A few weeks ago at a CT Bites editorial mtg. we got into a heated discussion regarding which brand of hummus was the best on the market. This may seem odd to some, but we are serious about our food here. Everyone had their personal favorites, and the issue could not be decided concretely by debate...there is no convincing a foodie. Chef Nicole stepped in with the perfect solution to our hummus conundrum…a humus showdown, or in practical terms a blind taste test.
The editorial team loved the idea, so last week we gathered to talk shop, and more importantly, to eat hummus...lots of hummus. We tried to get a sampling from a wide range of markets, and even included a favorite Middle Eastern restaurant. Sure, we may have missed some, but here were our contenders:
Hummus Showdown Contenders
Garelick & Herbs (Greenwich, New Canaan, Westport )
Trader Joe's (Darien, Fairfield, Westport)
Layla's Falafel (Stamford, Fairfield)
Balducci's (Greenwich, Westport)
The Fresh Market (Westport)
Organic Market (Westport)
We sampled each hummus neat, with a spoon to avoid interfering with the taste. The judging criteria was taste and consistency. Here are the results:
Balducci’s- Sabra Brand
Comments: “super creamy," "flavor is subtle, not overpowering," "balanced," "almost mayonnaisey in consistency," "perfect," "very smooth," thick.”
Bottom line: Everybody was shocked, but this mass produced brand was our hands-down winner. It had great creamy smooth mouthful and just the right amount of tahini and spices without being overpowering in any direction.
The Fresh Market- Greek Grocer Lemon Hummus
Comments: “overly lemony," "too creamy," "good texture," "strange after-taste," "a little grainy.”
Bottom line: This was not a crowd-pleaser. The lemon flavor in this was very overpowering, and it was too grainy for some. However, if you like your hummus VERY lemony, go for it.
The Fresh Market - Greek Grocer Original Hummus
Comments: “simple, almost earthy,” “ missing something,” “tastes like plain garbonzo beans,” “slightly gritty texture.”
Bottom line: This version of the Greek Grocer brand is far preferable to the Lemon flavor. It tastes like tahini plays a minor role in thus hummus. In fact, you can barely taste it, but there is a simplicity to the flavor that may appeal to some.
Garelick and Herbs
Comments: “ oddly chunky," "too crunchy,” “off tasting,” “too garlicky,” “odd texture,” “tastes like tuna,” “not crazy about the bits.”
Bottom line: This was our least favorite in the line-up. It had very chunky gritty consistency, and overpowering garlic flavor. It felt like it needed to be processed more and required more olive oil to hold it together.
Layla’s Falafel (from her Fairfield location)
Comments: “strong tahini," "thick and smooth," "rich tasting," "salty but good," "too sesame flavored," "tahini flavor is strong."
Bottom line: The group was split down the middle on this one. Some of us loved the rich tahini flavor, others felt it was overpowering. The consistency is perfect on this one. Layla makes it fresh daily, so if you are in the area, pick some up. It's tasty.
Comments: “ nice tahini flavor," "lemony," "fresh and smooth," "great depth on the roasted sesame flavor," "extra creamy," "rich balanced flavor.”
Bottom line: A few of us loved this one. Others preferred the Sabra or Layla's, but this is a pretty solid contender if you like your hummus with a lot of tahini, and with more of a texture than Layla's or Sabra has. It tastes home made because is it…less processed.
Trader Joe’s- Mediterranean style Hummus
Comments: “Has slight texture,” “garlicky,” “well spiced,” “good tahini flavor,” “pine nuts and olive oil are nice addition on top.”
Bottom line: This one is pretty good, and the pine nuts and drizzle of olive oil are a nice touch. If you are at Trader Joe's and don't feel like making a second trip to another market, it is a good solid option. It does have decent amount of garlic in it, so if you are one of those people who cant stand garlic, this is not for you.