|Isn't this beautiful? |
I had an instant flashback to stores we visited in Amman.
All kinds of health claims are associated with nuts, but whether or not those are true, nuts are the perfect between-meal snack. They are what I call self-limiting, as opposed to, say, potato chips. I eat a small amount of nuts and feel satisfied, likely because of the protein and fibre.
Unfortunately, here in our remote area of Vancouver Island, I discovered I cannot buy fresh nuts locally. The selection is poor, and more importantly, the nuts are not fresh. I guess they don't get enough turnover -- which is a shame, as more people should eat nuts! Also unfortunate as it causes people who do eat them to shop elsewhere. And "elsewhere" for us means online.
I love the lime and saffron flavour.
Going Nuts looks like a great family-owned business, based in Alberta. They seem like a company you'd see at farmer's markets (their schedule is here), specializing in handmade granolas, nut butters, candies, and such. I'm sure their products are delicious, and they were in the running -- until I found Ayoub's.
Ayoub's Dried Fruit and Nuts has six stores in the Vancouver area, and they also ship throughout Canada and worldwide. Here's why I love Ayoub's.
• Selection. They offer a huge selection both of the variety of nuts and how they are prepared -- raw, roasted, unsalted, salted, and lightly salted. (Lightly salted -- how smart!) In a supermarket, even a really good supermarket, I seldom find exactly what I want. For example, I like almonds raw, but cashews roasted. Pistachios salted, but not so salty that your face caves in. And so on. Ayoub's gives you the full range.
• Freshness. Ayoub's nuts are roasted in-store. The most popular nuts, such as cashews, are roasted several times throughout the day -- and they are incredible. Everything is always so fresh. The flavours pop.
• Mixed nuts. Their "kernel mix" includes almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and shelled pistachios. I buy the lime and saffron mix (see below) and eat them literally one nut at a time, slowly, savouring the taste. I chronically eat way too fast and these nuts actually slow me down.
• Flavoured nuts. Ayoub's carries nuts that are tossed in their own flavouring blends. I love the lime and saffron flavour, and there is also lime and pepper, and a spicy mix. These are such a treat.
• Dried fruit and nut mixes. You can't really call this trail mix -- it's just too good. There are several different kinds, and unlike most supermarket trail mixes, you know exactly what you're getting and each fruit or nut is high quality.
|Persian Dried Plums|
• Dried fruit! I love dried fruit. Unfortunately I also find it addictive and decidedly not self-limiting, so I eat it only as a treat. Ayoub's has an incredible selection of dried fruit. With each of my orders, I buy one dried fruit mix and try to make it last.
• Except for every-day dried fruit: Ayoub's sells these amazing green raisins, made from green seedless grapes. They are larger than ordinary raisins and so delicious. I also buy dates to make this super delicious healthy snack. I had been using dried, packaged dates from the baking section of the supermarket. This is a huge improvement.
• Price. I compared Ayoub's prices to our local supermarket, and they were the same or less -- for much higher quality.
• Free shipping -- maybe. If you live in western Canada or in the US, the free shipping threshold is a bit high, but well worth it. Unfortunately for Eastern Canada and the North, the shipping costs are probably prohibitive, unless you have a big family, or perhaps are splitting an order with friends. I don't know why it costs less to ship to the US than to Newfoundland; it must be a Canada Post thing.
Another reason I love Ayoub's is a personal preference. On my way to a union education retreat, I visited an Ayoub's store in Vancouver. It was an instant flashback to stores we enjoyed in Cairo and especially Amman. A North American version, but a very similar vibe -- warm and welcoming, attentive, knowledgeable, proud of their quality goods. I have found this to be true in Middle Eastern stores in any city I've been in.
Right now Ayoub's has a promotion called "Binge Watch Essentials". For $99, it includes 10 1-pound bags of a variety of goodies, including baked vegetable chips and chocolate-covered almonds. I always prefer to choose my own variety, but this is a great deal -- and very clever marketing for the lockdown.
They must be swamped with orders, as the service is a bit slower than usual, or it might be Canada Post's slower service during the pandemic, or perhaps a bit of both. My most recent order took a few days longer than usual, but really, who cares. When it arrived, it was correct, fresh, and so delicious.
In conclusion, eat nuts! Try Ayoub's and let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: None needed, ever. No "affiliates" or stealth marketing here. Just a rave review.