LOCAL FLAVOUR: Party tray flavours
Some day, Kalpna Solanki may be known as the Rosa Parks of party trays.
The Burnaby entrepreneur and founder of FX Foods wants to end snack discrimination where a host or hostess puts out one huge tray filled with crispy crackers and delicious delicacies and another, much smaller, tray of bland rice crackers for those guests who can't tolerate nuts or gluten.
"Everyone can have the same snacks and if it tastes good, you don't need the other stuff," says Solanki. "It makes entertaining so much easier if you can include everyone."
So with the market for her company's original product, frozen organic baby food meals and snacks, now crowded with competitors, she turned her attention, and her certified nut and gluten-free production plant, to creating tasty snacks everyone could enjoy without worrying about allergies. After a year of research, development and sourcing healthy, natural ingredients as locally as possible, her line of Martin's Marvelous crisps and granolas is now on the shelves of more than 140 specialty food stores like Whole Foods.
It sounds easier than it was, says Solanki. To maintain the integrity of the final product, she had to ensure there was no chance of contamination from nuts or wheat products anywhere in the supply chain. To keep her products as healthy and natural as possible, she also had to steer away from the multi-syllabic gums and chemicals that are often used as binding agents and stabilizers in place of gluten. And she had to find flavours that would tickle the tastebuds.
"I'm a bit of a control freak in terms of product quality," says Solanki.
The shopping list of healthful ingredients like Canadian grown Pure Oats, buttermilk, sea salt, lavender, pumpkin seeds, molé spice mix, sundried olives and cranberries are brought together in four varieties of crispy crackers, Rosemary Lavender, Pumpkin Seed Cranberry, Chocolate Molé, Date and Olive Tapenade, and two types of granola, Pumpkin Seed Cranberry and Sunflower Seed Raisin.
For more information about Martin's Marvelous crisps and granolas, go to www.martinsmarvelous.com
Martin’s Marvelous Chocolate Granola Clusters
1.5 Cups Martin's Marvelous Granola (either Pumpkin Seed Cranberry or Sunflower Seed Raisin)
1 Cups Fairtrade Organic Chocolate Chips
Pinch of salt
Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Remove from heat and mix in granola and salt. Drop spoonfuls onto a tray lined with parchment. Allow to cool....and they're ready to eat!
What's great about these is that they are easy to make and are gluten-free. A bonus is that they are also nut-free so great for school snacks!