Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: NuGo Dark Mocha Chocolate Bar

One of the added side benefits of this blog is that I sometimes get contacted by companies and/or their public relations firms to try products.  Oftentimes, these products are things I have never heard of before and that's the case with this NuGo bar.  Being that I've been doing this blog for a while now, I pride myself on the fact that I have a pretty good working knowledge of most of the manufacturers of nutrition bars that are nationally distributed, but NuGo got me fooled.  The reason?  NuGo positions itself as an organic chocolate type bar and its products are located near the organic chocolate (think Newman's Own, etc.) in Kroger and not near the typical nutrition bar section.  Thus, I was unfamiliar with them and after they sent me some coupons for free samples, I picked up this NuGo Dark Mocha Chocolate Bar at Kroger to try out.  It's 1.76 ounces and comes in at 200 calories with ten grams of protein.  It's "healthy" dark chocolate and is also all natural, vegan and also dairy free.  Something about dairy free chocolate scares me, but I guess that's because milk chocolate has been so hammered into my head throughout my life that chocolate without dairy doesn't make a ton of sense to me.

When I unwrapped this bar, I expected it to resemble a Zone Perfect bar with a rice crisp interior and a thin outer layer of chocolate, or in this case, dark chocolate.  Instead, what I got was a rice crisp interior covered by a THICK layer of dark chocolate.  In terms of that part of the presentation, NuGo was off to a good start.  Another good point was that the chocolate in this bar carried what I would almost perceive as a sweet taste and since dark chocolate typically has a bitter smell in my experience (not a huge fan of it), I was anxious to dive in.  As for the mocha part of the bar, it was nearly undetectable as I could not smell anything even resembling coffee.

That lack of coffee in the smell quickly went away when I tasted the bar.  When I bit into the very crunchy bar, I was first hit with a flat and non-sweet taste of dark chocolate and then was absolutely SMACKED by an overpowering taste of mocha/coffee.  For not having any smell, this taste was totally overpowering.  Now, I enjoy coffee and have a mug of it every morning, but this coffee tasted bitter and was too much for me.  So much in fact that coffee was all I could taste in this bar and despite the fact that the the thick chocolate added a "creamy" factor to the mouthfeel, I couldn't make my way through the bar because the coffee flavor was too much.  Unfortunately, I only made it through about half this bar before I couldn't take it anymore and the remaining half met its demise in my waste basket.

Buy It or Fly By It?  Meeting its demise in a waste basket prior to completion usually means a bad rating and in the case of this bar, that is exactly what it means and I give it a FLY BY IT rating.  The coffee was just too much here.  Funny thing is, had they paired that coffee flavor with sweet chocolate as opposed to dark chocolate, it may have been enough to balance out the coffee flavor in the bar.  Instead, what I got was a bar that I did not enjoy, despite the fact that I do enjoy coffee and chocolate independently, just not together in this bar.

Buy NuGo Dark Mocha Chocolate Bar at

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