For our hikes we usually cook and dehydrate the food ourselves. But when I heard about Heather’s Choice products, I really wanted to try them out. Firstly, I was attracted by the unusual names of the meals and the ingredients. Secondly, they were created by a professional in the field of sports nutrition and highly balanced in their composition. And thirdly, Heather’s Choice is one of the few brands on the market that produces backpacking meals that do not contain gluten, lactose, soya, artificial additives and preservatives – only natural ingredients. This, of course, affects the price of products, but I’m sure that “you’ll get what you pay for.”
I’ve never been to Alaska where this brand comes from, but I’ve been familiar with Heather through correspondence. I wrote her a letter asking if she would send me a few of her products to test, and she politely agreed. A couple of weeks ago the package containing these cherished products arrived at the post office. We received four products to test: 1 breakfast, 1 main meal and 2 snacks. We could hardly wait to try them out and tested all the samples on our last weekend hike.
So, here are the taste test results…
Smoked Sockeye Salmon Chowder
This chowder is made up of smoked salmon, vegetables, and coconut milk, lightly seasoned with dill and cayenne pepper and definitely deserves a spot in your backpack.
The meal is conveniently packaged in a lightweight compact zip-top pouch that you can pour boiling water into. However, the fill guideline is on the outside of the pouch, rather than inside, which makes it a bit harder to add the right amount of water. I actually had to add more water and prolong the rehydration time because after 20 minutes of steeping some pieces of the carrots and celery were still a little chewy.
In order to eat right from the pouch a long spoon or spork is required.
Taste & Texture
The meal has a great balance of all the ingredients and flavors. I found the texture of the chowder to be quite thick and mushy. The seasoning is spot on, with a warming kick of cayenne that is exactly what you need on a cold day in the woods.
Despite the relatively small package, it contains plenty of food to feed one hungry hiker.
Smoked Salmon Chowder offers 450 calories per 133g serving. One portion provides 13g of fat, 42g of carbs and 37g of protein. It’s also rich in fiber, vitamin A (210% of DV), vitamin C (50% of DV), Iron and Calcium.
Blueberry Cinnamon Breakfast
Tasty, healthy and a very filling breakfast loaded with gluten-free buckwheat, chia and hemp seeds, coconut, dried blueberries, and cinnamon. I found it to be a good alternative to instant oatmeal. This warming and hearty breakfast will energize and keep you going throughout the day!
The preparation method was very simple – I just added boiling water directly into the pouch, gave it a good stir and left it to steep for 5 minutes. There were no watermarks on the pouch at all, but for this dish it’s not really needed. I started with approximately 1/4 cup of water and after 10 minutes of steeping, added a bit more to get it to the consistency I like.
Taste & Texture
It’s the best breakfast meal I’ve ever tested. It has a nice cinnamon and blueberry aroma. Coconut flakes, chia and hemp seeds give it a pleasant texture and sea salt perfectly complements the other ingredients in this tasty and satisfying morning meal.
Blueberry Cinnamon Breakfast provides 470 calories per serving (113g) and has a good balance of all essential macronutrients.
Orange Vanilla and Black Espresso Packaroons
At 28 grams per portion, both Orange Vanilla and Black Espresso Packaroons provide an impressive amount of energy – almost 180 calories per ounce! These lightweight and nutritious coconut cookies are now my favorite hiking snack. They are so flavorful and delicious!
Taste & Texture
Moderately sweet Orange Vanilla Packaroons has a fresh citrus flavor with a hint of French vanilla.
The classic combination of cocoa powder and coffee gives Black Espresso Packaroons a rich color and the incomparable aroma of chocolate cake.
Both types of Packaroons have a nice chewy texture, however they are a bit dry when eating them “as is” without sipping some tea, coffee, or just water.
Made with shredded coconut, almond flour, and coconut butter all the Packaroons are rich in healthy fat for long-lasting energy. They also contain a moderate amount of sugar (only 8g). Compared with other snacks available on market, these are diabetic-friendly.
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