost of cookie dough but yet is something distinctly its own, and the flavor of the nuts lightly cuts through just the perfect amount. The sweet aftertaste begs me to take another bite. I’m gonna go to New Orleans just for these. Heck, I can’t wait until I can go to New Orleans, I’ll probably just go ahead and order a whole box online.
Prickly Pear Cactus Candy
A treat right from my backyard! I’ve got a lot to say about these. I may have been born in Ohio but I am a proud Arizonan, having grown up in Tucson. So for those who are unfamiliar: the prickly pear is a type of cactus, and it’s everywhere here. Products made from its fruit can be found everywhere here. Walk into any gift shop and there will be shelves overflowing with boxes of prickly pear candies, prickly pear gummies, prickly pear licorice, prickly pear jelly, prickly pear syrup, prickly pear soap, prickly pear popcorn, prickly pear chocolate bars, there is pretty much a prickly pear flavored version of just about any snack easily available right here in southern Arizona.
That said, given how easy it is to find boxes of several assorted prickly pear candies, I’m used to seeing an abundance of these and felt rather disappointed my SnackCrate came with only a single, individually wrapped candy. One sad, lonely, little jelly cube. Oh well. As for the flavor itself, prickly pear happens to be one of my favorite flavors! These particular candies are made from the jelly, and they are delightfully sweet, chewy, gelatinous, and of course filled with the mellow flavor and wholly distinct southwestern fruitiness of the prickly pear cactus.
The packaging is unassuming, and yes it looks like a turd, but this treat is so yummy! The US is really on a roll with some delicious snacks! This chocolate bar is coated with coconut flakes and filled with marshmallow. For people who aren’t fans of coconut it’s probably not ideal, but I personally really enjoy coconut alongside just being a giant sweet tooth and chocoholic so I loved this! It’s basically like an Almond Joy meets a Hostess Snowball. The flavor is primarily of chocolate and coconut, but the inside is just like a Snowball — light and oh so fluffy and delectably sweet. I’ve had a good amount of chocolate covered marshmallow, but this one just felt so perfectly light and airy, balanced with but not overpowered by the chocolate, and the coconut is such a nice touch. Idaho, you’re doing it right.
This Tennessee snack was so ooey gooey it got absolutely demolished in the Arizona heat when the box was delivered. It was so melted I had to leave it in the freezer for quite some time before I could handle it without it practically dissolving all over my fingers.
That said, it was quite delicious! Chocolate and marshmallow can never go wrong together, and along with that the nuts and chewy caramel inside gave it an absolutely delightful texture, a perfect blend of crunchy and chewy and gooey that was so fun to chew on. Along with impeccable texture, the flavors are excellently matched and come together perfectly in a wholesomely sweet and delicious snack.
Elk Snack Stick
I’ve had elk before, and while I think I like it better than beef, it’s not that different. If you enjoy a good Slim Jim, this savory, meaty snack is also better but not that different.
I had mixed feelings about this one. Whoever came up with peanut-butter filled taffy was certainly imaginative. It’s an interesting experience…the taffy itself is mildly sweet but doesn’t have much flavor otherwise. It’s pleasantly chewy, and goes surprisingly well with the creaminess of the peanut butter inside. The peanut butter flavor feels…right on the cusp of either pairing with everything else really nicely or being far too out of place. This snack is just sort of all-around bizarre yet mostly works. I think my sister’s fiancee put it pretty well — “If someone gave this to me I’d eat it, but I wouldn’t go seeking it out on my own”.
Black and White Cookie
I was SO EXCITED to find this cookie in my box. My dad is from New York and I definitely inherited his love of these delicious cookies, and I have fond memories of baking them with him when I was little. You can never go wrong with a good black and white cookie — even getting one all packaged in plastic like the one in my SnackCrate, the taste feels so homemade. The cookie itself is bready and cakelike, and frosted on one half with a sugary glaze and on the other with a chocolate ganache. Every bite is soft, sweet, and delectably heavenly. Tip: It also goes great with coffee!
Barbecue Flavored Potato Chips
At first I didn’t think much of receiving BBQ potato chips in my box. I mean, it’s not hard to get BBQ potato chips at the nearest grocery store, what’s so special about these ones? Well I’ll admit, these were some pretty popping chips. The flavor was strong, I was instantly hit with a deep and authentic smokiness, a flavor that really felt right off the barbecue to me in ways that most generic BBQ chips don’t. So I guess if you’re really craving truly savory, authentically flavored smoky BBQ chips, Michigan is where to get them.
So I must say, this box was full of deliciousness! There really are some wonderful treats to be found right here in the US, you just have to know where to find them. In particular there are lots of delightful sweet treats — my sweet tooth was doing a happy dance with the amount of chocolate and sugary goodness in this box. But there was certainly a variety of regional snacks featured on this “road trip”. Wherever you go in the US, be sure to give the food a try.