I've touched on NuGo bars before in reviews on this blog, but my local Krogers have stocked their shelves with basically the same flavors for quite some time, so I haven't had the opportunity to add to that review archive. On a recent trip through the store, I noticed that Kroger added a new flavor to their arsenal, so I was able to pick up this NuGo Dark Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt Bar for $1.79. The bar itself is 200 calories with ten grams of protein. It's also gluten free, vegan and pareve (a new one for me; click on this link to learn more), so it's a perfectly viable alternative for all the health nuts (I don't mean that in a derogatory sense) out there.
As I took this bar out of the wrapper, I was immediately struck by a few things. First, the outer dark chocolate coating had a strong smell. I wasn't really expecting that since I rarely find that coming from dark chocolate. Secondly, there was also a strong salty smell and that was definitely something I don't encounter often, but that smell was helped by the presence of crystals of sea salt on the OUTSIDE of the bar. I honestly believe that's a brand new one for me. The interior of the bar consisted of a pretty much standard soy crisp mix that also had some crumbled pretzel (and certainly more sea salt) bits mixed throughout. More salt that I could lick off the exterior if I wanted to...oh boy.
After I bit into this, I was struck by a flavor that I don't think was the intent of NuGo at all. For some odd reason, the interior of this semi-crunchy bar provided me with a hint of caramel flavoring. I liked it, but it wasn't quite expected. As for the intended flavors, this one had a surprising amount of sweetness coming from the dark chocolate. So much sweetness that it was almost reminiscent of milk chocolate and I very much appreciated it. What I didn't necessarily appreciate was the amount of salt in this bar coming from not only the crunchy pretzels, but also from the salt that was sticking to the dark chocolate exterior. That salt was present in all parts of this bar...beginning, end and aftertaste. It was always there. It wasn't so bad that it turned me off, but it was an interesting counterpoint to the surprising sweetness of the dark chocolate.
Buy It or Fly By It? This one is a tough one for me. The salt was a bit much, but despite that, the flavor was still decently enjoyable enough for me to give it a BUY IT rating. I will give a word of warning though...you definitely need a glass of water (or some liquid) nearby when eating this because this one will completely overpower and dry out your mouth with its salty flavor.