Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: Quest Cravings Chocolate Crunch Bar

Here it is--the moment you’ve been waiting for--well, the moment I’ve been waiting for anyway--the moment when I finally get to try the new Quest Cravings Chocolate Crunch bar!

I ordered them over a week ago, and they just arrived yesterday, so of course I had to try this new “candy” last night. Now, I adore Quest bars just the way they are and I really can’t imagine them improving over the original line, so I’m not sure what I think about heading into the protein-candy area, so I’m going into this review somewhat cautiously.

From the packaging, they look a lot bigger than a regular Quest bar. But they’re actually lighter, which sort of makes sense considering that the texture is supposed to be like a Nestle Crunch bar--so none of the usual dense, chewy stuff.

That also explains some of it--it comes in a tray. I later figured out that the tray is for catching your mess while you eat. Plus, I really don’t think this bar would hold up on it own during transport without it.

It certainly looks, if not exactly as advertised, like a chocolate bar with rice crispies in it. It also smells like a Crunch bar. Truth be told, I’ve always found Crunch bars to be one of the more boring types of candy bar, but that’s not to say I don’t like them. And if we’re talking about “healthy” candy here, I’ll take it.

OK, if you just want the quick and dirty verdict, these aren’t nearly as good as the original bars. I did enjoy it, though. The chocolate was a little powdery, and the crunch was a lot harder than your typical Nestle bar. I’d almost call it “rocky.” There were some similarities as far as taste, but the chocolate-to-crisp ratio was much lower here. There was also a bit of odd aftertaste and--what really surprised me--it was salty! Looking back at the ingredients, I can speculate that maybe it was a hint of peanut butter, but I can’t be sure. At first I was weirded out, but then it started to work for me. In all, not bad.

The major con, though, was the mess. Definitely eat this over a plate, bowl, tray, napkin...bib...spread newspaper on the floor. (OK OK, kidding!) But the rice crispies really don’t hold together very well and you’re left trying to catch them in your mouth with each bite as they go in unexpected directions. By the end of it, there were chocolate flakes all over my lap (and yes, my darling MacBook), and I was hunting around on the floor so the dogs wouldn’t pick up stray crispies.

I could see where some people will be attracted to these, as they are more conventionally candy-like than the originals (and contain less fiber, so I can eat more than one per day without fear of traumatizing my digestion). But for me, the originals are still far better in terms of taste and texture, and especially for eating on the go. It’s understandable that they’re still working out the kinks in this new product, but for now I think I’ll stick with what I know and love. :)

Taste: 8--mostly like a Nestle Crunch bar, but there was a subtle of weird protein-ness--which is a first for Quest.
Texture: 7--unfortunately, not up to par. The crunch is harder than a Crunch bar, almost rocky in texture, and very messy.
Health: 9--the only reason this doesn’t get a 10 is because it has less fiber than the regular bars. But really, it has a great profile--especially for “candy.”
Eat Again? Yes, but not often. I’d rather stick with the original line if I’m going to buy expensive protein bars. ;)

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