For holidays, we always spring for special crackers. We have our year-round go-to favorites, but a special occasion deserves special crackers with the hors d’oeuvre, soup and cheese courses.
Raincoast Crisps is one of the finest cracker lines made.
Lesley Stowe spent years as a caterer before the demand for her crisps grew so great, she realized there was a different opportunity to pursue. She went into the crisps business full-time.
Perfect for antipasto, dips, cheeses, pâtés or eating by themselves, these crisps are a perfection of flavor, texture and eye appeal. They’re packed with seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame), nuts, fruits and herbs.
There are now six year-round flavors and a pumpkin edition for the holidays.
These small batch crackers* are made from scratch, using the finest-quality, all non-GMO ingredients. While Lesley could make them flat naturally, she creates a slight curve in the crisp to make them even more special (and great for dipping).
Much time was spent in the development of Raincoast Crisps. There’s a lot of hand labor required to get them just so. As a result, they’re pricier† than production-line crackers. But as a splurge, don’t hesitate to spend your money on them; they’re worth it. The products are certified kosher by OU.
*In the U.K. and Canada, crisps are something small and crunchy. Potato chips are called potato crisps.
†We have seen them for $7.99 to $11.99 for a 170 g (6-ounce) box, depending on the retailer.
THE GLORIOUS RAINCOAST CRISPS AND IDEAS FOR
As a caterer, Ms. Stowe had the experience to develop cracker flavors to pair with popular nibbles. Her choices follow, although your own preferences should guide your way.
Original Raincoast Crisps
With four types of seeds—no nuts, no fruits—this savory crisp is match anything, but Lesley favors it with:
Cheese: Boursin, Brie, Gruyère, Washed Rind Cheeses
Charcuterie: Bruschetta, Creamy Pâtés, Smoked Salmon
Wine: Champagne, Chardonnay, Zinfandel
Beer: Lager, Guinness, Wheat Beers
TOP PHOTO: Use Raincoast Crisps as the base for canapés. BOTTOM PHOTO: The flavors and textures of Raincoast Crisps. Photos courtesy Lesley Stowe.
Cranberry Hazelnut Crisps
This sweet and fruity crisp, with plump cranberries and toasty hazelnuts, is a natural with:
Cheese: Brie, Emmental, Aged Cheddar, St. André or other triple crème
Charcuterie: Salami, Smoked Turkey
Wine: Cabernet/Bordeaux, Pinot Noir/Red Burgundy, Zinfandel
Beer: Grolsh, Pale Ale
Fig & Olive Crisps
Pair this savory and salty crisp, made with Adriatic figs and Kalamata olives (no nuts), with:
Cheese: Brie/Camembert, Brilliat Savarin or other triple crème, Chèvre
Charcuterie: Capicollo, Tapenade
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
Beer: Indian Pale Ale, Pilsner
TOP PHOTO: Rosemary Raisin Pecan crisps
with blue cheese. BOTTOM PHOTO: The
filling of a New Orleans mufffuletta sandwich
is turned into a dip. Here’s the recipe. Photos
courtesy Lesley Stowe.
Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps
Try this sweet and savory crisp, balancing sweet Thompson raisins with pecans and fresh rosemary, with:
Cheese: Brie, Chèvre, Mild Blues
Charcuterie: Salami, Muffuletta
Wine: Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux Reds
Beer: Cream Ale, Blonde Ale, Pale Ale
While you’re at it, check out Lesley’s recipe for Caramelized Onion & Blue Cheese Dip. We couldn’t get enough of it.
Salty Date and Almond Crisps
Made at the request of customers for a saltier crisp, this combination of dates and almonds is topped with a dusting of coarse sea salt. Try it with:
Cheese: Havarti, Port Salut, Smoked Applewood Cheddar
Charcuterie: Country Pâté, Prosciutto
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Zinfadel,
Beer: Honey Brown Ale, Pale Ale
There are also two flavors exclusive to Whole Foods Markets: Apricot Fig & Lemon Crisps and the seasonal Pumpkin & Spice Crisps.
WHEAT-FREE, NUT-FREE CRISPS
So that more people can relish the crisps, there’s a wheat- and nut-free line made with oats, in:
Cranberry: Pair with Brie, fresh goat cheese or a triple crème; and/or prosciutto
Oat and Seed: Pair with blue cheese (softer is better), hummus, salami
Rosemary Raisin: Great with any cheese or dip
WHERE TO FIND THEM
There’s a store locator on the website, and they are sold online at Dean & DeLuca, iGourmet and other specialty food sites.
However, reading the reviews on Amazon raised an issue we need to point out. While almost every comment called them the “best crackers ever” (while bemoaning the high price), the majority reported that the crackers arrived in crumbs, that the packaging wasn’t good for shipping.
If you can’t find them or can’t afford them, several people have recreated their own copycat recipes—much to the chagrin of Ms. Stowe who spent so much effort developing them. (“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” she says.)
We can’t think of a better holiday gift for a foodie—along with a fine piece of cheese.
Learn more at LesleyStowe.com.
Cranberry Hazelnut Crisps photo courtesy Dean & DeLuca.