Jenn’s made no secret about my interest in homemade granola. It’s something we haven’t tried to make ourselves, but we love sampling our friends’ attempts at this classic all-natural energy food.
Of course the vast majority of the granola offered in stores is far from all-natural. Sure, there’s exceptions, but nothing beats something created by a caring person making a go of a small business.
Mary Molina is one of those caring people. Her children are allergic to soy, and Molina quickly found out soy is in many processed foods. Her granola recipes were born out of necessity.
The Molina granola venture was originally called Croton Falls Granola, but customers began referring to Mary after either the almond and cranberry flavor granola bar they made, her daughter Lola, for whom the said bar was named, or maybe Lola Granola from the old Bloom County comic strip. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Poetry won, and the name sounded so good the company was renamed. Lola Granola it is. Lola Granola comes alive!
We’ve been checking out all the flavors currently offered by Lola Granola. The company offers it as bars, not as a breakfast food to be served in bowls. The current flavors as described by the company are:
- Ruby’s Just Cranberry
- Lola’s Almond and Cranberry
- Nathan’s Blueberry Almond
- Enzo’s Almond Cashew
- Ellie’s Date and Cashew
These granola bars are not what you or your kids have come to expect from all the factory-pressed and warehouse-packaged offerings from major corporations. To start with, Lola Granola bars are soft, moist, and fresh. Honey is largely responsible for this, as it seems to be the primary binding agent across all the flavors. These don’t feel or taste like they’ll last for a year or more on a store shelf. Molina informs us shelf life with the current packaging is just three months. That’s not a drawback. That’s called “fresh.” Lola Granola bars are so fresh they actually bend in your hand. Kids should have fun just holding them, especially on a summer day.
Do you know what kind of granola bars don’t bend?
The ones made in factories, formed in industrial presses, and held together by emulsifiers and preservatives you can’t pronounce.
Here’s some impressions we had of each Lola Granola flavor.
Ruby’s Just Cranberry
Cinnamon, honey, and a jolt of cranberry tang.
Lola’s Almond and Cranberry
Almonds balance out the pronounced cranberry in the above flavor.
Enzo’s Almond Cashew
Such a strong blast of honey it tastes almost molasses-like. The nuts seem to blend nicely to enhance the vanilla.
Ellie’s Date and Cashew
Similar to the above flavor, but we didn’t get a strong sense of date or cashew. Very chewy. Not unpleasant.
Nathan’s Blueberry Almond
Less on the typical strong honey flavor we’ve come to expect of Lola Granola, and ending with an almost orange overtone.
Because Lola Granola are made by a family, as opposed to unhappy factory workers following formulae, we’re guessing some batches might vary in taste, especially this early in the company’s history. This is not a bad thing. This is the time owners listen to feedback from their customers, tweak recipes, and settle on the best suppliers of the freshest ingredients. We were excited to learn about this company, and look forward to whatever else they might be adding to their lineup.
Lola Granola is currently available throughout the greater New York area. Molina is happy to point out distribution is growing quickly. A list of participating retail outlets are available on the company site and blog. Send an email to her if you’d like more information.
Lola Granola will sponsor an upcoming Reel Chow giveaway of the best granola bars we’ve ever tasted. Watch our blog and follow our Twitter account for details.
That Lola Granola is a New York company seems fitting. Granola got its start as granula in 1894 by Dr. Connor Lacey in Dansville, New York. It became popular in that spa town by the health-conscious seeking to take the waters there. As is common in this country, a corporation (John Harvey Kellogg) with bigger pockets made a knock-off version, named it granola, and Dr. Lacey became a footnote in history. Here’s hoping Molina and family keep Lola Granola healthy, independent, and delicious.