Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: Cascadian Farm Crunchy Oats & Cocoa Granola Bars

I've mentioned previously that Cascadian Farm graciously sent me a care package of products to review and this is the last review out of that care package.  Previously, I've found their products to be fairly basic, yet still tasty and have been fond of them all.  Hoping to keep that victory streak alive, that leads me to this review of the Cascadian Farm Crunchy Oats & Cocoa Granola Bars.  They come in boxes of five pouches with two granola bars per pouch.  Each pouch is 1.42 ounces and has 190 calories and four grams of protein.  One things about this flavor that differed from the other granola bar flavors is that this bar was made up of nine ingredients as opposed to the seven from the prior reviews.  If you are interested, those ingredients are oats, sugar, sunflower oil, cracked cacao, tapioca syrup, cocoa powder, sea salt, molasses and vanilla extract.

Outside of the number of ingredients, there were a couple of extra differences in this bar versus the others.  First, this bar was somewhat slimy and slippery as opposed to the others that had a rough texture from granola.  Doesn't really matter, it's just an observation.  Anyway, another difference was that this bar included add-ins (small chocolate chips) and that was a definitely different than the others.  Those chips had a distinct chocolate smell which was also helped by the assistance of cocoa powder in the granola mix that gave this a slightly darker coloring than the others.  Other than those differences, it was same old story the rest of the way.

The visual differences also carried over to the taste differences as well because this one had a different presentation in terms of flavor and also mouthfeel.  First, I'll start with the mouthfeel and this one was difficult to chew because it seemed overly dry.  What I think made this more difficult was that the cocoa powder added a grainy feel to the granola and made it more difficult to swallow and also caused my mouth to dry up almost as soon as I started chewing.  That was not fun.  The chips themselves were tiny and occasionally provided a different textural feel, but there was nothing special about them.  Outside of the mouthfeel differences, there was just something off about the taste of this as well.  The cocoa powder and chocolate chips had no sweetness to them at all and tasted almost somewhat acidic.  I would very loosely and very oddly compare that taste to a banana and being no fan of bananas, anything that tastes like them gets low marks in my book...especially when it is supposed to taste like chocolate.

Buy It or Fly By It?  Chocolate that tastes like bananas?  Granola that is hard to chew and swallow?  Both of those things are not exactly positive descriptive characteristics of a bar, so that means that this one gets a FLY BY IT rating.  I would have liked to keep the hot streak for Cascadian Farm products going with this one because there aren't many things better in this world than chocolate, but in this case, I just couldn't do it.


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