Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: Kashi goLean Roll! Caramel Peanut

As far as snack bars go, Kashi seems to be hit or miss. But overall, I’ve had success with everything branded “goLean,” so I figured I wasn’t risking too much by picking up the goLean Roll! Caramel Peanut flavor the last time I was at Wegmans.

I reviewed one other Roll! bar, and this one looks pretty much the same. They get their name from the manufacturing process: According to Kashi, it “has a chewy nougat center that is surrounded by a decadent layer and then rolled in whole grains, nuts, and crisps.”

All systems appear to be go. You can’t see the nougat core, but the caramel is heavily coating the bar, with a layer of peanuts and rice crispies on top of that.

There’s the nougat! Of course it’s not just any nougat, it’s protein- and fiber-filled nougat. But it does a fair enough job of mimicking the taste.

This bar is more of a dessert than a “protein and fiber bar,” as the packaging proclaims. It’s very sweet, most likely a combination of the caramel and nougat. I think it helps that the caramel is on the outside rather than included as a filling, so the other components don’t totally override it. On the other hand, the peanuts are very prevalent (being the outermost layer), which does make the caramel more of a subtly sweet background flavor than the main player. The two components work nicely together, creating a salty-sweet balance sort of like a Snickers.

Unfortunately, having all this stuff attached to the outside of the bar presents some issues. One, the caramel isn’t totally covered by nuts and crisps, so this bar will stick to whatever touches it. Two, the peanuts and crisps aren’t anchored securely to the caramel. Just taking this bar out of the wrapper made a small pile on the table that I had to clean up afterward. Both of these things would prevent this from being a convenient snack on the go. Try to imagine driving while dropping crumbs in your lap and trying not to get your steering wheel all gummy.

As for texture--don’t try to eat this fast. You can’t. The nougat part is not squishy soft like real nougat; it’s gummy in a firm kind of way, sort of like a tough Laffy Taffy. That, combined with the gummy caramel, can make your jaw tired. The peanut layer does add a nice crispy/crunchy contrast, though, and overall (because I wasn’t in a hurry), I enjoyed this bar.

I guess I’d classify this as another goLean success for Kashi. If not entirely in texture, then definitely in taste. And maybe the kid in you will enjoy getting your fingers sticky.

Taste: 9--caramelly and sweet, with prevalent nuts.
Texture: 9--ta little tough, and the coatings make it messy. The nuts and rice crispies break it up nicely, though.
Health: 5.5--not bad for something that tastes like dessert, but it does have accordingly more sugar. GoodGuide scores it at 6.4.
Eat Again? Maybe.

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