Sofia Goes to… Pestacio

What’s the top priority at Pestacio? Ensuring all of their products maintain the highest nutrient value! Each product sold in bulk has an informative sign with the product’s origin and health benefits. The nuts are all dry-roasted and are of the highest quality.

Dry-roasting ensures that there are no added calories, that the highest nutrient value is maintained, and that the nuts are easier on the digestive system.

In a discussion with the owner, he explained that when deciding where to source each product he ensures he is getting the best possible version from an authentic source, so no additional preservation is necessary and the high nutrient value is maintained.

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He used an example of Brazil Nuts, explaining that you can buy Brazil Nuts from Indonesia at a lower price but that they have been preserved with sugar-water and this effects the nutrient value of the nut during the roasting process. The Indonesian Brazil Nuts crackled in the roaster and sounded like pop-corn (due to the sugar) where as the ones from Brazil made no sound. You can taste the difference too.

If you buy the same nuts  from a different bulk store and do a side-by-side comparison you’ll realize that the ones from Pestacio are worth every penny.

After trying some of the products my husband said, “If we only ever spend our snack budget at Pestacio, I wouldn’t mind a bit!” With so many delicious options I wouldn’t mind either!

What can you find at Pestacio? A wide selection of dried fruits and dry-roasted nuts as well as vegan and gluten-free products. You can also find a dried vegan-friendly product that tastes exactly like a delightful vanilla marshmallow! I was hooked at first bite. I’ll save that one for the end. Let’s start with the nuts.

The Roasted Pistachios (lemon and salt) were outstanding! They’re a product of Iran and are a good source of B vitamins and vitamin E. They were bursting with flavour without any bitterness. I find some roasted pistachios have a slight bitter after-taste, potentially from the oils used during traditional roasting methods.

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The macadamia nuts are the best macadamia nuts I’ve ever had, a perfect example of the benefits of dry-roasting. Macadamias are a rich nut that when roasted traditionally can end up oily to the touch. You can really taste the natural flavour of the macadamia, along with the delicious flavour dry-roasting adds, without any of the added fat or over-powering flavour of the oil. They’re a product of South Africa and are high in Vitamin E and the amino acid arginine which aids in healing and hormone regulation.

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We also tried two types of almonds, spicy and hickory. Both are from California and are a source of vitamin E and protein. The spicy  almonds were too spicy for me, but my husband enjoyed them very much. I’m usually a fan of hickory smoked almonds but these ones missed the mark for me. I found them salty without the bold hickory smoked flavour I was expecting.

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Also pictured are the BBQ flavoured giant roasted beans. These ones were a big hit! Flavourful, crunchy, a fantastic chip replacement!

Speaking of chips.. The veggie chips were a family favourite, even Elowyn loved them! They’re organic, all natural, and prepared with non-hydrogenated canola oil and sea salt. The mix includes: carrot, sweet potato, squash, green beans and taro. Compared to other similar chips I liked that these ones were a little thicker, while still maintaining their crisp, so that you can enjoy the unique flavour of each one.

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That’s it for the savoury selections, on to the sweets! If you’ve never tried mulberries you’re definitely missing out. They’re a good source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and iron. I used to bike-ride in my neighbourhood as a child and would frequently stop to sneak mulberries from a neighbour’s tree.  Unfortunately fresh mulberries are not sold in Toronto grocery stores, but the dried ones are almost just as flavourful!

The organic banana chips are a product of the Philippines and taste like a perfectly ripe banana in delightful crispy chip form.

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These lightly toasted organic coconut chips make an excellent yogurt topping.

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We had two types of mango, the organic no-sugar added version (the bigger slices) and the candied variety. The organic no-sugar added is quite chewy. I preferred the soft candied variety which still retained a lot of mango flavour and wasn’t overly sweet.

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Pestacio has a very unique item, a lime flavoured banana spear that tastes like a yummy margarita. Try it, you’ll love it! It’s like summer in a dehydrated form.

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And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for.. the vegan-friendly marshmallow! What could it be?

If you guessed the batata, then I’m really impressed, and you’re right!! The batata is a product of Ecuador, and high in beta-carotene, vitamin A, C, B-complex, iron and potassium. Most importantly, it tastes like a vanilla marshmallow! This was my favourite of everything we tried; I haven’t had anything quite like it before. Slightly less chewy than the organic mango, subtly sweet, and bursting with marshmallow flavour and hints of vanilla. A must-try!

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If you’re looking for healthy snacks for even the pickiest of eaters, I highly recommend Pestacio. There’s something for everyone! Is it the cheapest option? No, but remember with dry nuts and fruits you get what you pay for, and Pestacio’s products are analyzed by dieticians to ensure they contain a high nutrient profile! Nuts are high in calories, so in my opinion, they need to be delivering the fantastic nutrients they say they do for me to comfortably recommend them to everyone (even clients trying to lose weight). Unfortunately with the traditional roasting and preservation methods more than half of the nutrient value can be lost by the time we buy nuts at a discounted price on grocery shelves. That’s why it was refreshing to meet a store owner who refuses to compromise on quality.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to check out the dairy-free ice-cream that comes in two vegan friendly flavours! They also carry a big selection of GF baking mixes and snacks.

I know what I’ll be packing on my hikes this season! 

Sofia Martimianakis

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