Taste Test: Easy-to-Pack Energy From Pasokin Peanut Butter Bites

The combination is so simple, yet so satisfying: roasted peanuts, salt and cane sugar.

The flavor is hard to resist and often has a nostalgic effect, bringing people back to their childhoods. Such is the case for professional adventure racer Marco Amselem, who founded Pasokin based on a popular Brazilian snack of his childhood called paçoca (pronounced pa-SO-ca).

Taste Test Pasokin
These peanut butter snacks fit conveniently in your pocket for an on-the-go refuel, just about anywhere. Photo: Courtesy of Pasokin

Paçoca, which roughly translates to “crumble with hands,” dates back hundreds of years when Brazilians would grind peanuts, cassava flour and several other ingredients in a bowl to make a treat that would last families a few weeks, Amselem explains to ASN.

Traditional paçoca is considered a candy in Brazil, but Amselem – with an extreme focus on his athletic training – would often bring the snack with him to workouts and share it with his teammates. He soon discovered that peanuts, sugar and salt worked together perfectly to replenish electrolytes, boost energy and provide protein. “What if paçoca was more than just a candy?” he wondered.

The answer – after almost 2 years of extensive sourcing, vetting and tests in Amselem’s personal kitchen – was Pasokin. It was no easy task, but the process allowed Amselem to finally source the most high-quality ingredients (including the most challenging: the peanuts). He landed on a high-quality farmer in Texas, whose species of peanuts were high in phenolic acid – which creates stabilization when roasted and keeps Pasokin’s final product from just becoming a nut butter.

Taste Test Pasokin
Marco Amselem, founder of Pasokin. Photo: Courtesy of Pasokin

Even though Pasokin isn’t pigeonholing their product as an energy or sports snack, the crossover just makes sense. “The product is definitely good for athletes,” explains Amselem. “Energy and carbs from sugar, electrolytes from salt and protein from peanuts. It is the simplest way to get these three components.”

As a result, Pasokin has been picked up by many bike shops and climbing gyms in San Diego, Colorado and beyond, and hopes to expand their presence into larger chains like REI and Canada’s Mountain Equipment Co-Op, while still remaining affordable and accessible to the masses.

Taste Test Pasokin
The winner of Tour de France 2018, Geraint Thomas, snacks on Pasokin during a ride in San Diego with professional triathlete Cameron Wurf (left) and MotoGP world champion Cal Crutchlow. Photo: Courtesy of Pasokin

What I liked most about Pasokin: If you need just a little pick-me-up in the afternoon (or in the morning – Pasokin pairs great with a cup of coffee, by the way) then these bite-sized snacks are just the thing. They’re light and airy (not thick and chewy, like one might imagine) so they don’t feel as bulky and heavy as other energy-based snacks.

Both flavors are great, although the cocoa crunch is a bit sweeter than the original recipe (which essentially contains just roasted peanuts, cane sugar, salt and organic cornstarch).

I liked the added crispy texture that the cocoa crunch offered (from organic crispy puffed quinoa), but disliked the addition of Stevia in this flavor (even though there’s only 2 percent or less included). The flavor is mild, but for those who dislike artificial sweeteners and the aftertaste they tend to produce, then the original flavor is your best bet.

One package could easily be split up throughout the day – between a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack while out on the trail – keeping hunger under control and energy levels up in between meals. And if you have the desire to pack more, Pasokin’s compact packaging makes that very easy.

From a nutritional standpoint, both flavors contain 70 calories, 2 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of sugar in a single serving. Both are gluten-free, non-GMO verified, plant-based, vegan and contain no preservatives or trans fat.

The packaging (two bite-sized Pasokin in a small, pocket-sized box) is also made from recycled paper and soy ink. Everything is made and packaged in Pasokin’s San Diego, California, facility, giving Amselem and his small team 100-percent control over everything that goes into the snack.

You’ll be glad you stashed a few Pasokin in your pack – trust us. Photo: Courtesy of Pasokin

This snack is poised to do great things in the outdoor space and beyond. The taste will hook you, and the ingredients are worry-free, minimal and (probably most importantly) delicious.

We also love that Pasokin is giving back to a small Southern California organization dedicated to making sure children have healthy meals and snacks, seven days a week.

One last word to the wise: our stash disappeared quickly, so stock up if you plan to share with a group on your next adventure.

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