Pros: Light, crispy (not hard or crunchy), salty
Cons: They do break more easily than I'd like.
I grew up in a Premium household. No, we werent rich, we werent superior to our neighbors. What were we then? Well, we were cracker-impaired. Yes, cracker-impaired. Read on to find out what I mean.
My mother was a Premium junkie. Saltines, oyster crackers, any other cracker-type thing had to be Premium. So I grew up believing that saltine crackers were supposed to be dry. Hard. Crusty. Moisture-sucking bricks of salt and flour. It wasnt until, as a teenager, I wandered into a friends house that I saw The Light.
The Light? Oh, yes indeed-do, my friends. The Light, airy (not crusty), crisp, salty flavor of Zesta Crackers!
Ohhh, where had these marvels of crackering technology been all my life? Oh, Joy! Gone was the spitless horror of eating crackers without a gallon of water! Gone was that feeling that my mouth had become a mini-Sahara in my head. Suddenly, I wanted to eat crackers ALL the time!
Zesta Crackers come in a bright, attractive red box that holds four plastic sleeves of crackers. While the crackers do stay fresh-tasting for a days after opening, these plastic sleeves are not resealable, though a rubber band is really all you need to close up the sleeve and keep things fresh even longer.
Looks-wise, these crackers look a lot like Premium Crackers. A little less crusty looking, a little less baked/browned, but pretty much the same.
The smell of these crackers is surprisingly appetizing. Salty, grainy, they make my mouth water and I cant really even say why. It may be indefinable, but there is a marked difference between this aroma and the smell of other saltines.
Texture-wise, Zesta Crackers are less hard, less flaky and crusty than Premium Crackers. If, like my son, you like crumbling up your crackers over a bowl of soup, youll find that the Zestas are easier to crush. Theyre also easier to bite through, and they practically melt while being chewed, and they do it without desiccating the mouth. Theyre crisp, but not crunchy.
Flavor-wise, Zesta Crackers are salty, as theyre supposed to be, but, rather than tasting like a baked square of flour with salt on it, they taste like a baked square with salt in it. That makes a difference to me. They have a terrific, baked flavor that goes so nicely with everything from peanut butter and jelly (really!) to cheese and meat, chicken soup to tuna salad.
That does bring me to the one shortcoming to Zestas lighter, crispier textureunlike the harder, crustier Premium, Zestas sometimes lacks the hardness and strength to handle dippingsometimes they snap under the pressure of scooping peanut butter.
Zesta Crackers come in at 12 calories per crackersame as Premium. The serving size is five crackers, and those five crackers have 2% of the Daily Value for fat, 10% for sodium (thats 3% more than Premium), and 11 grams of carbohydrate. So if you eat a whole sleeve, youre looking at around 480 calories, more sodium than I care to contemplate, and all the carbs you need for a few days. Add peanut butter and jelly, and you may as well order a new wardrobe a few sizes bigger.
Zesta Crackers are not a health food. Theyre also not particularly bad for you. Theyre sort of a nutritional zero that really adds that special something to homemade chicken soup or an afternoon tuna fish treat.
In all, I really like my Zestas--they kick ALL the butt over Premium Crackers. Theyve got a light, crispy, pleasant texture, are less hard and crusty than the competition, and have a wonderfully baked, salty taste that works with a number of foods or all by itself as a snack. Now that Ive discovered Zesta, Ill never go back. Im in cracker heaven.