Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sunfire Girls - Raw Kale Chips and Crackers

Sassy. Spunky. Destined for greatness. That is what comes to mind after speaking with the Sunfire Girls, Tania and Christine. After winning my latest kale chip taste-test or "showdown" as I like to call it, I wanted to find out what these local kale chip-making girls were all about.  When I looked on the back of the package and saw that the kale chips were produced in Washington, DC, I immediately wondered how I didn't know them. Who the heck were the Sunfire Girls?

Well, come to find out I actually did know one of them -- Tania. Tania Hayek Mercer has been teaching cooking classes at Whole Foods in the DC area for many, many years and I used to take her classes. She was teaching raw foods classes before raw foods really became mainstream. I took her classes at the Whole Foods on P Street every month until she had her first baby and ever since then hoped that she would return to my Whole Foods to teach more classes She never did, but now I know why. Tania became a full-time mother and eventually went back to teaching cooking classes at other area Whole Foods (just not on P Street) while also enrolling in the health coach training program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. At the same time, Christine Fabrizio, was seeking to expand her nutritional knowledge and enrolled in the same course.

The funny thing is that Tania and Christine lived minutes away from each other, commuted to New York for the health coach training for a year, and and even took the same gym classes in Maryland, yet they didn't know each other. Then, one day in the spring of 2010, Christine went to a Whole Foods cooking class that Tania was teaching and it was then that Christine realized that this was someone whose path had crossed hers several times. She stayed after class to talk to her and they became instant friends.

Fast forward to today and these girls are making a name for themselves in the raw food products industry. Together, they developed raw crackers and kale chips that are incredibly unique. In my opinion, there are four things that make their kale chips, in particular, stand out from the rest: texture, flavor, ingredients, and packaging. The texture is light yet crunchy -- I mean almost perfectly so. The flavors are intoxicating: original, ancho chili, and coconut lime.  The ingredients are unique -- the dressing they developed uses zucchini, nutritional yeast, and flax seeds along with other good-for-you ingredients. And the packaging has to be one of the most professional I've ever seen with some of the most vibrant colors on the market. Oh, and did I mention, I love that they used plastic containers with rounded corners?  Very modern.

So, on to the kale chips. The first thing you should know is that they are currently only sold in one Whole Foods in the U.S. But, don't stop reading because you think you'll never see these -- they are expanding and hope to increase their distribution area soon.

As I mentioned, the flavors are intoxicating. The original kale chips have an unexpected Indian taste to them as they are made with tumeric. They are very addicting.

Aren't they beautiful?!

The ancho chili kale chips are my favorite as they are flavored with ancho chili and cayenne pepper. There is a slight kick to them with just the right amount of spice.

The most unusual ones though are the coconut lime, which, you guessed it, are made with coconut and lime juice. These make me think of delicious coconut-based Thai curries and would probably pair well with them.

They make a couple flavors of raw crackers as well. These crackers are crunchy with just the right balance of spices. In fact, the cinnamon mulberry whole food cracker is delicious!  It is made with flax seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, mulberries, Hunza raisins, coconut crystals, cinnamon, vanilla, and celtic sea salt.  They are perfect for breakfast. These crackers are currently only sold in the Broad Branch Market in DC.

They also make a cumin cilantro chip, which is also delicious!  These chips are served with guacamole at Cafe Green in DC.

I have to say that I really think these girls are on to something -- something big. At the Whole Foods in Friendship Heights, Maryland, their kale chips are currently on sale. This promotion should run through the next two weeks or so as part of the Whole Foods Health Starts Here campaign. So, if you are in the area, this is your chance to grab some sunkissed kale chips and fire up your inner sunshine! Watch for these chips coming to a Whole Foods near you.

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