Food, Insider's ObsessionsIn a Nutshell

untitledThe New Year is always a welcome time to start afresh, rethink goals, and start a less conscience-racking diet, in my case. With the rigors of holiday eating done for the season, I’m craving a change in my waistline and an infusion of energy back into my system. Thankfully, eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up all joy in life! I am completely obsessed with the crazy-fresh and naturally scrumptious nut bars from Nutshell. It may seem impossible that a bar- usually a last resort breakfast or snack- can be worthy of such a rave, but I myself was amazed the first time I tried a bite. The freshness of the nuts and ingredients such as espresso beans (in my fave flavor, Java), cinnamon, and of course walnuts, cashews, and other premium nuts produce a surprising and welcome flavor bomb.

Nutshell is a new boutique company headed by Will D’Agostino, an active outdoorsman who refuses to sacrifice flavor in a nutritious bar. They pay an amazing amount of attention to every single ingredient that goes into the bars. Each is packed with organic, vegan, gluten-free ingredients, and each flavor profile is so well curated it would be at home in a bakery. The bars can be kept fresh in the fridge until they’re ready to eat, and I recommend enjoying the bar at room temperature to ensure your tastebuds get the best experience. The crave-worthy bars available to the lucky residents of Connecticut and thankfully, to the rest of the country online. Trust me on this one, your workouts and tastebuds will love you that much more.

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We had a golden opportunity to get some inside information from the founder of Nutshell, and we hope you are as inspired as we are to get into the outdoors, with bar in pocket of course!

TDO: What inspired you to create Nutshell?

WD: I’m a big skier, hiker, climber and I’ve done a few month-long NOLS courses. I’ve always relied on nuts, fruits and seeds to keep me energized during these activities. There is such a wealth of nutrition packed in each handful of trail mix and the flavor combinations are endless. And there’s nothing more convenient than a bar that combines these ingredients to create a unique flavor. Unfortunately, so many companies make bars that use fillers, are overly processed, have preservatives or simply don’t taste good. I wanted to create a fresher bar, with simple ingredients, that would satisfy those cravings for a fresh baked good. A gluten-free, vegan and organic option with a flavor that resonates with all people, not just yogis, athletes and nutritionists.

TDO: How does Nutshell stand out from other bars on the market?

WD: I developed a way to make bars quickly and have them stay fresh for a couple weeks using vegan, gluten-free and organic ingredients. While most bars are designed to have a year-long shelf life and live on grocery shelf for months, Nutshell bars are delivered to local cafes, delis and natural food stores, in small batches, so customers enjoy the best flavor. We lightly chop our ingredients, so you can see what you’re eating. We don’t use any preservatives, but rely on refrigeration to keep our bars fresh. When you bite into the bar it’s soft and chewy but the nuts are still crunchy. It’s a truly different experience from any other bar on the market.

TDO: How are the ingredients sourced?

WD: We get 90% of our ingredients from a local organic supplier a few hours up the Hudson, Tierra Farm. Our peanut butter and chocolate spread come from equally awesome small companies, Saratoga Peanut Butter and LoveBean Fudge. We choose to be organic because the high oil content of nuts can absorb pesticides from non-organic producers.We want the best ingredients and we try to be as local as possible.

TDO: Can you describe the community of Nutshell?

WD: We are active people that love to eat and believe our core customers are too. We’re not shooting for a 100-calorie snack or to use engineered ingredients to curb nutrition facts. We are all about eating real food that is good for our bodies and we enjoy. We believe that when the ingredients are prepared in the right way, we will have customers craving a Nutshell nutbar each morning with their cup of coffee or each afternoon before the gym. We’re also very big on collaboration and the positive food movement. We have pioneered a local food forum in Fairfield County, Connecticut to unite new food businesses. We believe in sharing resources, increasing community engagement and encouraging new ventures.

TDO: What are your current obsessions (food, hobbies, experiences, gadgets, etc)?

WD: We love the outdoors and being active. I am a big believer in the power of surrounding oneself in nature. I have done month-long expeditions in Wyoming and British Columbia through NOLS (https://www.nols.edu/en/). I think the wonderful company, Tentrr (https://www.tentrr.com/), is breaking down the barrier for those not as familiar or comfortable venturing into the outdoors. We love many of the new athletic gyms and boutiques opening in NYC,from https://cycfitness.com to http://currentfitness.com/ to all of the independent yoga studios and boot camps. Lastly, we’re big fans of https://www.pieshell.com/. It’s a brand new crowdfunding platform for food-only companies. We are aiming to have a campaign there in January, and the company is truly incredible and a true visionary in the space.

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