January 21st: Eat Natural Selection 2011
It's been nearly two years since I last took a look at the Eat Natural range (See previous reviews HERE) but since the turn of the year I have received a few requests asking me to check out some healthier chocolate options. Back in 2009 the Eat Natural brand was still relatively unestablished here in the UK, but since then their range has grown quite considerably with several new variants and products (cereals etc).
These indulgent health bars aren't my usual choice of snack, but I was able to track down two new flavours with relative ease in my local Holland & Barrett health store. Both 45.0g bars came in at a pretty price £0.89, though I guess this was to be expected given the proposition and ingredients. If you look at the wrappers from the 2009 reviews you will see that little has changed in regards to the presentation, which I personally think is fair given that it was never bad in the first place. Puzzlingly the wrappers still lacked nutritional information (you would of thought consumers of these sort of products would be interested in that sort of stuff), but nonetheless every other detail you may ever wish to know e.g. ingredients, production method etc were included.
Here are my thoughts on the two flavours:
Eat Natural Dark 70% Chocolate Brazils & Apricots
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???
I am sure you will agree that this was the uglier of the two bars :D the unidentified green bits caused me to quickly refer to the ingredients list upon where I quickly learnt that they were in fact pumpkin seeds. I'm sure someone will inform me of the health benefits, but I have to say they did little for the taste and proved more an annoyance getting trapped in my teeth. In regards to the other constituents this bar was a bit of a mixed bag, with some mouthfuls full of flavour, whilst others proving relatively tasteless depending on what was portioned where. The apricot cranberries and raisins were all plump and juicy, and provided the desired fruity sweetness to the very plain tasting rice base. On the flip side the brazil nuts were pretty lax in their flavour contribution, and it was only really where the coconut was present that a nuttiness came through. Billed as 70% dark chocolate I was hoping the base was going to contribute a grander chocolate flavour hit than it did. Unfortunately the chocolate came across very diluted in it's cereal bedding - I understand heavier portioning would have hampered the 'healthy' proposition, but it was begging out for a thicker chocolate base.
7.3 out of 10
Eat Natural Cranberries, Macadamias & Dark Chocolate
Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???
The less alien looking bar emanated some tempting nutty scents when unsealed from it's wrapper which was unsurprising given it's heavier portioning of nuts. Fundamentally this was largely the same bar as the one above, just with some minor differences in the portioning of some constituents. I don't know what strength the chocolate was this time, but it yet again cried out to be more generously portioned as the smokey cocoa flavours struggled to cut through the more dominant savoury rice cereal base. Although lacking the apricot of the above, the cranberry fruits took more of a leading role making for a tarter fruity taste than in the previous. As you may have guessed, it was the nuts where I felt this bar had more going for it, and this was mostly down to the copious amounts of coconut involved. Indeed, the shredded coconut added a very nice milky nuttiness to almost every bite, whilst the less prominent macadamias contributed some more additional subtle buttery nut flavours when encountered.
7.6 out of 10
Overall these where both sound offerings from Eat Natural, though both were crying out for a thicker layer of dark chocolate to supplement the tasty fruit and nut constituents. What with the company going from strength-to-strength and branching out in to new areas, I think it may be worth them considering making an an actual chocolate bar range. If they paired up the great quality fruit and nut produce with some high quality chocolate, then I think they could be on to something quite special. Do any of you have any favourites from Eat Natural? Have you tried either of these two bars?