Friday, August 9, 2013

Review: Ananda Squares by Isaac Roberts

Today's review is a little bit different of a review for me.  Usually I review products that are available via an actual store location or via the internet.  Today's review is a review of something that is trying to make it to those locations via a Kickstarter project.  In Ananda Squares' initial e-mail to promote their product (and project) to me, they described their business as this: "We're trying to connect with people who are health concious, gluten-free, Vegetarian, Vegan, and in need of a better source of Amaranth and Quinoa for their diets on the go."  In case you are curious and have no idea what amaranth is like I did, it is part of the same family of plants as quinoa, so the correlation made in that introduction makes perfect sense.  As part of this promotion, they sent me three miniature versions of their product (typically they are about 3.5" by 3.5" in size; these were about 1" by 1") to try out and I'll address each individually as I go along.  Also, their project timeline ends on August 22nd, so if you like what you see here and are interested, feel free to check out their Kickstarter information page for more, including what the final packaging will look like as opposed to my samples above.  Their slogan is "Eat Amaranth With Ease" so I guess I'll put that to the test.

First, I'll start with what I'll call the basic model of these Ananda Squares which they quite easily call "Natural".  A full-sized version of these is about 1.16 ounces and has 120 calories with three grams of protein.  As you can see above, this is very basic in that it basically just includes amaranth that is bound together by cane and lime juice, along with agave nectar.  Obviously with the correlation to quinoa already mentioned, I'm being redundant by drawing the comparison again.  When I took a whiff of these prior to taking a bite, it had that typical grain smell, if that means anything to you.  In terms of taste, it reminded me a lot of a rice cake with a mild hint of caramel corn flavoring.  For being something basic, that was okay with me because I know they weren't trying to do anything crazy with this.  The hint of caramel corn flavor saved this for me because if I didn't have that, this may have bordered on the most boring thing I've ever eaten.  I personally wouldn't grab this one, but it still gets a BUY IT rating due to the fact that it delivers some decent flavor, albeit in a very conservative way.

Next up is the Dark Chocolate version of the Ananda Squares.  This one is just a Natural Ananda Square with a swirl of dark chocolate on top.  It's obviously nothing crazy, but it is a good way to put a spin on a basic square.  Since dark chocolate has so many health benefits too, it remains moderately healthy too.  A full-size version of this would come in at 1.55 ounces with 170 calories and three grams of protein.  As always, I took a quick smell of this prior to my first bite and the chocolate smelled about like what you'd expect chocolate to smell like.  When I took my first bite, I was not surprised by what I encountered based on my initial Natural square.  The only difference here is that moderate caramel corn flavor was met with what I'll call a tickle of quickly melting and surprisingly sweet dark chocolate.  Being that it was just a tickle of dark chocolate, it stopped short of being what I could describe as decadent, but it was just enough to make me particularly enjoy this, so it gets a BUY IT rating.

In my last taste test, I jumped into the square that I was most intrigued by with my sample of the Nuts and Berries version.  While there is only one nut in here (almonds, and that's fine), they definitely did not cheat on the amount of large berries.  Included in that berry mix were dried blueberries, cherries and goji berries.  I've got to say that I was impressed not only by the size of the berries, but also by the variety of berries.  It seems like I don't see that kind of variety often, so from a design standpoint, this bar was well. done.  In terms of the measurable statistics, this is typically 1.73 ounces with 190 calories and four grams of protein.  When I bit into this, I of course tasted the aforementioned natural base, so there were no surprises there.  What was surprising and also very welcome was the taste of the berry and nut mix.  The nuts provided occasional bursts of crunch and since the berries were of the dried variety, they provided some gummy chewiness to the square.  In terms of flavor, it was an alternating taste of sweetness and tang, although out of all the dried fruits, the cherries clearly had the most and best flavor.  Everything else was just the cherry on top of the sundae and pardon my attempt at being cute there.  All in all, the mix of all the flavors and mouthfeels made this square a winner and it would very much get a BUY IT rating.  This was wonderful in its present state, but if they wanted to make the definition of delicious and also decadent at the same time, they could add chocolate to the equation.  Of course, that's only a personal preference as this bar doesn't need the addition at all.

Buy It or Fly By It?  I've already rated all of them, but in general, I would give Ananda Squares a BUY IT rating.  The Nuts and Berries version was the best out of all I tasted and that would be the one I'd gravitate to if these make it to the store.  Speaking of making it to the store, if you are interested in trying these out yourself, you are going to need to donate to their Kickstarter project so that they can meet their goal.

Note:  Other than free product samples, I have no financial interest or other involvement in this company whatsoever.  I just feel that these are tasty products and want to get the world out in case people are interested in investing.  Just feel that putting the disclaimer out is necessary so that this doesn't look like a begging sales pitch that benefits me in any way.

1 comment:

  1. on their website it says theyre trying to make a bar with cherries and chocolate!


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