By Larry Grossman
Pardon the pun, but I considered myself very “lucky” this past fall while announcing at the 24 Hours of Moab mountain bike race to meet Paul Gelose, the founder and owner of a unique snack company known as Ricky’s Lucky Nuts.
Gelose, one of the event sponsors, had set up camp at the event with his specialty peanut, generously showering the grounds with his unique blends of spices and peanuts. According to the Ricky’s website (www.rickysluckynuts.com), the peanut is the most popular nut in the United States. With five incredibly diverse and different flavors, Gelose and co-owner Carolyn Lamb have come up with a perfect and new alternative to snacking on the trail, during workouts, or simply at your next home gathering.
Meet Ricky, of Oprah fame
Gelose’s claim to fame previous to his Ricky’s adventure was being Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef for a time, and he’s had culinary training in both Europe and the United States. Having traveled to Asia, Central America and Africa, the famed chef was able to experience what the rest of the world’s spice line up had to offer, which helped him develop the five flavors of Ricky’s Lucky Nuts.
The five flavors cover a great range and at least one is sure to please your own palate. Choose from “Original,” “Cocoa and Vanilla Bean,” “Bombay Curry Coconut,” “Spicy Chile Chipotle” and “Black Pepper and Salt.” The name “Ricky’s” comes from one of Gelose’s good friend and fellow chef who originally showed him a spiced peanut recipe that led to the development of the snack line.
Today’s snack buyers are a fairly sophisticated bunch of nuts, and they will read the nutritional facts box on every item they purchase for themselves or their family members. Ricky’s Lucky Nuts knows this, and they have paid very close attention while choosing and adding ingredients and spices to their dry-roasted peanuts. Ricky’s have no artificial ingredients, and they work with local and regional businesses for goods and services to support their local community in Durango, Colorado. Their peanuts come from just south of Colorado, from Texas, and the texture of these tasty products is crunchy and fresh.
Personal favorites for everyone
Ricky’s has a flavor for everyone. I love spicy foods and snacks, so the “Spicy Chile Chipotle” is my favorite, followed closely by the “Black Pepper and Salt.” The “Bombay Curry Coconut” has a mild blend of both of those spices and is one of those snacks that make you terribly disappointed when you realize the bag is empty, because you want more -- so buy two bags instead of one.
The bags are very easy to carry in a cycling jersey pocket or your daypack while hiking. Fill up a bowl while sitting back and watching your favorite sports on the television or at your next dinner or cocktail party and watch them disappear while people ask you where you found them. My favorite method of consumption is to mix two or three flavors in a zip lock bag and hit the trail -- it’s a flavor explosion that way.
The good news for locals in the Vail Valley is that Lucky Nuts are available in the Avon, Eagle and Vail City Market stores. They’ll soon be on sale in Dillon as well. The Market on Meadow Drive in Vail also carries Ricky’s and the Village Market in Edwards has them on their shelves as well. Of course you may also order directly from the Ricky’s Lucky Nut website and read much more about the company there as well. They are a “nut like no other!”
I’m a creature of habit like most of you, and Ricky’s Lucky Nuts have become a staple for me when I hit the road or trail on my bicycles. They are the perfect source for much-needed protein, and I find that keeping fueled while out playing is incredibly important. Even at home, I find that they are a much better and healthier alternative to a bag of chips. So go with Ricky’s and get your game on.
Gear up on Snacks
Don’t wait until you’re hungry and hit a sugar low to grab fuel while out on the trail. Here are a couple SneakPEAK picks for our favorite on-the-go energy snacks. They can be found in the energy-bar or health section of the supermarket or at many sports outfitters around town.
Ricky’s Lucky Nuts – a great source of protein, featuring multiple flavors and all-natural ingredients. They’re easy to carry and great as an everyday snack. See www.rickysluckynuts.com for more info. A case of four 6-ounce bags cost $20 online.
Clif Bar Shot Blocks – These gummy blocks are quick energy and easy to ingest on the run or on the bike. They come in multiple flavors (“Margarita” has three times the sodium of other flavors to prevent cramping and “Mountain Berry” is also a favorite) and an easy-to-access tube package. A box of 18 packs costs $37.85 at www.clifbarstore.com.
Honey Stinger Waffles – You could eat these as dessert – the thin, soft wafers are super easy to ingest while on the bike and is a good choice for those who don’t like gels or gummies. A box of 16 costs $22.24 at www.honeystinger.com.