Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Review: ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple Cranberry Almond

OK, I’ve finally gotten around to trying the final flavor that ZonePerfect sent me for being January Fan of the Month! I put off the Perfectly Simple Cranberry Almond bar until last because I knew I’d like the other ones better, not being a cranberry fan.

The Perfectly Simple bars are so named because of their short, recognizable ingredients list. In this case, we have seven ingredients, unless you want to count the items listed in parenthesis after “sweetened dried cranberries” and “roasted almonds.” The only quibble I have with it is the use of soy protein isolate; I’d prefer whey, but other than that the simplicity is reassuring.

Now, the first two Perfectly Simple bars were all right. I prefered the Toasted Coconut over the Peanut Crunch; both were not quite sweet enough for me, but held their own considering the ingredients. The Cranberry Almond bar follows a similar, if more pronounced, trajectory.

Meaning: it’s really tart! OK, so dried cranberries generally are (I’m thinking of Craisins)...but these are “sweetened dried cranberries,” so maybe I was expecting something a bit more...sweet? Subtle? I don’t know, but one thing’s for sure: if you like cranberries you are going to love this bar. It’s like eating one giant cranberry!

Yes, there are almonds, and they’re big chunks, too. But the cranberry taste is so strong that I can’t even taste the almonds...and usually nuts have a strong flavor. I did get a bite that was almost entirely almond, and then I could taste it, but that was only one bite, and not a frequent occurrence.

As for the texture, all these Perfectly Simple bars are very similar. It’s pasty, soft, and easy to chew, almost like a cookie. The big almonds give it a decent thud every now and then, while the smaller pieces make it almost crispy. I did have an issue with a couple of super-crunchy almonds almost breaking my tooth, but other than that the texture was very well done.

In all, it’s not one of my favorites. It’s a little too bitter for me and my huge sweet tooth. I’ll still eat them, because I have the rest of this box plus four (!!) more...but more likely than not, the other flavors will disappear first.

Taste: 6.5--very tart and strong cranberry flavor, a little too bitter for me. The almonds don’t add much.
Texture: 8--soft and sort of cookie-ish, but the big almonds are really crunchy. The smaller chunks lend some crisp.
Health: 7--it has no saturated fat, but there’s also a lot of sugar. I would also prefer whey protein to soy.
Eat Again? I’ll finish what I have, but after they’re gone I won’t buy more.

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