Breakfast in my house means one thing: a nutritious meal that will keep you going all morning. I typically buy plain cereals like Weetabix, Shredded Wheat, or porridge oats, but every now and then I push the bounds of excitement by opting for Cornflakes.
My simple taste is down to the fact that I was never allowed add sugar to my cereal as a child, let alone buy something like Coco Pops or Frosties (although I could use honey to sweeten things because I grew up with health enthusiasts, not monsters). Now that I'm older I can obviously eat whatever I want, but years of being in the good habit of having a sensible breakfast means that what I want is pretty much what I've eaten for the last two decades.
In terms of granola, I never buy it. I tried it years ago but it was too sweet for me. Sometimes when I'm in the supermarket I pick up a packet, but upon reading the sugar content I put it right back down. Another problem I have with granola is that I found it to be quite crunchy and hard, which makes me worry about chipping a tooth - I'm not hypochondriac, I recently chipped a tooth whilst eating nuts.
So, basically, going into this review, I'm not a granola lover because I like a healthy cereal that poses zero risk to my teeth.
Breakfast by Bella
Breakfast by Bella is a new company that was started in 2017. They're an online-only business run by Bella herself.
In their own words, they're "aim[ing] to bring you products that are refined sugar free and made with gluten free and organic ingredients, containing none of the nasties associated with artificial preservatives and colourings."
Straight after reading this I knew that their granola wouldn't be the same as the sugary stuff I'd tried years ago, and their focus on health made me interested in seeing what a granola that was genuinely good for you would be like.
Breakfast by Bella also has an Instagram page where loads of cool granola creations are posted. Looking at it evokes a mixture of awe and envy. For this blog post I had to try and create artsy photos of my food, which is not something I particularly excel at.
What I especially like about their Instagram, however, is that it gives you new ideas about how to eat granola and what to team it with. It turns out that in a bowl with milk is the equivalent of socks with sandals.
I was sent three flavours to review: Nutty Nosh, Peanut Butter Me Up, and Cacoa Crazy. They come in resealable sachets, which is great for keeping the granola fresh. Nutrition wise, they're all made with organic and British where possible ingredients, and they're gluten free and vegan too if you need those boxes to be ticked.
Breakfast by Bella also promises that their granola is refined sugar free. After some serious label reading, I was surprised and delighted to see that they're not too sugary either - after all, a jar of raw honey is refined sugar free but it's not how I want to start my morning. Nutty Nosh, Peanut Butter Me Up, and Cacao Crazy contain 3.8g, 4.4g, and 5.4g of sugar respectively. To put that in context, a teaspoon of sugar is 4g.
Nutty Nosh was my favourite of the three. This granola is a made up of oats that have been baked with rapeseed oil, and sweetened with Canadian maple syrup and cinnamon powder. As the title suggests, it contains nuts: almonds, brazils, cashews, walnuts and hazelnuts to be precise.
Nutty Nosh was fabulous because it was subtlety sweet and there was a generous amount of nuts mixed in there. This is really important because I'm a horrendous person who will often pick out the nicest parts of food, so when I say there was a generous nuts to granola ratio I mean that there was enough for a nice portion and for my greedy little hands to pinch extra.
The Peanut Butter Me Up is, again, oats baked with rapeseed oil. This time the sweetener is agave syrup. And there are some redskin peanuts in there too. I found this one to be slightly plainer, which is why it went well with my granola bread recipe. I typically paired it with cinnamon or cacao powder.
Finally, the Cacao Crazy granola is made up of oats baked with *drum roll, please* rapeseed oil, raw cacao powder, raw cacao butter, coconut sugar, agave syrup, cacao nibs and pure vanilla powder.
It's the sweetest of the three so I preferred this one as a sweet snack or pudding, rather than as a breakfast. From the ingredients list you can see that's it's a totally acceptable healthy breakfast, but it worked best as a sweet treat for me.
I enjoyed the chocolately flavour. I've eaten cacao nibs before and found them to be really hard on my teeth, but the ones in this granola must be milled finer because there was no unpleasant crunch.
Overall I was very satisfied with all the granola flavours because they weren't too sweet, nor were there any hard clusters. In fact, the consistency reminded me a lot of muesli because it was fairly soft, although there was a pleasant crunch to it.
It was also a lot of fun to make artsy yogurt bowls, even if my skills don't quite match that of Bella's.
I'd recommend this to anyone who's into health foods and playing about in the kitchen, or people who are on the go and want something to fill the void without inducing food guilt.