July 2, 2014

What's a pretzel without salt?

An adjective, as you may know if you remember grade school English class, is a type of word that tells you something about a noun. It's the color added to a sentence. The spice sprinkled on a dish.

It's also where a lot of food companies get themselves into trouble.

I bring this up today after trying out Snyder's of Hanover Sweet and Salty Pretzel Pieces. The packaging plays up two major adjectives: sweet and salty. And you can probably guess that I'm taking issue with that collective description.
Did anyone try these before naming them sweet and salty?
Before we get into that, let's take a moment to describe the snack I sampled. Snyder's Sweet and Salty line comes in two varieties. There's cinnamon sugar, which I tried. Then there's salted caramel, which wasn't available at the rather limited vending machine I accessed (the life of a food critic is a glamorous one).

Either way, the basic formula is chunks of sourdough pretzels blanketed in flavor. In my case, the tastes on tap were cinnamon and sugar, both present in abundance. Both sweet.

But neither of them lived up to the latter part of the "sweet and salty" labeling. In fact, not one thing on my sourdough hunks provided anything approaching a salty kick to the taste buds. Despite a significant 290 milligrams of sodium listed on the nutritional information — 12 percent of your daily value — there was nary a hint of NaCl to be found.

It's a shame, too, because the pretzel is a blank canvas that can successfully hold a wide variety of flavors. They classically include chocolate coating, hot sauce and honey mustard. They also include cinnamon and sugar.

These Snyder's of Hanover pretzels are darned tasty. They just aren't darned salty. So bring your table shakers or go find a salt lick if you want sweet and salty cinnamon sugar pretzels from this package.

I'm holding out hope that the salted caramel variety better lives up to the branding. In the mean time, I'm left with a good munch that was completely mislabeled. While it's tempting to be more harsh, a highly palatable snack leaves me willing to sprinkle three sporks out of five in this case.

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