Many thanks to blog reader, Amy, for alerting me to yet another reason the demand for almonds has gone up: the arrival of an unsweetened almond milk product line on store shelves that has apparantly been the new buzz on the Protein Power Discussion Forum of late.
Not sure how I zoned out and missed this, since I’m constantly combing the shelves for just this kind of product, but there it is; I missed it.
The Almond Breeze of yore, like most of the non-dairy ‘beverages’ on the market, contained a ton of added sugar per serving, about 20 grams or so; while we might like the fat and carb profile of the almonds themselves, we sure didn’t like that slug of cane juice. The new product line for Almond Breeze (a division of Blue Diamond Almonds) fixes that problem and, quite smartly, avoids another potential mistep by choosing not to sweeten the product artifically themselves, leaving the choice of doing that or not and of picking what to do it with to the consumer.
Unsweetened Almond Breeze comes in three flavors–original, vanilla, and chocolate–and has a great nutritional profile and ingredient list devoid of added bad fats, unwanted preservatives or sweeteners of any sort. Thus, if you want to sweeten it and sucralose melts your butter you can add it in. If you’re a stevia devotee, instead, no problem; add it in. If it’s xylitol or ertythritol or tagatose for you, you can knock yourself out!
Imagine: a single gram of carb in 8 fluid ounces of the original or vanilla flavor and a whopping 2 grams in the chocolate! How great is that? And what a boon to the low carb community, too. I can see recipes for pudding, ice cream, frappuccino, and how about a blanc manger or biancomangiare, in Italian? Yeowwie! Gotta get to work on that a.s.a.p.
I recall one spectacular biancomangiare Mike and I enjoyed on a trip to Sicily. We were staying at the fabulous wine estate, Regaliali, in the countryside as part of a foodie tour with a group of friends, led by our friend, American expat, best selling travel and cookbookauthor, and passionate promoter of artisanal Italian food, Faith Willinger.
Our stay at Regaliali included a series of cooking classes and one of the dishes we prepared was biancomangiare, which we enjoyed for dessert that night after a spectacular Sicilian dinner, gathered around the enormous square wooden farmtable in the Regaliali kitchen with our friends and lots of good wines from their cellars. That one may rank as the best I’ve ever eaten; of course, the setting didn’t hurt.
Almond trees flourish in Sicily and we’d been treated to the sight of grove after grove of almond trees in flower. I remember one ancient grove on the slopes of some ruins at, I believe, Agrigento; quite a beautiful juxtaposition of the delicate pale pink flowering trees against the backdrop of tumbling ancient stone walls.
Yes, I’m going to give the new Unsweetened Almond Breeze a try in making biancomangiare soon and when I do, I’ll share the recipe with you.
But first, with the demand for almonds on the rise, I think I’ll go plant a few almond trees in the back yard. In just three short years, I’ll have a crop…it they don’t get rustled.