Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review: Muscle Milk Chocolate Peanut Caramel Bar

I often wonder why there isn’t some middle ground between the high-protein (15-20 grams, around 200 calories) bars and the super-protein (30 grams, up to 400+ calories) bars. Promax sort of fits the bill, but it only increases size and calories with an even 20 grams of protein.... Then I found Muscle Milk.

This is the Chocolate Peanut Caramel bar, and at 75 grams, 300 calories and 25 grams of protein, it falls right smack in the middle. Bigger than my usual 20-gram Quest bars, but not a jumbo MET-Rx size either.

This bar was really easy to break, and the stringy caramel is heartening to see. It also smells like real chocolate (the label boasts that it’s a natural coating) with an hint of sweet caramel.

The base is nougaty but a bit tougher, making you work just enough to be satisfied. It contains some weird crispy pieces that are a bit spongy and make for a funny texture, but it’s still a nice way to change things up. They aren’t Rice Krispies Treat-crispy, and sometimes it’s difficult to separate them texture-wise from the peanuts. It is easy to chew and not messy at all, so it’s a good choice for an on-the-go treat.

At first this bar comes off as candy-like, with a strong caramel flavor and authentic milk chocolate. But then it hits you. That protein thing. An overwhelming, sour, sour aftertaste. I like to think I’m used to this phenomenon and that it usually doesn’t bother me, but it seems particularly offensive here. The caramel and peanuts are no match for it. In fact the peanuts really don’t get to play much of a role, first being drowned out by the caramel (which I don’t mind) and then by the protein (which I do).

The last bite wasn’t so bad--it had more chocolate coating than the rest--but I was probably just getting used to that bitter aftertaste. It’s really too bad that it’s so strong, because this bar starts out really well. The caramel is candy quality and the texture very well-done, but the protein factor just isn’t very enjoyable. So my search for something middle-of-the-road protein-wise continues.

Taste: 6--starts out well, with overriding caramel, but then the sour aftertaste takes over.
Texture: 9--slightly tougher and crispier than a nougat, with stringy caramel and crunchy peanuts.
Health: 7--25 grams of protein, but it is fairly fatty and has more carbs than protein.
Eat Again? No.

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