Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: Special K Chocolate Caramel Protein Meal Bar

I’ve never been a fan of Special K cereal. To me, it’s like unfrosted Frosted Flakes with different flavors and mix-ins, and I find Frosted Flakes about as fun as Shredded Wheat (i.e., not very fun). I used to eat the Red Berries kind...well, I ate the red berries, anyway. Then I had a leftover box of (Un)Frosted Flakes. The same thing happened when I tried Cinnamon Pecan. After that I’d learned my lesson and just stopped buying the cereal.

I do enjoy their bars on occasion, though. When I first started eating breakfast again, I went through a lot of their Strawberry Protein Meal Bars, but it’s been a while since I’ve had them. So when I stopped at the convenience store I used to live next to on campus, I naturally picked up a few flavors. And since I hadn’t tried it before, I decided to eat the Chocolate Caramel bar first.

Unlike the kinds I used to eat, it’s not fully coated--just a bottom layer of chocolate and a chocolate drizzle. But what do I see on top? Caramel chips? Oh, this could be good....

The bar smells...sweet, but fakely so. Like it’s maybe going to be annoyingly sweet. Sickly sweet comes to mind, but that’s not quite right. It’s just not the natural caramel/chocolate smell you would expect. But it’s still making me want to dive in.

On first bite, it’s definitely sweet. And caramelly. In fact, even the chocolate gets pushed into the background by the caramel flavoring in the rice crisps. But after a couple of chews, it goes flat. There’s a bit of a sour hint to it, sort of like what you get with sugar substitutes, when their initial job is done and you realize, hey--that wasn’t sugar. It’s the base that gives off this flavor; the chips contribute a creamy, real caramel taste, but they’re gone before the crisps.

The texture only adds to this effect. It’s crispy, like you’d expect, but the crisps goes sort of dry at the end and gets pressed into your teeth and’s not crispy anymore, just powdery stuff stuck in your molars that gives your mouth a gritty feel. It’s a little tougher than a Rice Krispies Treat, although mine was cold (once again, unfinished basement and subzero temperatures).

It’s a decent enough bar, and I did enjoy it, because the major offenses (texture, a little sour note) aren’t too offensive. It’s quite sweet, although I have to say that the more caramel chips, the better, because it’s obvious when you don’t get enough. I don’t know that I’d buy it again, at least not regularly, but maybe as a chocolate snack/treat every once in a while.

Taste: 7--it’s pretty sweet and the chips add lots of caramel flavor at first, but there is a sour note in the base that crops up at the end.
Texture: 7--crispy, but it falls short at the end and leaves a gritty feel to your teeth.
Health: 5.5--I wouldn’t necessarily call 10 grams a “protein” bar in the true sense of it, nor would I call 170 calories a “meal.” GoodGuide tends to rate these bars poorly (4-5 range) because of saturated fat and sugar.
Eat Again? Yes, but not as a meal or a protein bar, which I think it what they intended...but for me this would serve the purpose that a Rice Krispies Treat would for normal people.

Post a Comment