Back-to-School Swag #2: Xagave Review and Giveaway

 

[Here's what I whipped up with my Xagave]

The contest is now closed.  Thanks to everyone who entered!

I’ve been a fan of agave nectar for quite some time now (a quick glance   through my Recipe Index will yield many recipes using agave).  I first encountered agave as a student at nutrition school, and was immediately smitten–I love the mild flavor, the flowing texture, the low glycemic index. If you’ve been using agave, too, you are probably aware of some recent controversies about it.  So let me get those over with right off the bat.

Is agave the same as high fructose corn syrup?  Does agave contain chemicals? Is agave bad for you?  Is agave Satan incarnate, enrobed in a glistening, golden shellac?

I’ve read many articles about agave, both pro and con.  And my final conclusion (and please, note that this is just my personal opinion; you may disagree, and that’s fine with me) is that agave, like any other natural sweetener, is acceptable in moderation.  If made using the proper techniques (see below), it seems to me it’s no worse than pure maple syrup, or Sucanat, or even dates.

When I heard from the fine people at Xagave (pronounced zuh-GAH-vay) a while back, asking if I’d like to try their brand of the honeyed liquid, I didn’t hesitate to say ”yes.”  Since I already liked agave, I knew I’d enjoy creating a new dessert recipe using some of it.  And I’m now I’m finally at the stage of the ACD when I can indulge in the occasional (and, as I found out after I baked these brownies, “occasional” doesn’t equal “five in one day”) pastry made with agave or palm sugar instead of just stevia or yacon syrup. 

There are a few reasons why Xagave may be different from typical agave nectar, according to the studies and lab results they sent to me.  To begin with, Xagave uses two types of nectar, combined to create a smooth, evenly sweet flavor as well as a lower glycemic index than most other agaves(Xagave boasts a 49 GI;a kiwi is 53, pineapple is 66, and watermelon is 72).

In addition, their proprietary blend of two types of nectar, agave tequiliana and agave salmiana, produces a nectar that is high in inulin, a “prebiotic” (polysaccharide) that barely affects blood sugar levels but concomitantly helps to improve digestion because it feeds the “good” bacteria (probiotics) in the gut lining.  Xagave also contains iron and other vitamins and minerals (including 17% of your daily calcium in a single tablespoon).  Robyn, the friendly representative with whom I corresponded, also noted that Xagave is “not processed like HFCS and given the temperatures used when making Xagave [113F], it can be considered ‘raw’.”  And it’s 100% organic. (Note: if you’re interested in reading more on this issue, check out Xagave’s rebuttal to one famous naysayer or a detailed review of the controversy by Susan at the Rawmazing blog).

With so much in favor of Xagave, how could I resist? Especially with its  lower GI score, I felt confident that it would be acceptable for me at this point.  I set about getting creative in the kitchen. Of course, I wanted to create something truly specatcular with this, my long-favored natural sweetener.  And pleased to tell you that I think what I came up with fits the bill. (Check out my masterpiece here).

What I liked about Xagave was their obvious effort to stay true to the traditional methods while also improving upon agave nectar that is extracted from a single plant.  The color of their syrup is slightly deeper and more intense than the agave I’d previously purchased (and I apologize that I didn’t snap a photo of the bottle–I was so eager to get started that I’d used up 3/4 of it before I even thought about pictures).  And the flavor was lovely–light, sweet, not cloying in any way, but also unmistakably “agave.”

I was really pleased with this product and am sorry that my bottle is almost empty (since we can’t yet get it in Canada).  But YOU can get a whole bottle–plus an agave recipe cookbook!–for free, no matter where you live, because I’m giving them away!  The kind people at Xagave have agreed to send out a bottle of their agave plus their cookbook to one lucky DDD reader.  Yay! :D

How to Enter the Giveaway

The contest is now closed.  Thanks to everyone who entered!

You earn one entry for each of the following (please be sure to leave a comment here for each one that you do; it makes counting entries that much easier):

1) Leave a comment on this post telling me one thing that you like about agave or one way that you use it.

2) Tweet about this giveaway, being sure to mention @rickiheller so that I see your tweet (and leave a comment here telling me that you did);

3) Mention the giveaway on Facebook, and link to this page;

4) Mention the giveaway in a blog post, and link to this page;

5) Send an email to someone you think would be interested in the giveaway, and copy me on it so I can count it as an entry (at dietdessertdogsATgmailDOTcom).

I’ll choose a winner at random after midnight tomorrow, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13,  and post the winner after that.

Good luck, everyone! :D

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