Have you ever purchased almond granola only to find a couple of nuts in the entire batch? Black Squirrel Deluxe Granola maker Natalie Sangviriyakul believes if the package claims to include nuts it should have more than one or two. Plus, she found store-bought granola to be too sweet. So she started making her own.
Black Squirrel Deluxe Granola is undoubtedly the best granola I have ever tasted. It’s great for breakfast – or any time of day for that matter. Lately my husband and I have been enjoying the crunchy protein-rich granola sprinkled on top of vanilla ice cream. It also makes great trail food.
Natalie turned her homemade granola into a business after making samples for a 2012 holiday fundraiser for her daughter’s preschool. “I got so many orders I was baking the entire month of November and December,” she says.
Because a lot of the granola sold at the school fundraiser was purchased as gifts, Natalie began getting emails from people she didn’t know who wanted to order more granola. Her husband suggested she start a business, and in 2013, Natalie began baking granola at a commercial kitchen in Denver.
“It was very unexpected – you never know where life is going to take you,” says Natalie, 39.
Black Squirrel Deluxe Granola comes in three different flavors: The original Maple Pecan Almond; Cherry Pistachio; and Blueberry Coconut. The name Black Squirrel is a “reference to all the nuts in my granola,” says Natalie. “There are three to four times more nuts than other granolas.”
Except for the Blueberry Coconut granola, which contains no tree nuts; that flavor was created for those who are allergic to nuts, says Natalie. Unlike some dried blueberries I’ve tasted, the berries in this granola are plump and chewy!
The Black Squirrel moniker is also a tie-in to Colorado. The name came to her while noticing black squirrels scampering around Rocky Mountain National Park.
Most commercial granolas are made with sugar – rather than the pure maple syrup that Natalie uses. Many store-bought granolas also include canola oil, which costs less but is inferior to the organic, extra-virgin coconut oil added to Black Squirrel Deluxe Granola. “Quality was more important to me than the cost,” says Natalie. “If you want a quality product, you have to put in quality ingredients. I eat it all the time!”
The fancy Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Denver serves Black Squirrel Deluxe Granola to its guests. “I targeted them because it is high-end,” and the hotel cares about quality, says Natalie. “They definitely believe in giving their clients the best, so they choose to work with a lot of local businesses.”
Black Squirrel Deluxe Granola is also available at Coloradocraftedbox.com, and in Telluride Gift Baskets. For more information or to place an order, visit: www.blacksquirrelgranola.com.