30 Jan Balboa Granola
Island life isn’t all sandy toes and sunsets. Rae Master, owner of Balboa Granola, knows that first hand, and it’s the very reason she started making her own on-the-go snack.
“I have little downtime,” Rae says, from working as a Creative Director at an agency in Irvine to volunteering in animal rescue, practicing Krav Maga, teaching design to children, and cooking ethnic feasts for friends. “And I go from hungry to hangry in 35 seconds flat. I need a substantial grab-and-go snack, now!” After reading nutrition facts and trying every granola from Pavilions to Whole Foods, there was something to be desired. She wanted it less sweet, more fruit and nuts, and most of all, she wanted to curate flavors. So into the kitchen she went.
Friends and neighbors would drop by, wondering what the smell of cinnamon and vanilla was. A taste here and there led to resounding positive feedback, with the granola facetiously referred to as ‘Balboa Crack’, and by December of 2018 Balboa Granola was available for purchase. The packaging was unique and gift-worthy for the holidays, with a touch of hand-applied metallic gold foil. Batches are small and made frequently, so it’s always fresh.
Rae uses mostly coconut sugar to sweeten the granola, which has a lower glycemic index than traditional sugar, and is more environmentally sustainable. The addition of seeds and grains including flax, chia, sunflower, and millet, make the snack high in fiber and iron and the nuts offer unsaturated fats and protein. Freeze-dried fruit offer a unique flavor and crunch that some are just experiencing for the first time! It’s best served topping an apple with nut butter, sprinkled over yogurt, or by the handful, but “a little heavy to consume a whole cereal bowl of,” according to the maker.
Today, Balboa Granola is available in two decadent flavors: almond, raspberry, and dark chocolate; and macadamia, mango, and white chocolate. Mixes will change seasonally; some ideas for spring and summer include candied ginger and pear, ‘piña colada’ with pineapple and coconut, and strawberries and cream.
Balboa Granola is available for purchase at Free Range Cafe on Balboa Island, and through www.balboagranola.com.