Monday, January 24, 2011


I remember sometime around 2004 when a friend announced to me that she'd just stumbled upon a great new line of (energy? nutrition? not-granola? not-protein?) bars, made here in Colorado and with only a few ingredients - all raw - in each bar. I was skeptical.  Where was the high fructose corn syrup sweetened "granola" filling, and the chocolately coating made of fractionated palm kernel oil?  

At that time, I was not interested.  However, as I've moved toward eating minimally processed foods, Lara and I have formed a special bond.  I eat these tasty, portable, mostly-date-plus-nuts-and-other-fruit bars about two or three times a week.

Late last year, Larabar debuted new flavors containing chocolate chips in their standard fruit-and-nut backbone. I was a little horrified; the inclusion of added sugar in their bars seemed like a reckless departure from their all-raw, all-vegan roots.  But who am I kidding? I love chocolate chunks in anything I eat.  In fact, I love them so much, that my reviews below have the chocolate chip flavors in a completely separate category. I can't compare apples to chocolate chip cookie dough!

Below, a ranking of all 16 current flavors of "non-chocolate-chippy" Larabars in the order I love them, with my two cents thrown on for many of them:

Note - List was edited April 3, 2011 to include Blueberry Muffin flavor

#1: Blueberry Muffin - See my review of this flavor.
#2: Peanut Butter Cookie - Seriously does (ok, in a peanuts-in-a-date-matrix sort of way) taste like a peanut butter cookie.  And I love peanut butter.
#3: Cashew Cookie - Has anyone ever heard of a cashew cookie? I haven't.  But these are delicious.
#4: Banana Bread - I could eat banana bread by the loaf.  Or by the sack full.  Or by the wheelbarrow full.  But in the absense of a wheelbarrow full of actual banana bread, these are a great substitute.
#5:  Chocolate Coconut Chew
#6: Lemon Bar
#7: Peanut Butter & Jelly - As you can tell from above, I love peanut butter. But I'm actually not a huge cherry fan (cherry is the "jelly" in these bars).
#8: Key Lime Pie - My husband is a huge (real) key lime pie fan, and he loves these
#9 Carrot Cake - I had really, really high hopes for these bars.  But they've let me down a bit. Too much "tropical fruit tart" taste and not enough carrot cake-y ness.
#10: Pecan Pie
#11 : Tropical Fruit Tart
#12: Coconut Cream Pie
#13: Apple Pie
#14: Ginger Snap - WOA this is some strong ginger snap flavor.  Not bad but very intense.  I can only get excited about these once in a while
#15 Cinnamon Roll
#16: Cherry Pie - Really just personal preference that this one is dead last, but I'm not a huge cherry fan. (In Cherry Pie's defense, my husband loves them and was outraged over my negative review).

And the chocolate chip flavors:
#1: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - WHO KNEW DATES + CASHEWS + SALT = COOKIE DOUGH? Genius. Tastes shockingly similar to the real deal.
#2: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip - Reese's Peanut Butter Cup fused with dates and mutated into Lara form. What's not to like?
#3: Chocolate Chip Brownie - Very strong cocoa taste in the matrix. Wasn't too crazy about these at first but they've grown on me.



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