In the middle of attempting to put our home on the market for our pending move to New Mexico, and in the midst of extreme stress, I received a sample package of a product recently brought to the US from Greece. Packed inside this box was a sample of every flavor of Wellaby’s Crackers and Cheese Ups. When I opened the package, I expected maybe a box or two of crackers to sample. However, I had what felt like a pantry full. On the top where these were these foil packets of delight, the Cheese Ups: “Classic Cheese,” “Smoked Cheese” & “Parmesan.” I pulled out several boxes of large crackers with flavors such as: “Classic Cheese,” “Feta, Oregano, & Olive Oil,” “Rosemary & Onion,” and “Parmesan & Sun-dried Tomato.” Then we had mini crackers: “Original Cheese,” “Red Cheddar,” & “Grated Parmesan.”
Cheese, crackers, and nostalgic reminders of the ghosts of foods past before gluten-free days, (and so much better than the gluten versions), cheered me and my entire family. In fact, they quickly became a lifeline as my son loves crackers, my husband has always loved cheese nibs, and the Cheese Ups Parmesan were my own comfort food. I would not share that bag!I never liked “Cheese Nibs” because despite the claims of “real cheese,” they taste gross to me. Cheese doesn’t taste like that! Although I was excited to try the Cheese Ups, which looked more like a puffed chip, I carried some hesitation with the mini crackers because I dont’ like cheese nibs or usually any cheese flavored crackers. And that’s the difference, they are cheese crackers, NOT cheese nibs or cheese flavor!
Once I tried them, there is no comparison except to say those who miss Cheese Nibs will be very happy with these delightful little bites of happiness. The larger party crackers are also fantastic. Almost all gluten-free crackers need something pretty strong to hide the ‘off-taste.’ I use them for a base to eat my favorite dips, spreads etc, so it works. However, with the Wellabys, the flavor of the “Rosemary and Onion” carry themselves so well there is no need for any thing further. In fact, I felt like I was cheating on the cracker when I put some brie on it. With that said, the “Sun-dried Tomato & Parmesan,” tastes extra lovely with a bit of goat cheese or cream cheese. These crackers all do contain real cheese, and a decent amount of it. The second ingredient in the “Sun-dried Tomato & Parmesan” cracker is Edam Cheese and a few ingredients further lists the Parmesan Cheese. These are the real deal!
“Cheese Ups.” These 3-D shaped triangles are addictive. All three adults working to pack, noted that “something about these crackers, maybe the shape, vaguely reminded them of Bugles.” However, they taste like crispy cheese & they contain 43% cheese. They were by far, our favorite of the samples, but that’s because they are simply extra special rather than the other’s falling short. The Cheese Ups are a 2008 Award winner from the International Taste and Quality Institute as well as a Silver Award winner from the 2010 Best of Expo. The best way to describe the experience is that Cheese Ups pop or explode in your mouth with their hollow insides and crispy, delicate outside.
So, I probably sound like I’m writing marketing copy at this point and not a review. I simply loved the crackers. Although the large crackers can be a bit hard if you have some dental work, they are by far some of the best tasting crackers I’ve had since going gluten-free. The large crackers also were broken more in a few packages, but it didn’t affect the taste. A good friend of mine who eats gluten said, “I’d buy these any time. I don’t care if they are gluten-free, they are fantastic!”
I did like some of the flavors better than others, but that is more of a cheese preference. My favorite Cheese Ups were the Parmesan. Something about that Parmesan flavor…I ate the entire bag for dinner. Good thing it’s a small bag. I’m not as much of a smoked Gouda person, so that one my family devoured. My favorite flavor for the larger crackers was the “Rosemary and Onion.” With the others I prefered something such as a goat cheese or a cream cheese, but the “Rosemary and Onion” stood on their own. With the mini crackers, the classic cheese held its own. I think it’s a bit too strong for my taste in the larger crackers (but I was never a cheese cracker person until I was sent these, so keep that in mind!), but it’s fantastic for the mini-crackers. The one cracker I didn’t think quite tasted like the cheese were the feta crackers. They were excellent, but I couldn’t taste the feta. They were still great, but I just didn’t have that distinct feta taste like you do with the Parmesan crackers.
The only slight concern I had with the crackers is the box does not mention a “dedicated gluten-free facility” or “certified Gluten Free.” With the 1 in 133 event coming up in D.C., I knew many of my readers would want to know about this. Check out Wellaby’s website where they state:
All our products are made in a dedicated facility that solely produces and develops gluten-free products. This means that no gluten containing ingredients are used in the entire facility, thus eliminating the risk of cross-contamination.
In addition, we conduct constant lab tests to secure that Wellaby’s products always deliver the best quality and never become contaminated with unwanted ingredients.
Also, According to their site, their facility is ISO 22000, IFS and BRC certified. I actually used to work for an ISO certified company in a department that helped ensure ISO standards were followed. It’s a very rigorous standard. Knowing the company cares enough about their quality to certify and put into practice standard procedures is very reassuring, especially in light of all the companies trying to get away with “gluten-free” labeling since there is no FDA standard at the moment.
Overall, I recommend the Wellaby’s crackers. I enjoyed them immensely, and I hope they come to stores that my family frequents. I have not seen them yet in any of the Colorado Stores; hopefully maybe they are in a New Mexico store? In the meantime, you can order them on Amazon.com – just put in Wellaby’s in the search or on the Wellaby’s website.
Oh, and they are available throughout the world. Again, they are from Greece, check their map to see if you can get them in your country.
Disclaimer: Although Wellaby’s sent a the sample free of charge, I was under no obligation to write a review or a positive review. I wrote a positive review because I liked the product and think others might enjoy it as well.