O’hi there, lasses and leprechauns!
St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us, and I’ve chosen to take the fast food company approach to celebrating. As long as it’s a nice, radioactive shade of artificial green and it’s edible, it’s holiday appropriate. This brings us to Quaker’s Chocolatey Mint Granola Bar, one of the new, real cocoa-laden entries into its Chewy line of snackables. It contains eight grams of magical whole grains and absolutely none of that banshee HFCS.
In the past I’ve found that the only thing at the end of granola rainbows is a very dry mouthâ€¦ and sometimes, if I’m really Irish-level lucky, honey or berries. Quaker, however, has always taken the concept in a very rice-puffed, kid-friendly direction. Chewy bars aren’t meant to see much non-paved wilderness action or to blend serendipitously with Kombucha. These are the snacks that litter the ground below the granola rainbow. That is why I chose them for St. Patrick’s Day instead of Earth Day. For Earth Day, they’d have to ramp it up about a thousand notches, maybe add some actual clover.
The bar itself imparts little to no flavor beyond a whispered hint of cocoa. It’s basically just a whole grain home for the wee little flavor chips, which are left to do all the heavy lifting. While delicious, they’re constantly falling off the bar and finding places to melt at bizarrely low temperatures, so that by the last bite, I’m left with green spotted pants and a bland rolled oat has-been bragging about a cacao tree it once knew.
“Like hell,” I say. “Little cocoa bar, you’ve no more rubbed elbows with Brazilian beans than you’ve hung out on the cliffs of Moher in the late evening mist, pining for your lost love, Little Debbie.”
If that isn’t a woeful pub ballad in the making, I don’t know what is. I’m pretty sure I’m like three green beers away from penning the defining junk food anthem here. Shall we make it two?
In response to my disbelief and persistent need to make this culinary experience all about me, the chewy bar drops several more mint chips onto the carpet in my living room.
Turns out my fridge contains no green beer. My options are Belgian ale or week old two buck chuck with green food coloring. Both seem like fitting choices for this completely non-Irish snack. I graduated from a college that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day two weeks earlier than the rest of the world and, honestly, I’m not even slightly Irish, so I feel neither compelled nor qualified to include anything authentic in my holiday choices. I need a shirt that says, “Kiss me for my minty breath and do not question my heritage.”
Surprisingly, pairing the oat brick and scattered mouthwash chips with a bit of ale actually kind of brought out the missing chocolate flavor, like a secret key. Not that I’m suggesting anything to any of you wee lads and lassies, but to you hardcore, daylong, age-appropriate St. Patty’s celebrants, all I’m going to say is that these are super convenient and breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, especially if the rest of the day’s meals are going to be imbibed in liquid form. Also, let’s face it: Lucky Charms are so passÃ©. And, bonus, you get complimentary minty freshness in this deal, which is vaguely close to attempted personal hygiene. What’s not to love?
Now, if you’ll excuse, I’m going to get back to writing that soon-to-be-beloved folk ditty. Oh, chewy bar, my taste buds they are call-ing!
(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 90 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 8% calcium, and 4% iron. Not a significant source of any vitamins whatsoever.)
Item: Quaker Chewy Chocolatey Mint Granola Bars
Price: 3/$5.00 (on sale)
Size: 10 – .84 ounce bars
Purchased at: Albertson’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Yummy mint chips liberally sprinkled about. Inspires me to write folk ballads. Pairs well with festive spirits. Unguarded pots of honey and berries. Minty fresh breath.
Cons: Lacks hearts, stars, horseshoes, clovers, and blue moons. Chocolate bar is a tasteless brick. One must eat multiple bars to equal even a child-sized breakfast. Unrequited snack food love.