Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review: Balance Bar Original Chocolate Craze

I did something stupid.

I took my Balance Bar coupon to Virginia Beach, since it’s for $1.00 off of four individual bars and I’ve gone through four of the five flavors available in State College. And then, as we were walking out the door to head to Harris Teeter’s (gotta love that name), I decided to leave it there because I didn’t expect to find Balance Bars at a Harris Teeter’s. (No, I didn’t even know what a Harris Teeter’s was at the time.)

But we were there, and we weren’t coming back (this was an experimental shopping trip), and the Food Lion where we usually shop at the beach had all of two flavors (I’ve tried both), so I bought three anyway. I’ll use the coupon for something else.

I am still a little ambivalent about the Balance Bars. Some of them taste OK, and some taste like protein with a little bit of chocolate on top. So far I haven’t found one that stands up to other nutrition bars. It’s not that they’re horrible, especially for a nutrition bar, but I’ve found a ton of other more agreeable bars, so why bother with these?

Well, the Chocolate Craze flavor from the Original line changed my mind.

On the outside, it’s pretty unassuming:

Actually, I have to say I was amazed at how smooth the chocolate coating was. Every once in a while that just really surprises me, for some reason. :)

The inside is deceptively boring:

Well, aside from the chocolate chips. Those do look good.... But it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the Caramel Nut Blast or Chocolate Peanut Butter, no big nut chunks either. And in some cases even those didn’t help much! So what’s going to cover up the protein taste?

My first bite gave me the answer: chocolate! I was ready for some cocoa-like hints, but this bar is pretty darn chocolatey! I think the chocolate chips really help, and for some reason the coating on this one is extra rich and creamy. I’m not sure why, because I can’t imagine it’s different from the coating on the other chocolate-covered bars. I would say the taste is almost the same as the Life Choice Double Chocolate protein bar, with a little more real chocolate.

This bar really reminded me of a brownie because not only does it actually taste like chocolate, it has a brownie-like texture. This is actually really odd because when I broke the bar in half there was definitely a point when I felt it snap. So it’s not as soft as a brownie, but it’s by no means hard. In fact while eating it, I was really confused about why it even snapped like that!

There is a slight catch. While it might have been chocolate overload at first, there was a hint of the same aftertaste I got with the other Balance Bars. It only came in at the very very end, and it wasn’t nearly as noticeable here. I think you could ignore it for the most part. The overall effect of the taste, texture, and aftertaste was that this bar disappeared alarmingly fast. See, the texture makes it easy and fun to eat. And since you don’t get the aftertaste unless you stop eating, it’s even more encouragement to just take one bite after the next. At least, that’s what happened to me. ;)

Bottom line, this bar is great for a chocolate craving. It really hit the spot for me. Brownies just don’t have balanced 40-30-30 nutrition!

Taste: 8--best imitation of real chocolate I’ve seen to date, if only it weren’t for the slight protein aftertaste.
Texture: 10--I could fool you into thinking this was a store-bought brownie.
Health: 8--better than a brownie, but as usual watch saturated fat and sugar. GoodGuide rates this one at 6.4 for health.
Eat Again? Yes.

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