We sample a lot of bars – there are protein bars, date-based bars, “superfood” bars – but when Tony and I chomped into Michele’s Granola Bars, we realized just how far the bar industry has strayed from its simple, delicious, hippy roots.
Michele’s Granola Bars are a throwback delight, reminding me of those crispy, crunchy Nature’s Valley granola bars of childhood – only much fresher, healthier, and just all around better. Tony said, “They taste like they were made in someone’s kitchen!” He then noticed the Handmade in Maryland label, and the natural-tasting, small batch, mom-made goodness made perfect sense. We both loved the simplicity of these relatively thin, nicely sweet, oaty, nutty, nothing fancy bars – as evidenced by the way they quickly disappeared from our bar stash, leaving many protein and energy bars in their wake.
Michele’s Granola Bars arrived neatly packaged in a bakery box – every item carefully placed and perfectly shipped to prevent any damage. Though they appear to be almost “fresh” by packaging, they do have a decent shelf-life (about 4 to 5 months out), but do like to crumble just a bit, so I’d avoid packing them in purses or stuffed backpacks.
To get a baseline, we sampled the Original first. It’s made with oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, almond, brown sugar, canola oil, water and pure vanilla – many of which are organic ingredients. This turned out to be my favorite – perfectly sweet and hearty with just the right amount of oats, nuts and seeds. I think the coconut added to the texture more than the flavor, so I wouldn’t shy away just yet if you are coconut averse.
The Banana Walnut was a close second. It isn’t “in your face” banana, but rather subtle and pleasant (in fact, banana was near the end of the ingredient list), allowing the walnuts to have equal face time.
The Lemon Pistachio had the most flavor going on, by far. It was sweet, tart, and even a touch salty. Definitely a unique crunchy granola bar option that’s perfect for lemon lovers. It wasn’t my favorite, but we both still enjoyed it.
Tony is all about the chocolate, so he didn’t hesitate to go back for another of the Cherry Chocolate when hunger struck. It had big pieces of whole dried cherries and chocolate that really bumped the overall flavor up a notch. I mean, chocolate really is made for granola bars, don’t you think?
Certifications: They do have a “certified vegan” stamp on their website, but we didn’t note any certifications specifically on Michele’s Granola Bars. Though not a certified kosher facility, we’ve also been told that their facility is dairy-free and peanut-free (verify for severe allergies).
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Michele’s Granola Bars are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free (but not made w/ certified gluten-free oats), peanut-free, soy-free (except for the chocolate), vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian. Nonetheless, verify on the label and check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes, ingredients, and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit the Michele’s Granola website at www.michelesgranola.com.