Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review: NuGo Dark Mint Chocolate Chip Bar

All right, totally new brand this time. I’d never even heard of NuGo until I saw it under the Clif bars at Wegmans. It looked sizeable, and interesting--plus the packaging claimed “Vegan.” That’s not all that common, so it had my interest even though I’m far from vegan.

I picked up the mint chocolate flavor, having discovered that mint does a very good job of disguising other, potentially unpleasant tastes. I had success with the Chocolate Mint Cookie Crunch from Balance Bar, as well as Life Choice’s Chocolate Mint protein bar. So, I had high hopes for this one.

Like the Balance Bar, it smelled like a peppermint patty. Which is cool, because even though I haven’t had a York in years, I do love them. So NuGo gets a point already for at least smelling like candy.

Hmm. Interesting, this bar literally snapped when I went to break it. Usually there is at least some sort of bending as whatever holds the insides together pulls apart, but not here. I little rice crisp actually flew out when it broke.

Don’t worry, though. That doesn’t mean the texture was stale or dry or overly crunchy or anything bad like that. It’s made of rice-like crispies but it’s not like a Rice Crispies Treat. It wasn’t chewy, or was the weirdest thing and hard to describe. It was almost a little crumbly. It was sort of like a Nestle Crunch bar, with less crispy rice crispies. And mint flavored. I guess...maybe a cross between a Rice Crispies Treat and a Thin Mint? Or maybe I’m just thinking Thin Mints because of the taste.

Which, by the way, surprised me. Usually mint is strong, but here it wasn’t all that prevalent. Oh, it was definitely the main taste of the bar, but it was nowhere near as minty as a Thin Mint or peppermint patty. The Balance Bar and Life Choice bar had more mint flavor; this was subtler. Based on the smell I was expecting more.

That’s not all bad, though. There was no weird aftertaste, which given past experiences I’ve had with vegan food articles (specifically, cupcakes) isn’t a small thing. And the chocolate flavor was well spread throughout, not just in the coating. If you notice the inside was really dark, well, I did get a bit of dark chocolate vibe, even though I am 99.9% positive the coating was milk chocolate. If there is one thing that goes especially well with mint, it is dark chocolate.

Overall, this bar was pretty good. It was like a weirdly-textured, less minty Thin Mint. It certainly wasn’t like anything I’ve ever eaten before, but it was fun and interesting and yummy in its own way, which was cool. I’d recommend trying these if you’re looking for something different. Especially if you’re vegan. ;)

Taste: 8--not as minty as I was expecting, but with a nice taste of both dark and milk chocolate.
Texture: 8--umm, I already did a terrible job explaining it, do you really want a repeat? Sort of crumbly, strange, but good.
Health: 7--it does have a lot of sugar, despite the 10 grams of protein. The GoodGuide review [ ] gives it a 3.5 for health, but I think that’s a little harsh. Especially considering they ranked it among “other candy bars.”
Eat Again? Yeah, why not? It was a fun change, and a good exercise for my vocabulary (which obviously does not include enough words for describing texture).

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