|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.
OK, now I need to know why Bulk Barn creeps you out. Is is the aggressively No-Name style marketing that looks like it was lifted wholesale from Loblaw?
Ha! The ones I saw in Mississauga didn't seem clean, there was no product information (country of origin, when the bin was last refilled), the aisles were narrow, so it was hard to move around. It was at the cheap end of the mall, not in a place I expect to see food.
It felt like I was buying food at the Dollar Store. Dollar Stores are great for party supplies. But for soup? Not so much.
I'm one of those people who value the quality of the food-shopping experience. That may seem frivolous or foolish, but I enjoy shopping in well-lit stores with wide aisles, and a lot of product information. (It's why I'm a sucker for Whole Foods.) I also want to know, as much as possible, where my food comes from. In Bulk Barn I wondered if it came from the back of some sweaty guy's van. :)
I think most bulk-food shops are closed for the duration. How often do you get down to Courtenay? Costco has a pretty good deal on mixed nuts, cashews, etc. You can also order delivery online. It might work in a pinch.
"I'm one of those people who value the quality of the food-shopping experience."
I take perverse pleasure in hitting No Frills and the Bulk Barn in the same trip. It's like shopping in an inevitable dystopian future. Zero ambience is the ambience. :-)
Hi Disaffected Lib!
Shopping in Courtenay (3.5 hours away) is not sustainable for me -- even Campbell River (2.5 hours) is not. For us, it's either very local, like right down the street, or online.
I do really like that Ayoub's is family-owned, and local in the larger sense.
John F, that is definitely a thing. I'm sure those stores are designed to reinforce the Getting The Best Deal buzz. :)
I'm jealous of people who can have pounds and pounds of nuts in the house and not scarf them all down immediately! They're so delicious I can't stop myself, even if I've reached satiety.
I'm like that for any chips or similar snack. Especially cheetos, cheese doodles, etc. I can't have them in the house unless I'm planning to eat them all. But not nuts!
Laura, add Costco to that list. I think the shopping experience there is carefully designed to make you feel like an insider. "Oh, you're a member? You can go right into the warehouse..."
A certain family member of mine (not my partner) is obsessed with Costco. I went there once with him -- the only time I've been in a Costco -- and I felt overwhelmed. It was too much. Home Depot affects me the same way. The minute I step foot in the store, I want to leave.
I should add, overwhelmed and exhausted. Not sure how this happens, but the store literally makes me tired.
I had a Costco membership about 20 years ago. I think of it as the Andy Warhol store because of how massive the products are compared to their regular versions (yes, even the soup cans).
I once decided to pick up some motor oil while there. After hunting fruitlessly for a while, I spied a large black plastic container that looked right. It seemed to be 4 litres instead of 1, but I figured I'd use it up eventually. I turned the container around to check the rating. It was labelled "EUROPEAN SHAMPOO".
I found the oil a bit later. It was Penzoil brand, and came in a 20-gallon drum called a "PenzBarrel". I bought my oil later at a gas station...
My experience is it's something about the lights that make stores tiring. Stores that made me tired before the head injury are the same ones whose lights I can see flicker after the head injury.
I haven't yet figured out precisely which qualities those lights have. (They're often, but not always, fluorescent lights, but also not all fluorescent lights have that effect.)
You see them flicker now but you didn't before... that must be disconcerting.
Post a Comment