Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Nut Roasted Mixed Nut Bar

As I was getting my iPhone camera ready to take the picture above, I realized that I eat a TON of snack bars.  Yes, I should have already known that but sometimes I'm oblivious to my surroundings.  After my so-called revelation, I went ahead got this Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Roasted Mixed Nut Bar ready for the review.  I picked up a box of six of these bars on sale at Kroger for $2.49 and each bar is 1.2 ounces, 160 calories and has three grams of protein.

This bar looks pretty much like all the other Sweet & Salty bars that I've reviewed in the fact that it has a nut butter base topped by a granola mix that includes the various add-ins.  In my past reviews, the nut butter base has just been one nut, but in the case of this bar, the butter base is made of up of honey roasted almonds and cashews.  That's a new one.  In terms of the namesake mixed nuts that are in the general granola mix of the bar, they include peanuts, cashews and almonds.  Their general appearance (or at least presentation) was perplexing though.  The nuts themselves were quite large, but there was only a limited amount of them.  While large nuts are preferable (ha!), I would think they would have preferred to spread smaller ones more amply throughout the bar, but hey, what do I know?  As for the rest of the bar, the granola mix is made up of large oat pieces along with rice crispies.  Having had a bar from this product line before, nothing about this surprised me.

Again, having had this product line before, nothing about the flavor surprised me either.  It was just a different presentation.  The mixed nut butter base was thick, sweet and bordered on decadent since it melted in my mouth.  It provided a nice coating to the dry-ish granola mix and in terms of the more prevalent flavor of nut in the butter, I'd have to give the gold star to the honey roasted almonds.  The cashews losing out is a recurring them in the rest of the flavor of the bar too because frankly, I didn't taste much cashew in this at all. Outside of the nut butter, the most prevalent actual nut flavor belong to the peanuts and they were salty at that.  It was a good thing the sweet nut butter was there or else this one may have gotten out of control.  The almonds were noticeable, but I'm not sure if that was from the actual almonds themselves or if that was just carryover flavor from the nut butter.  Either way, at least they showed up, unlike the cashew whose only contribution was more crunch to the entire product when I encountered the occasional nut.  Unfortunately, based on my prior description, that was not as frequent as I would have liked.

Buy It or Fly By It?  While the amount of nuts was deficient, the almond butter and its decadence saved the day with this bar and lead it to a BUY IT rating.  I'm beginning to sense a recurring them with these bars because the nut butters are always decadent and the nuts themselves are always just there for a contrast.  That's fine though, because up to this point, it has been a successful recipe for Nature Valley (and General Mills).


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