Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review: CLIF Special Twentieth Anniversary Gary's Panforte Bar

For those of you that don't know, this is the twentieth anniversary of CLIF bar and because of that, they're been releasing a special twentieth anniversary, limited edition blend entitled Gary's Panforte bar named their founder and named that way to be reminiscent of his cycling journeys through the mountains of Northern Italy so long ago.  By Panforte, Gary means that this bar is full of fruits, nuts and spices and it's based on an 800 year old recipe from Italy.  I got this one through a free promotion on their Facebook page celebrating this anniversary and it is the CLIF bar standard 2.4 ounces.  This one's a little different though as it has a more robust 260 calories and less protein than usual with only five grams.

As you can see, this bar has more of a "nature" and "raw" look with the dried fruits and nuts clearly more visible in the CLIF Pro mix (oats and soybeans).  In that mix are rice crisps, dates, figs, almonds, pistachios, pears, ginger, raisins, walnuts and a variety of spices including cinnamon and nutmeg.  The nuts, along with the chunks of raisins and ginger, were the most noticeable of all the ingredients.  After being astounded by how there were seemingly every single ingredient in the world in this bar, I then was overcome with a strong smell of nutmeg and cinnamon.  I would say it was almost pumpkin pie-esque and being that I loved CLIF's Spiced Pumpkin Pie bar last year, I was very anxious to bite into this bar.

As I bit into the bar, I noticed that this bar was clearly more chewy than the standard CLIF bar that I've reviewed for the blog and that's saying something because I always find these bars to be particularly chewy.  The pistachios were clearly the strongest of the tastes and in terms of the fruits, the sweetness of the raisins prevailed.  With that pistachio and raisin taste and a helping hand from a strong, but balanced taste of ginger at the beginning of the bite, this bar was a winner.  Unfortunately, the entire bar was ruined by the nutmeg in the spice blend.  Nutmeg can tend to be too strong and that was definitely the case with this bar.  It didn't hit you until a split second into your chew, but then it hit all and once and lingered as you kept chewing.  It was so strong that it was almost sinus clearing and being that nutmeg is my least favorite ingredient in pumpkin pies, I was not too excited to be overpowered by that taste in this bar.

Buy It or Fly By It?  Not sure if they'll make this available in stores, but if they do, I would FLY BY IT because the nutmeg ruins the bar.  Everything else works beautifully together, but when you encounter the nutmeg, it ruins everything.  Too bad, Gary, because despite my love/hate relationship with your bars, I would like nothing more than to see you celebrate your company's twentieth anniversary in style.  Unfortunately, this bar just does not help you do that.



  1. hmm...even f you did not like it, I think I may need to try and find one of these bars and give it a try...I have tried almost every Cliff product and I feel like I need to pay my respects to the 20 year old company.

  2. It took me forever to find a store that carried the "Gary's Panforte" Clif bars, so I just got the chance to try one for the first time. I agree that it was quite heavy on the spices, but I loved this bar... then again, I like the flavor of nutmeg and cinnamon, so for me the heavy spice notes were a positive. I can see how some would find it overpowering though.

    I thought they did a great job of balancing a lot of different flavors and textures between all of the fruits, nuts, spices, etc.

    Unfortunately it seems that this bar is at the end of its "limited edition" run; I wish I had bought a whole box of them instead of just one.


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