Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: Balance Bar Gold Caramel Nut Blast

It’s just one of life’s lessons: peanuts cover up any taste.

It’s true. Have you noticed that the only Balance Bar I didn’t complain about a weird proteiny aftertaste was the Yogurt Honey Peanut?

Well, another case in point is the Caramel Nut Blast bar from their Gold line. It looks pretty unassuming on the outside:

Inside, it has three layers: the “peanut” (protein), gooey caramel on top of that, and chocolate coating to top it all off. After the Chocolate Peanut Butter Gold version, I was ready for the gooey part, and it definitely wasn’t disappointing!

That caramel actually required some force to pull apart! I would compare it to the hardened caramel you get in a 100 Grand Bar, only slightly gooier. (Ha! I learned how to spell “gooier” today!) Anyway, I discovered that there are actual peanuts in the caramel, too.

Wow, that looks kind of crazy, doesn’t it? Is it just me or does the caramel look...jagged? It reminds me of lightning bolts. :) Whatever, all the caramel is getting me excited, so let’s eat it!!

The initial taste was mainly chocolate and caramel, with a hint of peanuts. I expected that, because the Balance Bars usually taste exactly like their labels at first. I kept waiting for that big protein aftertaste to kick in...but it never exploded like it did with the Cookie Dough and Chocolate Peanut Butter varieties. It was still there, but much less noticeable. Like I said before, just add peanuts!

As for those peanuts, there were some in the caramel but they weren’t too common. They added some random crunch to this otherwise chewy bar. The peanutty flavor was there but not as strong as the Yogurt Honey Peanut, I’m guessing because the peanuts weren’t as plentiful. Or maybe they got lost in the caramel. For whatever reason, this flavor combination works pretty well.

About five minutes after I finished the bar I noticed my mouth was a little dry and chalky. The caramel does a good job covering that up until the very end. It wasn’t terrible, just drink some water and you’ll be fine. It keeps you hydrated anyway.

I won’t lie, the best part was the caramel. It was super gooey and sticky, which I could see being annoying...it was a challenge to remove from my teeth (think Milk Duds). But I thought that was kind of cool! It was a bit like eating a Snickers (OK, not really, but close for a protein bar). I could have done with a few more peanuts, though.

This bar has 14g of protein and, according to the website, 24 vitamins and minerals as well as a low glycemic index (GI). But I still prefer the protein content of the Quest and Life Choice protein bars...it’s hard to beat those! But, for variety, this would definitely make a good snack.

Taste: 8.5--the protein taste wasn’t as noticeable under the caramel and peanuts, but it was still there. I still like the Yogurt Honey Peanut better.
Texture: 8--the caramel is really sticky and, along with the chewy protein part, gives a Milk Dud-like texture.
Health: 8--the usual warning about sugar and saturated fat. GoodGuide scores this one just like all the other Balance Bars: 6.7.
Eat Again? Yeah, occasionally...put it this way, if I walked into a store with a Balance Bar coupon (yes I have another one!) and there weren’t any new flavors this would be one I would pick again.

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