All things considered, I’m fairly easy to please when it comes to food. New, unusual, and even ugly food excites me, and very few flavors strike my palate as terribly adverse (with the exception perhaps of natto, which will never again be within a mile of my mouth.) Eating adventurously requires more than just an open mouth – An open mind is perhaps the most important utensil you could eat with. More over, I really don’t like speaking negatively of anyone’s long-labored creation, even if it were a machine doing the heavy lifting. Certainly I wouldn’t lie to please a chef, and you would be sure to know what I saw as its shortcomings, but I still feel that there are always redeeming qualities to be found in any dish if one looks hard enough.
If only the same could be said for this raw food bar I just sampled. Upon first viewing them from afar on their quaint little website, they seemed to simply overflow with potential. Eating raw really fascinates me, so much so that I would love to experiment more with it, since I eat a large amount of just plain old fruits and veggies every day. The only catch is my love of baking, not to mention the desire for hot food during cold months, so I would never be able to fully commit to such a diet. All the same, it has a wonderful premise and is clearly made with only the best intentions towards wellbeing. Not a questionable ingredient to be found on the label, and hardly any processing is involved either. Arriving in a neat little package on my doorstep, I was thrilled to dive into this healthy fare.
Their clean, plain, and thoughtfully designed little labels gave them a homemade sort of appeal, and I was ready to fall in love upon first bite. Sure, they didn’t look like the most inviting treat to ever grace my table, but appearance is ultimately of little consequence; I try not to judge a book by its cover. I opened up the Goji Berry Spice bar without missing a beat… And unleashed a terror the likes of nothing I had ever tasted before
Indescribable but intense, it was like someone had just set off a bomb of cinnamon and vanilla right in my hands, although the vanilla was so strong that it tasted more like alcohol than sweet, fragrant beans. Expecting to find a texture similar to Nectar bars based on their base of mashed dates, I was unpleasantly surprised to discover no chew at all, as dry crumbs seemed to just fall apart at the smallest persuasion. For some reason, all of the textures seemed to be at odds with each other, battling within the very brick itself; The sprouted quinoa was definitely the most aggressive though, as the tiny grains continued to find themselves lodged between my teeth in gritty protest. Additionally, because it was composed mostly of dried fruits, I had it in my mind that this would be at least somewhat sweet, but how far this was from the truth. Not a hint of sweetness was to be found, and instead a mild rancidity lingered on my tongue as I searched for any reassuring flavors. This was not the enlightening, healthy bar that I had hoped for, to say the least.
Reluctant to try the next flavor but determined to give this product a fair once-over, I moved on to the Spirulina Chocolate flavor, hoping against hope that things would improve. Unfortunately… They didn’t. If anything, this concoction was even more insufferable than the first, now sporting appallingly fibrous lengths of algae. If this was what they called chocolate, I definitely did not want to see what they would try passing off as a dessert, either. Unlike any sort of “chocolate” I had ever tasted, it wasn’t even as good as an artificial cocoa flavor! After the first bite, I stopped mid-chew and honestly had to ask myself, “What on earth am I eating?” Comparable to a clod of dirt covered in lawn clippings, I would rather go suck on gym socks than try this bar again.
And still there remained one final flavor, begging for one last chance. As your humble reviewer, who am I to refuse this poor, misguided product anyways? So down the hatch it went, and luckily the Green Tea Blueberry Mango bar, although long-winded in name, proved to be the most edible of the batch. Sporting relatively large chunks of dried fruit, there was less actual bar to get hung up on, and the fruit was able to speak of its own naturally delicious flavors. Still, the same alcoholic vanilla was present, as were those pesky mismatched grains and fillers. Compared to those other criminal creations, I guess I would have to say that this bar was my favorite, even if that isn’t very high praise considering all of its drawbacks.
I am really, truly saddened to have to write such nasty words, and I really tried to be as gentle as possible… But it clearly didn’t work out, and for my harshness I do apologize to the creator. Although they were made with only the best ingredients and intentions, something seriously went wrong in the execution. I just hope that this isn’t the full potential of the raw foods movement, because if it is, then I might have been sorely mistaken in believing it had real possibilities.
[Written for Go Dairy Free]