Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Olivia's Croutons Review and Giveaway

I absolutely love a fresh tossed salad with lots of veggies. Cucumbers, carrots, peppers, celery, you name it I love to load up my salads. There is a lot of times where we get into a rut and are not exactly sure what to have for dinner. Our refrigerator is always stocked with fresh vegetables and salad mix or lettuce. I will fix us all a big salad and add some fresh deli meat or maybe if we have diced ham or turkey. It really is a refreshing and delicious meal anytime of the day and the possibilities are endless. There is a great restaurant just down the street from us that makes a great salad with grilled chicken, dried cherries, blue cheese and a variety of mixed greens. They serve it with a maple vinagrette dressing that is to die for, I always have to order extra. What makes this salad taste even better is the homemade croutons that they put on it. It is a marbled rye crouton that is crunchy and full of flavor. To me, there's nothing better on a fresh salad than a good crouton. My oldest daughter can't eat a salad until there is a few croutons on it, she loves them. I found a great company that sells the absolute BEST croutons that I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. They are called Olivia's Croutons and they specialize in fresh, organic croutons in a variety of mouth watering flavors. I was sent a package each of the following flavors:

*Multi Grain with Garlic- We had these croutons on our salad just last night. My family and I are big into multi grain breads and pastas. These croutons are non dairy and are extra special because of it's nutty taste from the whole grain flours that are used to make them. They also contain sesame seeds and poppy seeds and are complimented by lots of fresh garlic and a combination of tasty herbs such as rosemary, thyme and pepper for a little extra bite. These were absolutely delicious and just full of flavor. I also loved how these are extra crunchy, which is how I love my croutons. These croutons would not just be good in your salads, these would be PERFECT for that Thanksgiving stuffing or a stuffing that you might stuff your pork chops with. The possibilities for these croutons are endless.

*Butter & Garlic- These are Olivia's most popular crouton, they just can't seem to make enough and after tasting them, I can see why. I love garlic, it is one of my favorite seasonings and there is nothing better than fresh garlic, you can use it and out it in just about everything. These croutons are perfect for garlic lovers and full of the delicious flavor of butter without overdoing either. You also get the fresh taste of basil and parsley to compliment the butter and garlic flavor. Olivia's uses nothing but fresh garlic and real creamy butter, nothing artificial here, definitely not using garlic powder and you can taste the difference. I can go for using these croutons to top a hot fresh bowl of tomato soup or just snacking on them like I have been. Olivia's also suggests maybe crushing them for a meatloaf or use them as a coating for chicken or pork. Sounds like great ideas to me!
*Parmesan Pepper Croutons- I am partial to buying a crouton that has cheese in it, not that I don't like the ones that don't. I love cheese, any and all kinds, so this crouton was one I was excited about trying. It definitely didn't disappoint. There is a lot of delicious Parmesan flavor going throughout these. Made out of French bread and using a combination of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Canola Oils along with of course fresh garlic and a generous, OK VERY generous sprinkle of Imported Parmesan cheese, they also add enough cracked black pepper to give these flavorful croutons an extra kick. I really enjoy just snacking on this crouton through the day but Olivia's recommends this crouton to be excellent in a Caesar salad, soups, with hor d'oeuvres or crushed for a terrific crumb topping.

*Vermont Cheddar & Dill- These are absolutely my favorite. They have a delicious flavor with the sharpness of the cheese combined with the distinct flavor of the dill. We used these croutons as a breading for chicken and baked it up in the oven, it was really good. These are made out of French Bread and you are sure to enjoy the rare combination of flavors.

*Organic Garlic & Herb- What's not to love about this crouton? The flavors going on in here are amazing with all of the organic herbs such as paprika, parsley, pepper, garlic and onion, these croutons are definitely a flavor experience and one that Olivia's is really proud of. Wholesome multigrain bread, organic oils and organic seasonings make this crouton sure to please and will make any stuffing that you make absolutely amazing.

There wasn't one of these flavors of Olivia's Croutons that I didn't enjoy. The flavor combinations are unique and pleasing to not only your taste buds but to your nose as well. As soon as you open up a carton of these delicious morsels, you can smell the herbs, cheese and other goodies that Olivia's puts into making their croutons. You can taste the dedication and hard work that goes into each product.If you love salads, soups, stuffing and more and are looking for new ways to make your recipes even better, head on over to Olivia's Croutons and give them a try.

The story of Olivia's Croutons goes back to April of 1991, with Francie, a mother of two and her husband, David starting in her own kitchen with Butter and Garlic flavor, that were sold in brown bags and hand stamped with rubber stamps. Twenty bags was a big order and it took a long time to hand cut each loaf and bake the croutons in their conventional oven. By August of that year, they were dealing with six stores and had just signed with their first "really big" store. They did a demo and sold 200 bags of croutons in just three days. This was when they installed their first Blodgett convection oven and rigged up a semi automatic cutter to help with cutting all of those wonderful loaves of bread. Since this point they have grown steadily. They started adding out of town UPS orders and realized that they really had no limitations. In 1993, they moved out of their kitchen and into a larger commercial kitchen that they had built in their basement. In 1997, they added a new packaging machine. With a longer shelf life, they were now able to sell their products to distributors. In July of 1999, they had to move to a perfect little building in the next town. They added Tostini to their line as well as Organic Croutons. By the end of 2005, they needed to find new production space and it wasn't until David, who was out on a back country road not only found a new home for making their one of a kind croutons, but also as a new home for their family. They purchased it and after extensive renovations to the 1912 dairy barn, Olivia's has it's new home. They now live on a 50 acre homestead and grow the wheat for the croutons and produce their products cleverly concealed in their barn. The property is listed in the State Historic Register and they are currently waiting a decision regarding placement in the National Historic Register. The kitchen has doubled their production line and they have added a new bagging line for increased packaging options and expanded product line. What a wonderful story!

Olivia's also now has stuffing, made with a combination of French and Multigrain breads and seasoned with lots of traditional, all natural poultry seasonings. All of their products are baked with fresh Vermont breads, special seasonings, and no preservatives or artificial anything. For more information and to check out all of the great products that Olivia's has to offer, please head over HERE. Also check out Olivia's Croutons blog HERE for great information.
The generous folks over at Olivia's Croutons would love to give one lucky Mommy2TwoGirls reader a 6 pack case of their delicious croutons in your choice of flavor/s. (approx value $25)

MAIN ENTRY-Mandatory and must be done before any extra entries. Please make sure that your email address is visible in your comments or in your Blogger profile so that I have a way to contact you if you win.

Head on over to Olivia's Croutons and tell me which flavor you are most interested in trying AND check out the recipe section and let me know which recipe sounds good to you.

EXTRA ENTRIES-Please list a separate comment for each.

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Giveaway will end on Tuesday 6/1 at 7pm EST. Winner will be chosen via random.org and notified by email as well as posted here on my blog. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Open to US residents ONLY! Special thanks to Francie and everyone at Olivia's Croutons for sponsoring this giveaway. GOOD LUCK!
Disclosure- I received no monetary compensation for this review, only a 5 pack of croutons from Olivia's Croutons in exchange for my honest opinions. The words expressed in this review are my own and not influenced by anyone. Additional information provided by Olivia's Croutons website. No purchase necessary and void where prohibited by law.


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