After years of mixing dairy-free Almond Breeze into smoothies and splashing it atop my cereal, I realized that I had taken the actual flavor for granted. While I knew this was somehow my favorite milk alternative, I had no idea how to describe the actual taste. In fact, I had never simply sampled the milk all by its lonesome.
Following this epiphany, I opened a freshly chilled package and poured myself a glass. Almond breeze has a very pleasant natural almond flavor on a relatively neutral background. While it was creamy in consistency, it didn’t have the thickness of cow’s milk. While I don’t really see myself sitting down to a glass of almond milk on a regular occasion (I’ve never been the type to drink a glass of any type of milk), it was really quite good, and I did finish the glass!
With my taste buds now on board (and Kylie to weigh in with her opinion), I decided to do a more elaborate taste-test of the new dairy-free, soy-free, 11-ounce single-serves from Almond Breeze. The single-serves are perfect for lunch boxes or small use needs as they open and reseal with ease. They currently come in four of the Almond Breeze flavors:
Unsweetened Original: Even though this is the flavor that I use most for our cooking, baking, cereal and smoothies, we weren’t expecting this to be our favorite when sipped straight up. Nonetheless, it had a pretty neutral, clean taste, with nary a trace of sweetness and a mellow almond flair.
Unsweetened Vanilla: I take that back, I use this variety almost as much as the Unsweetened Original in baking, cereal, and smoothies. It has a very neutral, only slightly almond flavor that just hints at vanilla. Again, this is a more savory selection – good, but not as exciting for general drinking.
Original: “Mmmm” was all we had to say upon first taste. Sweet and delightful, neither of us found it to be almond-y, but rather just a tasty milk alternative in general. Delicious for a beverage treat without an over-the-top amount of sugars or calories (9g sugar / 80 calories in the whole thing).
Chocolate: Super sweet and yummy; this is definitely chocolate milk at its finest. Even before this taste-test, Tony has loved heating up chocolate Almond Breeze in winter for the world’s fastest hot chocolate.
As mentioned, the unsweetened varieties are still our staples for versatility. I prefer no sugar added smoothies in the morning, and Almond Breeze makes a delicious base. Cereal is usually just sweet enough, so a splash of the Vanilla Unsweetened is perfection. It also works magic in baking, and lately we are even enjoying this brand in cooking. I think they may have tweaked the formula in recent years, as the almond flavor used to be a bit overpowering for savory dishes, but it now melds seamlessly in many dishes. In general, Almond Breeze can be used 1:1 as a substitute for skim, 1% or 2% milk in recipes.
From a dietary perspective, almond milk does lack in the protein department. However, it offers some healthy fats (about 3 to 4 grams per serving), lower sugars than dairy milk, a modest calorie profile (just 40 in 8 ounces of the Unsweetened), and fortification. Almond Breeze in particular, packs in the calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin E.
Availability: Seriously, this stuff is available everywhere. From big-block grocers to Trader Joe’s and natural food markets, just about everyone carries some version of Almond Breeze. We usually keep a few of the 32-ounce shelf-stable packages in the cupboard as back-up (they can usually be found for $1.50 to $1.99), but for value, I typically purchase the 64-ounce packages which are sold in the refrigerated aisle and have a great easy-open and pour spout. These can be found on sale for around $2.50 on a good day.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Almond Breeze Almond Milk is vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free and are soy-free. Nonetheless, check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit the Almond Breeze website at www.almondbreeze.com.