Saturday, March 22, 2014

Can South Beach Bars Satisfying the Chocolate Craving?

There are some South Beach diet foods whose chocolate creates a good tasting treat and others that are simply a waste of time and your taste buds. Today we're going to look at three varieties of their bars received directly from the company (via the Amazon Vine Program I am a reviewer with) or via two consumer programs (Kroger Card and Pinch Me) that I routinely use so that I can find new chocolate products to let you all know about and to save some money.  We have the Chocolate Chunk Gluten-Free Chewy Nut Bar, the Chocolate Caramel Nut Snack Bar, and the Chocolate Chunk Meal Bars.  Ready to see how they compare to each other and how their chocolate adds to or detracts from each bar?  Good, let's go do this.

This Chocolate Chunk Gluten-Free Chewy Nut Bars one of the better South Beach chocolate products I've tested though it still has some problems.  I received this bar through the Amazon Vine program months ago and I pre-wrote this feature then after trying it, now sneaking it into our schedule for those of you looking for a bit of chocolate with less calories or more nutritional value. This has almonds and peanuts so not safe for anyone with tree nut or peanut allergies.  Likewise it has soy protein nuggets that might be a problem for others.  The chocolate is real and in the form of unsweetened chunks that create a burst of bitter sweet when you encounter one in the bar.  The bar is easy to chew yet makes a continual crunch as well as you do so.  The sweetness found in several different types of sugars and syrups does overwhelm the chocolate chunks and frankly needs to be toned down a bit.  Doing so would reduce calories as well as let more of the nuts and chocolate flavors through.

With my Kroger Card I received an entire box of Chocolate Chunk Meal Bars in February 2014 that had five bars in it.  You can see there are two types of chocolate -- the chunks are darker in color than the coating on the bottom ---- and the ingredients list tells us that these are made with unsweetened chocolate and cocoa processed with alkali.  It has a lot of other natural and human-made ingredients, too, in part I suspect to increase the shelf life, cut costs, but also add in a lot of the vitamins and minerals you'll find on the nutritional information.  The bar has a chocolatey scent especially from the bottom where it is coated; no sweet grain smell that I'm used to with South Beach bars so this is an improvement.  It has a firm but not hard texture and makes a fairly loud crunch as I chew it.  The first flavor if I eat it chocolate coating down is chocolate but that is quickly covered by the grain and light sweetness, much less sweet than the previous bar we looked at for this article today.  If you don't eat it coating side down on you tongue though you really don't get chocolate because the little chunks aren't very powerful unless you get three or more of them in a grouping.

I haven't been using Pinch me for long but so far I've found two items to test and share with you all.  The first of these was the Chocolate Caramel Nut Snack Bar from South Beach.  This is only made with cocoa processed with alkali.  This has a very strong peanut and zero chocolate scent before and after I tore it open.  As you can see the caramel is a large part of this bar and it is nicely thick.  There is a firm and crunchy bottom to this bar but the majority of it soft and sadly not sticky at all as I was expecting from tearing it apart to show you all.  The caramel is more tang than sweet, the peanut is very light, and the dominant flavor is generic grain; I don't taste the chocolate at all so this is deeply disappointing.

Ultimately not a great chocolate treats or cereal bars but the first two bars we looked at today are definitely among the better ones from South Beach diet. I really appreciate that the bars look like the photos on the packaging because often the image you see on the box or bag or in commercials is very misleading.  I think they can do much better by not adding in palm oil or other fats and all of those chemicals on the ingredients list.  I urge the company to do so for their consumers and for the planet.

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