I love me some coupons. Digital, cut out of the paper, whatever...just give me my savings. It's that undying love of savings that giddily caused me to "clip" a digital coupon to buy today's review subject to add to my constantly growing Nature Valley review collection. This digital coupon was "clipped" via the Meijer iPhone app and I grabbed this box of six Nature Valley Salted Caramel Peanut Nut Crisp Bars on sale for $2.99 (plus a coupon for an additional $0.50 off). It's a new product, so of course I was doubly giddy to mix that with a coupon (yeah, I'm a dork). Anyway, each bar in this box is 0.89 ounces and comes in at 140 calories with four grams of protein.
There's not any sort of mystery at all as to what these bars look like when you see the box on the shelf. Not only does Nature Valley go with the clear wrapping on each of the bars, but as you can see from the lead photo (where the box is half eaten), they offer a window into the contents on the front of the box. Basically you buy this and you absolutely know what the bar you will be eating looks like. That said, it's worth going over real quick. On the bottom of this bar is a yogurt-like base coating that is topped with a mix of nuts and seeds. The nuts are a strong and salty smelling conglomeration of roasted peanuts and the seeds are large and well mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Nature Valley's website says this is dipped in caramel too, but I can't quite figure out where the "dipping" of this process is involved. Perhaps the caramel is just binding the bar together or maybe that's the caramel on the bottom in yogurt-like form (I've never seen white caramel before)? Regardless, I couldn't really smell any caramel because the salty nutty smell of the roasted peanuts really took everything over with this.
Biting into this, my first observation was that I loved the mouthfeel of this. Alternately grainy and crunchy, it really gave me a lot to do while chewing. Being that I've professed that I'm a crunchy junkie on this blog many times before, I always am inclined to appreciate a bar that has that kind of texture more. Crunchiness aside, this one definitely had A LOT of salty, nutty flavor. It bordered on being too much, but the yogurt-like base did a good job of not only melting over the graininess of the bar to provide a different texture, but it also tamed the salty components of the roasted peanuts. As for the so called caramel, I can't really say that I tasted any caramel . Not saying that it wasn't there, but this bar was so dominated by the salty and nutty flavor that I think it kind of got lost (unless that was it on the bottom, which in that case, I did taste it).
Buy It or Fly By It? Despite the seeming lack of caramel flavor, I still enjoyed this bar quite a bit because of it's texture and the nutty flavor. Enjoyment obviously means a BUY IT rating and while this a mass-produced bar by a conglomerate that can tend to get a bit overpriced (in my opinion) because of that, it's still a good one and worth picking up as a snack, albeit a small one since this is a fairly tiny bar.