Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Larabar ALT Pumpkin Pie Fruit and Nut Bar

I've mentioned on the blog before that pumpkin pie has increasingly become my favorite part of Thanksgiving.  I didn't like it for the longest time, but with each passing year, I've grown to like it more and more.  Having said that, seeing Larabar introduce another product to its catalog with these ALT bars by producing this Larabar ALT Pumpkin Pie Fruit and Nut Bar intrigued me quite a bit because it was both new and pumpkin pie-flavored.  In case you were wondering what ALT means, Larabar describes this as "ALT®, the Alternative Protein Bar™, is the first-ever bar with added protein from LĂ„RABAR! Many bar brands use soy or whey protein, but ALT uses an alternative protein source: peas."  Peas?!  Interesting.  Peas don't bother me though because unlike most of the kids in my elementary school, I always ate my peas when they were served to us at lunch (I also ate at least three other kids' serving of peas each time as well), so I'm definitely not scared of them.  Either way, I picked this up at Meijer for $1.25 and each bar is 1.95 ounces and has 220 calories with ten grams of pea-powered protein.

Despite the fact that this is a new product line, it really looks no different than the classic Larabar in that it's primarily made up of a date puree.  Within that puree are shards of peanuts, dried pumpkin bits and also PEAS, although the peas weren't visible.  I'm sure they were part of the puree.  Anyway, also included were "spices" but being the genius that I am (I also have a sense of smell), I was able to detect that those spices included both cinnamon and nutmeg. Now, I'm not the world's biggest fan of nutmeg (it's a necessary evil in a pumpkin pie), so the fact that it was so strong smelling did not exactly excite me.  Strong nutmeg or not, I was anxious to dive into something that was trying to model itself after the wonderful fall dessert.

So what did I get?  Well, I got something that tasted somewhat similar to a pumpkin pie.  That strong nutmeg smell was a harbinger of the taste to come as this bar had a lot of nutmeg flavor in it as well.  Like I said previously though, nutmeg is a necessary evil, so I had to put my dislike aside as I plowed through this very chewy bar.  The bar did have a hint of sweetness from the pumpkin bits and the date puree and the cinnamon brought a little heat on top the of the nutmeg, so in those respects it did taste similar to a pumpkin pie.  While the peanuts themselves did not have any discernible flavor, their presence did at least lend itself to breaking up the chewy texture of this and I would equate that to the crunch from the crust of the namesake pie.  I didn't particularly enjoy this at first, but the more I chewed through it, the more I grew to like it.

Buy It or Fly By It?  In the end, while this wasn't great, it was a reasonable enough approximation of a pumpkin pie, so it gets a BUY IT rating.  The nutmeg could be a bit too much at times and if you are averse to nutmeg, this is not something that you want to try.  If you like nutmeg or can at least deal with nutmeg and want a pumpkin pie-flavored snack without the pumpkin pie, you will get your craving more than satisfied with this bar.  Also, you'll get plenty (compared to standard Larabar products) of pea-packed protein as well.  You can't lose!


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