31 August 2016

Serre Marchetto Mountain Trail Mix for National Trail Mix Day 2016

My Serre Marchetto Trail mix and local maps of our area
Who knew that August 31, was National Trail Mix Day? I didn't, that's for sure, until the folks over at Nuts.com let me in on this American designation. So, when they told me about a contest they are cosponsoring where the winner of the contest's recipe will be featured on their Nuts.com blog, I thought it would be fun to participate. What's not to love about making a great snack worthy of tucking into your rucksack, backpack, or hand bag  for when you are hitting the walking, running, cycling or traveling trail. I thought, hey, why not? Why not indeed, as hiking, or as the Brits much prefer to call it, just plain ole walking, is one of my favorite pastimes and our very own Serre Marchetto neighborhood in Val Chisone, Italy is just full of trails in every direction from our house. Our Bella Baita B&B -Italian Alps Retreat is a great choice for exploring the trails and beauty our neighborhood has on offer. 

All roads lead to Serre Marchetto, well at least some do
My husband has been making wooden trail signs, marking and cleaning paths in collaboration with our local chapter of C.A.I. (Club Alpino Italiano, passionate mountain enthusiasts), for a number of years now to reclaim our neighborhood paths for all to enjoy and find their way round our neck of the woods.
Some of Fabrizio's , my husband, handiwork

In collaboration with our "Regione Piemonte", Fabrizio Roncaglia and our friend Silvano Damiano, have worked tirelessly to clean, reclaim and map out our trails, putting all the trails on a GPS system. We are one of the first communities to utilize this equipment that literally puts our trails on the GPS system. They have made a small map of the area with descriptions of 6 classic walks in the area for all to use. We're really proud of this undertaking and happy to help make this happen in what ever way we can.
The Pinasca trail map resulting from all that hard work
This is an ongoing project with many paths being dusted off and made walkable for the public to discover and will continue to maintain the trails for years to come. 
Fabrizio, Silvano and Valentina, Silvano's daughter working on the trail signs and others coming along for the guided walk
 We live in the Italian Alps, off the beaten path, in the lower part of the Piedmont Alps where we are spoiled for choice, where every type of mountain exploring is possible. A high energy snack that is easily portable is a necessity to keep you going when the energy levels dip. Sounds like a handy, energy filled, natural snack is an essential part of what to take along when you are out on the trail, don't you think?
Hitting the trail in nearby Val Pellice
So why take the time to make a trail mix when there are so many options available and they are all just the same, right? Well no, not exactly. I have to admit, that often I find commercial blends to be just a tad boring or they don't have the right combinations or proportions of the ingredients I like, so making ones own is a smart and often economical choice.
So you say a trail mix is a trail mix, which is just another trail mix? Well, I might agree with you except I just happen to think that roasting your seeds and nuts make the flavors stand out rather than the somewhat bland and familiar raw taste of the seeds and nuts. Maybe that's just me. I like to  add a little saltiness by way of using soy sauce to the seeds after I have lightly pan roasted them to give that little "je ne sais quoi"? ( translates as "I don't know what" ), or what I think of as an added depth and flavor profile to this mixture, which for me, makes this combination a real knock out. Naturally, like most trail mixes, the amounts are variable depending on your particular preferences. If you prefer your mix without the saltiness or can't be bothered toasting the seeds and nuts, then by all means, don't, but I think you'll be happy that you did if you go to a little extra effort. Happy munching and tramping around in the woods, or enjoying this mix in all the ways this powerhouse of flavor and energy can stand in for your average neutral trail mix.
Serre Marchetto Trail Mix
Serre Marchetto Trail Mix Recipe

Yields about 5 1/4 cups

Ingredients:

1 c / 5 oz /150g          Sunflower seeds
1/4 c / 1 oz / 30g       Sesame seeds
1/4c / 1 oz / 35g        Pepitas or pumpkin seeds
1 Tb / 1/2 oz / 12g     Soy sauce
1/2c / 5 oz/ 150g       Almonds
1/2c / 2 oz / 75g        Hazelnuts
1c / 5 oz / 150g          Golden raisins
1c / 5 oz / 150g          Dried Cranberries
1/2c / 1 oz / 40g        Dried Apple cubes
1/4c / 1 oz / 25g        Goji berries
3 Tb / 3/4 oz /25g    Cacao nibs 

Method:

  • Measure out all of your ingredients so they are ready to toast and mix
  • I like to begin by warming up my heavy  cast iron skillet.
  • I toast my almonds and hazelnuts in the pan, stirring or shaking the pan to evenly toast to desired color. I tend to like them only slightly  toasted. Remove from the heat and set aside in a mixing bowl to cool until you add the other ingredients.  Place your pan back on the heat. **You can do this in the oven as well, but I don't like to turn the oven on for such a simple task that doesn't require a lot of time to achieve the right color and flavor. Your choice, just don't walk away and forget your nuts as they toast up fast either way. 
  • Now add the sunflower and pumpkin seeds to the pan and lightly toast them, stirring or shaking the pan regularly. As the seeds begin to get a little color I sprinkle the sesame seeds in and stir them to toast. Note that the sesame seeds will pop and dance about, so you might want to have a lid handy to keep them in the pan. 
  • Once you have the seeds to a light color, turn off the heat and add your soy sauce to the seeds and stir to coat all. The heat makes the seeds stick to the pan a bit, but also adds a bit of flavor as well. Let cool a bit before adding to the other nuts. 
  • Add all of your other ingredients while the seeds are still warm as they will soften the dried fruits and slightly clump up for your snacking pleasure. 
  • Let cool completely before storing in an air tight container. 
  • Take along whenever a high energy snack is needed. 
  • Happy Trails!!!!
Serre Marchetto Trail mix and local maps of our neighborhood

4 comments:

Michelle Johnson said...

Sounds fantastic! WIll give this a try!

Jane McLeod said...

I look forward to trying the recipe! I will be taking a group of high schoolers on a long hike in a week or so; I predict they will ask for more. I'd rather lose myself on the trails around Bella Baita but this will have to do!

Marla Gulley said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting Michelle and Jane. I hope you will enjoy it and naturally have fun adjusting it to your own tastes.

Jane McLeod said...

Our hiking trip was postponed so I only just made this tonight. Might tasty! I made the recipe as written except that I used chocolate-covered goji berries in place of the goji berries and the cacao nibs. That made for a nice bit of melted chocolate here and there.

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