Mar 02 2012

Love In Your Freezer Aisle – Alexia Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Published by at 3:37 am under The Shopping Blog

I took last semester with a preachy do-gooder professor. The things I learned in that class really opened my eyes to the horrors of the food I had been buying in my local grocery stores and as a result, I became really self-conscious about the things I was feeding my family. I already have a 20-year-old live-in conscience in the incarnation of my daughter. By nature, she’s just a super healthy eater (I don’t know *where* she gets that.) She frequently introduces us to new foods.  A couple of months ago, she brought home some Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs – basically, sweet potato ‘Tater Tots. They were quite interesting. I really have a thing for sweet and salty or spicy and sweet tastes together, so when I ran across the Alexia Spicy Sweet Potatoes   –  Julienne Fries with Chipotle Seasoning, I jumped at the chance to try them. Oh. My. God. I swear, I could eat a whole bag in one sitting! They are the perfect blend of naturally sweet from the sweet potato and spicy from the Chipotle seasoning. They remind me a bit of Checkers spicy fries, but they are a whole lot healthier.

I hadn’t ever heard of Alexia before running across these products, so in preparing this blog entry, I decided to learn a little more about the company. I learned that the company was founded by a Manhattan chef who wanted to see quality side dishes available. Here’s what I learned from the Alexia website:

We love food as much as you. That’s why we make it exactly how you would: all-natural, gourmet-inspired, and absolutely delicious.

OUR BEGINNINGS: At Alexia, our creativity and passion for the highest quality side dishes runs deep in our roots. As a Manhattan chef, Alex always wondered why there weren’t quality side dishes that achieved the same discerning standard as the main entrée. He knew others would agree, and believed he could create distinctive and inspired convenient everyday side dishes that lived up to what he might create in his own Greenpoint kitchen. Alex started by hand selecting the finest all-natural ingredients and producing only small batches making Alexia a hard to find favorite. Whether seasoning his Beauregard Sweets and Yukon Gold Potatoes or baking the perfect artisan Ciabatta and Focaccia breads, Alex always used real ingredients and put quality and taste first.

Through Alexia’s FAQ page, I also learned that many of their products are kosher and most are vegan. I did think their explanation about their vegan products was a bit funny. Here’s what they said in response to a vegan query:

Alexia All-Natural products, with the exception of those containing dairy ingredients and our Chicken Nuggets, do not contain any ingredients derived from animal sources. The dairy ingredients are the only animal-based ingredients used. Please bear in mind that we do not represent our product as vegan or vegetarian. The balance of the products is vegetarian by coincidence only but ALL NATURAL by intent.

Alexia’s product lineup offers a variety of potato based products of both the sweet and yellow variety, many different French fries, onion rings, cheese sticks and a variety of other appetizers, several artisan breads, and some vegetable sautés.  I found a new product  I am eager to try if I can find them – the Waffle Cut Lemon Parmesan Fries.

I’ll try to stay focused on the Spicy Sweet Potatoes. They are widely available. I have only run across one grocery store – Bottom Dollar Foods – that did not carry the product.  Most stores carried a 20 oz. bag for around $4.00, but Wal*Mart carried the same bag for $2.98. (Incidentally, a 4 pound bag cost $6.59 at CostCo, but they only have the plain variety – not the Chipotle seasoned ones.)

Alexia say that the Spicy Sweet Potato Fries “combine the sweet and savory flavor of the traditional sweet potato with spicy chipotle seasoning to bring you a delicious flavor combination that the entire family will enjoy.” Wal*Mart says that “Alexia Spicy Sweet Potato Julienne Fries Combine The Sweet and Savory Flavor of All-Natural Beauregard Sweet Potatoes With The Heat of Perfectly Smoked Chipotle Peppers to Deliver A Taste Combination That The Entire Family Will Enjoy.  As A Snack, Or An Accompaniment to Your Favorite Entree, Quick and Easy to Prepare Alexia Foods Products Complement Any Dining Occasion. Alexia All Natural Potatoes, Breads & Appetizers. In Your Grocer’s Freezer.” So, this was grammatically painful to read, but a relatively accurate description!

I ran across a few other customer review blogs. Jennifer Swafford was thrilled not only at their taste, but that a serving was only 3 Weight Watchers points. Iain Ilich of NEAROF (Not Entirely Arbitrary Review of Food) sang their praises, but wherever he lives, he’s paying way too much for them, paying $5.29 at a place called “Planet Organic.” One other reviewer bought them quite by accident and not wanting to waste them; she tried them and loved them.  As you can clearly see in the picture below, customers who reviewed them on the Alexia website thought they were absolutely great. Of 1,414 reviewers, only 190 customers gave them less than a 5-star rating. Fewer than 20 rated them lower than a 4-star rating.

A serving (84g)is about 30 fries. Of the 130 calories, only 35 are from fat, just 6% of the recommended daily allowance. They have 23g of total carbs (8% of the r.d.a.), but only 7g of sugars. In comparison, Checkers frozen fries have 180 calories per 84g serving, 60 of which are from fat. That’s 11% of the r.d.a.

These fries area an absolutely wonderful treat and I’ll be buying them quite often. I highly recommend them to anyone who is looking for an interesting, tasty new snack. I think thy will appeal to people of all ages.

– Sara

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