Sunday, March 10, 2013

Review: ZonePerfect Dark Chocolate Caramel Pecan

It’s been a while since I’ve had a ZonePerfect bar--since I discovered the Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cookie Dough flavors in Virginia Beach. After eating the cookie dough bars, I really didn’t have much desire to go back to the more traditional lines, having not enjoyed the Classic Chocolate Peanut Butter.

But that was way back at the beginning of my protein-bar blogging, and my tastes seem to have changed drastically in the past six or so months. Plus, there were some intriguing flavors at the Giant I was at, so I felt like these deserved a second chance. I chose two, one of which was the Dark Chocolate Caramel Pecan bar.

It’s from the Dark Chocolate line, which seems fairly obvious looking at the coating. Double points for smelling like dark chocolate too, and the pecans visible as lumps on top.

OK, here I’m not so sure. First, I was thinking “pecan” meant more pecans than just a few on top. Second, if that layer is supposed to represent caramel, I’m scared. Caramel should not be that biege/puke color. It is, to be blunt, not remotely appetizing.

BUT...and this is a big but...there’s a reason our mothers told us never to judge a book by its cover. So, I’m here to extend the analogy. Never judge a protein bar by its puke-colored filling, because this bar was actually pretty tasty.

OK, so I can’t actually really taste the caramel amidst all the dark chocolate, aside from (maybe) a slight extra sweetness that doesn’t go with dark chocolate. Or the pecans, despite the fact that nuts usually have a really strong taste no matter what you pair them with. Which gives you an idea of the depth of this dark chocolate flavor.

Because the overwhelming theme of this bar is, fittingly, dark chocolate. It’s very deep and comes mostly from the coating, but I believe there are chocolate chips in the base as well. The base itself reminds me of Oreos, even though it’s crispier. Sort of like an Oreo/Rice Krispies Treat hybrid. The base itself doesn’t have much of a weird background taste like you often get with protein bars--I think I got a hint of it once--and the harder crunch is satisfying. This actually feels like a dark chocolate candy bar, if they made crispy candy bars. It totally crushes a chocolate craving!

So it seems I wasn’t fair initially in my assessment of ZonePerfect’s non-cookie-dough products. After this bar, I’ll have to revisit the Classic line. And I’ll definitely be back for more of these Dark Chocolate flavors!

Taste: 9--OK, so there’s hardly any caramel and no pecan...but this bar is awesome for a dark chocolate craving.
Texture: 9--like a cross between Oreos and rice crisps, wrapped in smooth dark chocolate.
Health: 8--it has more sugar than protein (and even more carbs), so I’d call it more of a snack than meal bar. Still, if you’re subbing out a candy bar...
Eat Again? Yes.

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