Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Balance Bar Original Peanut Butter

Wow, I guess it was a peanut buttery weekend! I went on a peanut butter-marshmallow sandwich craze, and then there was the Peanut Butter Supreme Quest bar, and finally last night I decided to try the Balance Bar Original Peanut Butter flavor. What can I say, I just keep hoping that someday the nutrition/protein bar industry will finally capture the perfect creamy, rich nuttiness that is peanut butter.

But I wasn’t really expecting this bar to deliver on that promise. I wasn’t very impressed with Balance Bar’s Gold Chocolate Peanut Butter; how much different is just plain peanut butter?

First difference: the coating. Obviously, it’s not chocolate. I can only assume from the color that it’s intended to be peanut butter-flavored. It doesn’t smell like anything, so no hints there.

First bite: protein. Remember that discussion we had about adding peanuts to cover up any flavor? Well, this bar didn’t and consequently it’s the same as the other Balance Bars that didn’t contain “nut” in the title. Like its more-chocolatey sibling, this bar ended up tasting mostly like protein. In fact I think we could take most of the flavors and just rename them “Balance Bar,” because I could probably identify a Balance Bar blindfolded, just from that darn protein taste! That, and it leaves your teeth feeling a little chalky when you’re done.

To be fair, I think the coating tastes like peanut butter. At least, before you bite too far into the bar there is a faint trace of peanut butter and the most likely source I can think of is the coating. I will say that this coating went better with the protein than the chocolate did... Grr, why is the coating always the best part?!

The one thing this bar did have going for it is what the Chocolate Peanut Butter version was missing: an awesome texture. Whereas the other one was disappointingly tough (I was expecting Reese’s), this bar is very soft. In my mind peanut butter = creamy, and this certainly reminded me of creamy (if not peanut butter). It was almost cookie-like, which made it go down a lot easier. Judging strictly on texture, I think this one, along with the Cookie Dough, is my favorite Balance Bar. (Flavor-wise, the Yogurt Honey Peanut still wins.)

Meanwhile, peanut butter fanatics will just have to wait for a nutrition bar to get that perfect combination of peanuts and butter....

Taste: 6--almost a carbon copy of the disappointing Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor (minus the goo), only this coating goes better with “protein” than chocolate.
Texture: 10--almost like eating a cookie.
Health: 8--well, there are 15g of protein and plenty of nutrients, but you have to weigh that against the sugar, saturated fat, and sodium content. GoodGuide gives it an 8.3.
Eat Again? No.

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