Friday, July 14, 2017

Mediterra Bars

I've reviewed a lot of snack bars by now.  Many make claims of their nutrition benefits, show off that they are non-GMO, high protein, low glycemic, gluten-free, etc.  I usually read these materials, roll my eyes, think to myself, "another healthy nutrition bar, yay", try the products, and generally dislike them.  It takes a lot for me to do a second taste, or even find a snack bar company unique at this point.

But ... Mediterra did indeed catch my interest.  At first, their material looks the same as all the others.  All natural ingredients, nutrient-rich foods, good fiber from nuts and seeds, yadda yadda yadda.  They take a slightly more focused spin, zeroing in on the Mediteranean diet specifically (hence, the name, Mediterra).  Incorporating the Mediteranean diet staples, grains, fruits, and vegetables, into a nutrition bar is a bit different though.  Nuts and seeds, fruits, sure, but, vegetables?  Sundried tomatoes?  Leafy greens?

But they did.  In bar form.

They have two product lines, Savory Nutrition Bars and Yogurt & Oat Nutrition Bars.  The former are the ones that sound ... interesting at least.  Kale, Pomegranate, Quinoa, & Almond.  Bell Peppers & Green Olives.  Sundried Tomato & Basil.  Black Olives & Walnuts.  These are just a few of the offerings.  Sure, not crazy combinations of ingredients, but, in a bar?  Savory bars just don't really exist like this.

The base for the Savory Nutrition Bars is pea crisps, made with pea protein, which is actually my favorite these days, and amaranth puffs.  They use brown rice syrup for sweetness, cashew butter to bind.  And, yup, they have vegetables in them.  Green peppers and chives are also in the Black Olives & Walnuts flavor.

I wasn't ever able to find the Savory Nutrition Bars though, so I have only tried the Yogurt & Oat bars, far more tame.

I was only able to find the Yogurt and Oat Nutrition bars, but I'm still pretty intrigued by the savory ones ...

Yogurt and Oat Nutrition Bars

Mediterra also makes more mainstream, sweeter bars, with gluten-free oats as the base, sweetened with brown rice syrup and honey, coated in "yogurt".  They look like traditional grain based bars with yogurt dip.  These bars also have rather suspicious sounding "Soy Nuggets" as an ingredient, made from rice starch coated soy protein isolate.  Sigh.  They were doing so good with the pea protein the savory bars!

Yogurt & Oat Nutrition bars get their Mediterranean kick via the fruit and nut add-ins, like Fig & Almond, Lemon & Walnut, Cherry & Pistachio.
Apricot & Pistachio.
"Did you know Mediterraneans have incorporated a balance of apricots, pistachios, and oats into their daily diet for generations? We’ve drizzled them with honey; sprinkled raisins, figs, and sunflower seeds; and added a layer flavored with yogurt to bring you a delicious gourmet nutrition bar. Just a little taste of the Mediterranean Diet’s infinite wisdom—made to enjoy on the go."

The Apricot & Pistachio bar was ... not bad.  Almost good.

The apricot flavor was great, plenty of bits of dried apricot (and raisins and date paste mixed in too).  The base wasn't what I expected, not a standard granola bar of any sort, not crunchy, not chewy, just, really different.  It was very dense, presumably from the biding agents, and all the ingredients were more ground than you'd expect, no whole flakes of oats.

However, the bar was pretty bitter, even with the added sweeteners and fruits.  The pistachios I expect added some of the bitterness, but there is also sunflower seeds and flax, which I suspect added most of the bitterness.
Apricot & Pistachio: Side View.
Here you can see the "yogurt" coating.  It only covered one side of the bar, and was really quite thin.  I couldn't taste any yogurt when I was eating the bar, as the apricot and seed flavors overwhelmed.  I say "yogurt" because the first two ingredients of it are sugar and palm kernel oil, followed by dry milk and yogurt powder.  There was nothing actually yogurty about this.

So, overall, great dried apricot flavor, but, too bitter, and definitely didn't deliver in the coating department either.
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