Recently, I picked up some Clif Nectar bars when a great sale hit. I loved them, and felt better after eating an all fruit and nut snack than a typical wheat and soy based energy bar. I had heard that Larabars were quite similar, so naturally I jumped at the chance to try out a few of their bars. Expecting just one or two to arrive in the mail, I was elated to open the package and discover five different bars!
Each that I got my hands on was a concoction of dates, nuts, and at times a few other fruits or spices, but really these are incredibly simplistic bars and touted as “raw.” Needless to say, they aren’t the most photogenic little bars once unwrapped, but luckily, the taste and texture compensated for any lack in beauty…
After reading several rave reviews about the Cherry Pie Larabar, I was eager to taste what the hype was about. A breakfast mishap created the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately, first thing in the morning really wasn’t the best time for this particular bar, at least according to my taste buds. The unsweetened cherries mixed with the dates created a subtle sweet undertone with a slightly shocking tart taste. There were little visible nuts and the occasional small chunk, but the fruit was the overwhelmingly dominant taste. I liked the texture, which was soft and pliable without being overly chewy or adhering to my teeth. No real crunch was to be found, the nuts merely added some interest to the texture.
Really, I did like it, and there was a definite cherry pie sort of vibe, which amazed me since only dates, almonds and unsweetened cherries graced the ingredient list. However, at 8am the tartness was a bit too much for my sensitive morning palate. I may give this one another try for an afternoon snack, but really, there are still so many flavors to try that this just might not be my bar.
For the second bar, another breakfast opportunity arose. Thinking on my toes, I went for the Apple Pie Larabar, assuming that the apple and cinnamon mix would be a much better “my taste buds aren’t quite awake yet” choice. It was definitely a good decision. Honestly, I don’t know how they do it … it had that wonderful apple pie smell, and even tasted quite a bit like apple pie filling, if you use your senses a bit. The apples possessed only a natural hint of tartness that was easily combated by their own sweet juices.
The texture of the Apple Pie bar was less chewy than the Cherry Pie version, possessing more of a nutty blend (yet still soft and forgiving) that broke apart easily with each bite. As a date, nut, and dried fruit fan, I would call the Apple Pie Larabar an overall palate pleaser. The ingredient list was simple yet fulfilling – dates, almonds, unsweetened apples, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon.
Sensing a strange theme, I randomly grabbed the Pecan Pie Larabar when searching for an afternoon / pre-workout snack. Seriously, I really did not notice that they were all pie flavored until I grabbed this one, to prove how unawake I was when I went for the other two! Rivaling the simplicity of the Cherry Pie Larabar, this one contained only dates, pecans, and almonds. Having only tried a pecan pie once in my life, and too many years ago to really remember, I am probably not the best person to reference any similarities between this bar and the real thing. Nonetheless, I must confess that I was slightly under-whelmed by the Pecan Pie Larabar. It tasted like, well … dates and nuts. Early in the morning it was surely sedated enough, and luckily I like dates and nuts, but from my standpoint, it is more worthwhile and cost effective for me to simply grab a handful or two of dates and nuts. I also found it odd that while there were a few very big nut chunks in the bar, they were all chunks of almonds! Really, I cannot speak on a pecan pie’s behalf, but it would seem to me that almonds would not be the prevalent nuts in one, lest the name be changed to almond pie.
My vote thus far:
Cherry Pie Larabar: May retry when my taste buds can handle the sweet-tart taste
Apple Pie Larabar: My favorite thus far, I will purchase again (on sale)
Pecan Pie Larabar: Just hand me a bag of dates and nuts
Where to Purchase: Larabars can be found in many grocery stores and natural food stores. I recommend purchasing them when they go on sale, as they are in the mid to high range cost-wise for a bar in my opinion. However, they can be purchased online for a fair price anytime!