I’ve been hearing talk of Enjoy Life for years, but it wasn’t until today that I got around to actually trying their products. Everything they make is free from wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, shellfish, sulfites, crustaceans, sesame, and mustard—which is perhaps why I’ve never really sought out their food. My only allergy is to tree nuts, so brands like Enjoy Life tend to be a bit overkill for me. I like my wheat, my dairy, my eggs—but you know what? Allergy-friendly companies are wonderful (and hard to come by), so I figured I should give this one a try, at the very least.
With Enjoy Life, there’s virtually no chance of cross-contamination—so if your allergies are severe, they’re definitely a good company to add to your list. The way they handle allergens is truly impressive; if you don’t believe me, check out their page on free-from living, or their FAQ. I’d quote from their website, but I’d basically end up reproducing the whole thing, as it’s absolutely filled with information about food allergies. Seriously. Go see for yourself.
But onto the food! Enjoy Life was generous enough to send me three products to sample (a box of chocolate chip soft-baked cookies, a box of Cocoa Loco chewy bars, and a bag of sea salt Plentils), though their generosity won’t keep me from being honest. Fortunately, though, I don’t have to say anything bad, because everything I tried was pretty tasty—especially given that it’s all free from so many ingredients.
My favorite product, by a significant margin, was the sea salt Plentils (pictured above). They’re lentil chips—though they don’t taste anywhere near as boring as the words “lentil chips” would have you think—and they come in a bunch of other flavors I’m now dying to try: dill & sour cream, Margherita pizza, and garlic & parmesan.
I was genuinely surprised at how good they were. The real test for allergen-free products comes down to the question of whether you’d still want to eat the product if you weren’t allergic to the alternatives, and in my experience, very few products pass that test—but Plentils do, and with flying colors. I could easily see myself downing a bag of these (and it took some serious self-control to stop shoveling them into my mouth as I was about to start cooking last night’s dinner). For real: They’re great—light, airy, salty, and even a little buttery, somehow—and I highly recommend them.
The soft-baked cookies are way better than I expected them to be, too. Actually, they’re the only tolerable soft-baked cookie I’ve ever eaten out of a box. Unlike the Plentils, they did have somewhat of a distinct allergen-free taste—but perhaps that’s just because I was really expecting them to. Still, these are worlds ahead of most packaged soft-baked cookies—mostly because they taste way less artificial. They have a nice chewy texture and a decent flavor, which were both pleasant surprises.
[Edit: A few days later, I went out and bought a box of the snickerdoodle soft-baked cookies. Way, way, way better than the chocolate chip ones. They don’t have any sort of allergen-free taste to them (I think it was the chocolate chips that were doing it) and they have a really lovely texture. They, like the Plentils, pass the allergen-free-product test with plenty of wiggle room, and I highly recommend them.]
Finally, the chewy bars. They come in a few flavors: mixed berry, caramel apple, SunSeed Crunch, and Cocoa Loco. I tried the Cocoa Loco, and it really did taste like cocoa powder. They’re not terrible, and I could certainly imagine children loving them, but they were definitely my least favorite of the three products I tried. To me, they tasted like imitation brownies—but perhaps I’d love them if I were five years old. Or if I had more food allergies.
Still, overall, I would certainly recommend Enjoy Life to anyone with any of the relevant dietary restrictions. To my surprise, nothing I tried was bad; in fact, I was pretty impressed with how good (most of) it was. And that’s coming from someone who can’t get through a Divvies cookie.
…Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hunt down the rest of those Plentil flavors.
(Find Enjoy Life’s products at Whole Foods, Food Emporium, Fairway, Stop & Shop, and Rite Aid—or on Enjoy Life’s own website.)
[Edit, from the distant future (um, September 8th, 2016): I have a new favorite Enjoy Life product, and I’m so into it that I straight-up needed to revisit this post and mention this stuff. It’s the Beach Bash Seed and Fruit Mix, and it’s to die for. It’s made up of sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds, dried pineapples, dried apricots, and dried cranberries—so nothing that has the potential to take on that free-from taste—and though it’s not at all easy to find, it’s definitely worth the hunt.]