Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: Nature's Bakery Stone Ground Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Fig Bar

I've been having a lot of "what the heck?!" Moments on my visits to the grocery stores lately. Maybe I've just been oblivious the entire time, but it seems to me that there are more and more odd products making it to the store shelves. Maybe consumers are revolting against the basic products of yore and manufacturers are battling that by going more off the grid with their products, so to speak. On a recent trip to Kroger, I found what I deemed to be an odd product with this Nature's Bakery Stone Ground Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Fig Bar that I picked up for $1.25. Wow, try that name on for size! Each package contains two 1.0 ounce bars and each bar is 110 calories and has two grams of protein. It's also all natural, dairy free, kosher, etc. As for the stone ground part of the bar, I'll leave that up to my imagination because I'm too lazy to look it up.

Preparing to unwrap this, I had no idea what to expect. I figured it would look kind of like a Fig Newton since all these fig bars seem to look the same and upon wrapping, that's basically what I got. Although, there were some key differences. First, the baked exterior of this bar was dramatically darker than the cookie and it almost looked burnt. Maybe that's because this was whole wheat and wheat is usually darker (i.e. white versus wheat bread). The second major difference was that this thing was an absolute brick and very dense and tightly packed. Nothing wrong with that, just an observation. As for the filling, it was quite dark, but I expected that based on my prior experiences with fig bars. As for the two named flavors, I can't say that they presented themselves in any sort of standout fashion. I could smell apple, but it was extremely mild. As for the cinnamon, I wasn't even sure it was there. Weird.

After I mowed through bar number one, I was still unsure about the cinnamon being presented because I didn't recall tasting it all. What I did taste was a lot of fig and it had quite a grainy texture. I also tasted some apple, but it was mild and played more of a supporting actor type of role as the fig was clearly the star. As for the exterior cereal bar portion, it certainly was dense and hearty, but it was also extremely dry. Not even the gooey ness of the filling could help it out as the dry cereal portion crumbled everywhere beneath me. Now, that was bar number one. Bar number two was a similar experience, but it had one drastic difference: CINNAMON. I complained that in the first bar, cinnamon was nowhere to be found. In this bar, cinnamon announced its presence with authority, to paraphrase an old SportsCenter anchor. It had big heat and spice and there was no mistaking that it was there. It was very odd since the first bar was so lacking and this bar was so strong.

Buy It or Fly By It?  There were some definite flaws in these bars (the cinnamon disbursement being the primary), but overall, they were still tasty and get a BUY IT rating.  The cinnamon heat for both bars should be somewhere in between the heat and coolness levels of the two bars, but despite that, this is worth picking up, given the opportunity.  Plus, with so many health benefits, would you be doing a disservice to yourself if you didn't?


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