Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: CLIF Builder's Vanilla Almond Protein Bar

It's the entirely natural protein bar!  Actually, I don't doubt that, I just find that a funny tagline on the front of the packaging.  Anyway, here is another bar in CLIF's line of Builder's protein bars, the Vanilla Almond bar.  The first bar I had was quite tasty, so I was looking foward to this one as well, especially since I not only like vanilla and almonds separately, but put together, this sounded fairly decadent.  Each bar clocks in at 2.4 ounces, which is typical CLIF Bar size and contains 270 calories with twenty grams of protein.  I picked this one up for roughly $1.70 at Meijer (I had a buy one, get one free coupon, so that is an approximate price).

There's a lot going on in this one for a bar with such a simple name, so let's just start from the inside bottom of the bar and work our way up.  First, there is a vanilla, almost marshmallow like layer that forms the base of the bar (not talking about the exterior coating).  On top of that is the usual rice crisp mix that you seemingly find in all these protein bars.  In the rice crisp mix, there are small bits of almond pieces.  They aren't plentiful, but they are noticeable and that's more than you can say about a lot of bars that claim to contain nuts.  On top of the rice mix is another tan-colored layer that I'll call almond butter.  It's almost marshmallow like in its texture and consistency.  Encasing the entire bar is a white vanilla covering that smells powerfully of vanilla when you open the packaging.  Vanilla Almond is a simple name for a bar, but CLIF fulfilled all promises by including both of those ingredients plentifully in the physical/visual appearance.

They also did a good job delivering the promised flavors in the taste of this bar as well.  I couldn't really taste the interior vanilla/marshmallow layer, but I really didn't need to because the exterior coating of the bar conveyed its strong vanilla smell to a strong and sweet vanilla taste.  It was, dare I even say it, borderline creamy and I completely did not expect that and I very much liked it.  The crisp was what you'd expect with a nice crunch, although the almond bits were not really noticeable in their taste.  That was fine though because the "almond butter" layer provided a strong, but mild, taste of almond that fit perfectly with the creamy vanilla flavor.  Honestly, these two fit together hand-in-hand and made this bar carry an almost decadent taste.  When you can do that with a protein bar, you are really doing something right.

Buy It or Fly Buy It?  Don't hesitate at all and BUY IT.  Like I said, this is a decadent tasting bar and I'd almost qualify it as a "treat" since it tastes rather dessert-like.  If you are a vanilla and/or almond lover, this one is going to be right up your alley because it carries both flavors in spades.  They also work in perfect harmony with each other, so this bar is a definite winner.


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