Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review: Cascadian Farm Organic Sweet & Salty Peanut Pretzel Chewy Granola Bars

As I've mentioned before, Cascadian Farm's marketing to me by sending me free products for reviews worked.  I've bought and reviewed several of their products on my own based on those positive reviews and another sale at my local Kroger led me to pick up a box of five of these Cascadian Farm Organic Sweet & Salty Peanut Pretzel Chewy Granola Bars for $2.49.  Each bar in the box is 1.2 ounces and has 160 calories with three grams of protein.  Obviously, based on the name, they are trying to play up what can sometimes be an overplayed flavor combination with the sweet and salty mix, so it'll be interesting to see how it turns because I'm always reticent of products that make that claim.

As you can see above, this bar starts off with a base layer of thick chocolate.  Disappointingly (for me), that chocolate layer is dark chocolate.  Being that I'm not the world's biggest fan of dark chocolate, I was not exactly pleased to see that, but I'm willing to at least give this a chance.  On top of that dark chocolate base layer is the standard mix of granola and soy crisps, which was actually quite sticky to the tough.  Within that sticky mix were several large peanuts and also large pretzel pieces (along with sea salt), so they at least nailed that aspect of the product name.  They also nailed it on the smell as both the peanuts and chocolate battled with equally strong aromas.  So, at least based on looks and smell alone, they nailed the sweet and salty profile.

In terms of the taste, they kind of missed on the prevalence of sweetness or saltiness.  A more appropriate description of that for the product name should have been "Sorta Sweet & Sorta Salty" because those two flavors were not all that strong.  That said, the peanut flavor was definitely noticeable and the presence of those peanuts, along with the pretzels, brought some needed crunch to what was a very chewy bar, which is obviously in the name, so that was the intention.  The dark chocolate flavor in the bar was almost bitter and lingered in my mouth, which made it kind of unappealing, but it was not bitter enough to ruin anything.  One thing that was nice about that dark chocolate though was that its density brought a nice coating to pretzel, peanut and granola mix and almost lended an air of decadence.  I know I use decadence to describe a lot of things here, but I do always appreciate it when that melty quality coats the components of any bar.  This bar does that particularly well.

Buy It or Fly By It?  This is a tough one to judge because while nothing about this bar impressed me, it really wasn't all that bad.  It was just okay.  Like I said, it was kind of a "sorta" bar in the flavors that it was trying to achieve, but it wasn't a complete failure.  For that, I give it a tepid BUY IT rating.  There are bars out there that are going for this flavor combination that are better, but there are are also bars that are worse.  I guess what pushes this over the edge is that the peanut flavor is strong enough to save this bar from being a complete bore and that's a good thing.


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