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Good Karma

Posted on May 01, 2016 in Carma Crackers , Seaside Farmers Market , May-June 2016

Carma Crackers are artisan artistry By Sarah Murphy Robertson

The Seaside Farmers Market is the perfect spot for foodies to browse and find new treats and treasures. Can you envision a more beautiful place to enjoy samples and get inspired? Carma Crackers is one of those vendors whose products may appear simple, but these wholesome, unique snacks are far from it.

Panama City Beach resident and Carma Crackers owner Joanne Trout originally baked bread for the market, but after making crackers, she found her niche. She crafts her artisan Carma Crackers using non-GMO flour, fresh local ingredients, and without any preservatives or added colors. The result is a gourmet, healthful and tasty product.

Trout truly is a connoisseur of her crackers. She thoughtfully combines components and even encourages guests to sample them slowly — letting the flavors meld on the tongue. The recipe testing process allows Trout to be creative and have fun. “I am working on a rice cracker now,” she says. “It will contain only gluten-free ingredients.”

She loves playing around with different ingredients and combinations. One of her favorite crackers is the Sweet Orange and Basil. It, too, is made up of only gluten-free components like amaranth, flax and sesame seeds. She uses a touch of local honey, making this cracker especially good when crumbled on yogurt.

The most delicate flavor Trout offers is the Goat Cheese, Fig and Olive. It is subtle, mild and briny — pairing well with white wine or champagne. The Rosemary Asiago would be perfect alongside a smoked tuna dip or hummus. Made with a sourdough base, this cracker is crisp and light while the piney-herb essence of the rosemary aromatic and fragrant.

Careful attention to detail is what really sets Carma Crackers apart. Each batch of the Gorgonzola Basil is made with half a pound of fresh basil, and Trout also uses a dolce Gorgonzola — a younger, creamier and less punchy variety of blue cheese. The popular Umami Cheddar crackers are comprised of garlic that has been slow roasted for 30 days. The result is garlic with a mellow molasses-like sweetness. Roasting and then dehydrating fresh tomatoes adds a depth and richness to these crackers as well. See? No corner is cut when baking Carma Crackers.

Of course a great use for Carma Crackers is entertaining. They are special enough to jazz up a meat and cheese platter, but they can be used in some less likely ways too. Try serving them crumbled on salads instead of croutons or as a crunchy topping on casseroles or baked pasta dishes. They also make a delicious breading for fish, chicken or pork. The intense seasonings in these crackers enhance dishes and add tons of interest and texture.

Consider bringing Carma Crackers as a thank-you gift or hostess gift to your next dinner party. And note: they recently became available for order online; allowing visitors to Seaside to have their favorite kinds shipped home once vacation is over. Now you can have good “Carma” all year round.