Exotic Nut Snack with Class

Sahale Snacks Nut Blends

Sahale Snacks Nut Blends

I Paid: $4.79 per 5-ounce bag (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 5 stars

Marketing: 5 stars

In the world of snack food, there is a constant tension between healthy and tasty. Healthy snacks are often depressing, and eating them is seen as a sign of self-deprivation. Tasty snacks are generally in the mold of Fritos or Oreos: processed to death, almost literally addictive, and basically terrible for us in even medium-sized quantities.

Thus the theoretical appeal of Sahale Snacks Nut Blends: healthy snacks (protein-dense nuts; only 3 percent of your daily sodium) that use sophisticated blends of flavor to be legitimately craveable. I sampled three varieties: Valdosta Pecans with Sweet Cranberries, Black Pepper + Orange Zest; Soledad Almonds with Apple, Flax Seeds, Date, Balsamic Vinegar + Red Pepper; and Ksar Pistachios with Sesame Seeds, Pepitas, Fig + Moroccan Harissa. All of them feature gorgeous color-photo-bedecked packages that promise a taste adventure once you're inside the bag, and, shockingly, they all deliver on that promise.

The Valdosta Pecans are killer: The pecan/dried cranberry/black pepper interaction is a harmonious one, the dash of pepper setting fire to the sweet and tangy aspects of the nut and berry. The Ksar Pistachios are a little aggressively spicy (a bit more fig and honey would've helped), but if you like pistachios, you'll find these an appealing variation—the sesame seeds are surprisingly pleasant in this mixture. And the Soledad Almonds are a winner: The date and balsamic are great complements to the nuts, again bouncing sweet off of savory, nutty off of tangy.

You can also put these babies on salad, for an even healthier method of consumption. They work the same as a candied nut, but with a little more pizazz.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.