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Bar Exam

Bar Exam

By Kellee Katagi
posted: 11/12/2003

The Chefs (from left to right): Mark Fischer, Six89, Carbondale, CO; Daniel T. Jackson Woodstock Inn and Resort, Woodstock, VT; Jeffery Powell, PlumpJack, Squaw Valley, CA.

Balance Gold Caramel Nut Blast
M.F. It eats just like a candy bar-nuances of milk chocolate and peanuts, with silky notes of caramel. Good with hot cocoa.
D.J. Smells great, even when chilled, and the taste is excellent. This is our manager's favorite. He takes them along on his annual 100-mile horseback ride.
J.P. I hope this isn't expensive. It has a stale peanut flavor, like a Snickers bar you found in your camper van when you were cleaning out the cupboards. And in the cold, it's not quite a tooth-breaker, but it's well on its way.
S.P.S. It's fortified with vitamins and minerals, but there aren't many natural products used. It's more of a chemical experiment.
Taste: 3.3
Nutrition: 2.5

Clif Peanut Toffee Buzz
M.F. The smell, unfortunately, is not unlike cardboard. But the peanuts and tart toffee are an exceptional combination, with subtle hints of oats and cocoa in the frosting. Would pair well with hot green tea.
D.J. The word "caffeine" on the wrapper is enough for me. It has a good nutty flavor, and the texture is a little grainy. It's earthy.
J.P. It's reminiscent of latte with caramel syrup, of which I'm a big fan. It leaves a sweet aftertaste and stays pliable but firm with the cold.
S.P.S. This fortified bar mainly uses organic products, which is a bonus, but you don't need the 50 mg of caffeine.
Taste: 4.0
Nutrition: 4.0

Genisoy Xtreme Carrot Cake Quake
M.F. Who thinks up these names? The taste is bright citrus and carrot, plus raisin and nutmeg notes with cinnamon. It has fairly forward vanilla tones, but the white chocolate lacks that assertive presence.
D.J. Good smell; nice, soft texture, even when cold. And it tastes better than my former pastry chef's carrot cake.
J.P. The texture is creamy and crunchy. Just the right amount of spice and an aftertaste reminiscent of hot apple cider by the fireplace on a fall day in the woods. This is good for you?
S.P.S. Soy protein has health benefits, but it could do without the white chocolate.
Taste: 3.8
Nutrition: 2.0

Odwalla Cranberry C Monster
M.F. At room temperature, the smell is actually "with bouquet." As for taste: lots of fruit with notes of pear, cranberry, red currants, apple. Tones of oats and even rosemary are apparent. My beverage match: Red Bull.
D.J. I'd eat this if I were really hungry. Its sweetened grain flavor reminds me of horse feed.
J.P. It has a pleasing smell but is kind of sour on the palate. It does have a pleasant floral aftertaste-like a field of marigolds on a spring day. I'd buy this for a dollar.
S.P.S. The best choice of all the bars. You can actually recognize most of the ingredients.
Taste: 3.6
Nutrition: 4.5

PowerBar Harvest Double Chocolate
M.F. Can you say Nestle Crunch Bar on steroids? The taste has hints of black cherry, tobacco (this is a good thing), smoke, cinnamon and coffee. I'd pair it with a double espresso.
D.J. Chocolate is good. Double chocolate is better. The layered textures work well, but the aftertaste is a little grainy.
J.P. It has a great crunchy and chewy balance, like a cocoa crispy treat. I could make a fancy ice cream sandwich with this one!
S.P.S. It's high in antioxidants (vitamins C and E), probably higher than necessary. It's not the lowest-calorie PowerBar, but the ingredient list is fine.
Taste: 4.5
Nutrition: 4.0

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