Nov 3, 2016

Review: Larabar Bites

Larabar brand is known for their eponymous fruit and nut bars that are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, dairy-free, and kosher. They've recently expanded their repertoire of offerings to include new Larabar Bites, which is their healthier take on the chocolate truffle.

Larabar Bites come in four different flavors: Cherry Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Macaroon, Double Chocolate Brownie, and Mint Chocolate Truffle. All flavors are made with dates, almonds, and fair-trade chocolate chips plus flavor-specific ingredients, dusted with a coating of coconut flour to keep them from sticking to each other.

These have a suggested retail price of $5.99 per 5.3 oz. pouch, but I received these courtesy of Larabar.

The Larabar Bites taste very similar to one another, which is no surprise considering they share primarily the same ingredients. The dates provide a sweet, almost nutty flavor with just a touch of tartness at the tail end. The texture is velvety yet slightly chewy and includes a little graininess, interspersed with bits of almonds and chocolate chips. They aren't overwhelmingly sweet so that you can taste each of the ingredients. If you've had Larabars before, then these will taste very familiar to you albeit softer.

The addition of the coconut flour dusting really bothers me. I think coconut flour should never be eaten alone if possible simply because it's so desiccated. The coconut flour is the first thing to hit your tongue and it just feels like it's wicking away all the moisture in my mouth. Likewise, it has a very grainy texture that detracts from the truffle-like texture of the Larabar Bites. I can understand their reasoning for using coconut flour, but I sort of wish they had gone with a cocoa powder dusting like traditional chocolate truffles.

Cherry Chocolate Chip - These can be quite tart depending on the dried cherry you get! The fruit flavor is very forward with the chocolate leaving a pleasant aftertaste. This one is probably the chewiest in terms of texture thanks to the dried fruit.

Chocolate Macaroon - The addition of the dried coconut to these truffles doesn't really add coconut flavor so much as more texture. You can taste the dates most prominently in this flavor, which is good if you're a fan of dates and Larabars in general.

Double Chocolate Brownie - The chewiness of the dates does bring to mind a brownie, but I'm missing the "double chocolate" portion. It is a little more chocolaty than the Cherry Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Macaroon flavors thanks to the addition of cocoa powder into the date mixture, but I sort of wish there were more chocolate chips to up the choco-factor.

Mint Chocolate Truffle - Surprisingly, these were the most chocolaty of all the flavors for me. The peppermint oil actually does quite a good job of masking the flavor of the dates while highlighting the chocolate, so the overall effect was closer to an actual chocolate truffle for me. I would recommend these if you don't actually like the taste of dates but are looking for a healthier chocolate fix.

Overall, the Larabar Bites were pretty nice and a filling snack. They will definitely keep you fuller longer and on less calories than a chocolate candy bar. But will they actually satisfy a chocolate craving? Possibly, if you prefer semi-sweet or dark chocolate. And especially so if you're already a fan of Larabars to begin with. Personally, I prefer the original Larabars to these new Bites and it's most likely due to the coconut flour dusting rather than any problems with the flavors or textures. Plus, the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabars are sinfully chocolaty and taste more like candy than a healthy energy bar, so I may be a bit biased.

By Renee.

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