After seeing them all over the blogosphere, I finally spotted the ever-elusive bars of the season: Limited Edition Clif Bars. These seasonal favorites are available only during the months of the winter holidays. I first encountered them at an on-campus convenience store in mid-November; more conventional establishments (e.g., Whole Foods or your local grocery store) might have begun stocking them earlier in the year.
Anyway, with the end of the holiday season fast approaching, I figured that I had better post a review of these seasonal bars, pronto! Now is the time to stock up before they disappear for another 11 months.
Of all three seasonal flavors, Iced Gingerbread enticed me the most. Did someone say icing?! If you recall my birthday's mound of frosting, er, cake, you'll remember that I have a healthy appreciation for all that is fluffy and heavily sugared. Plus, who doesn't like a good gingerbread treat during the holidays?
I opted to sample my bar before a brisk morning run. A half-bar serving provided the perfect mix of protein and carbohydrates to fuel my body, and its intense sweetness satisfied my sweet tooth. The amount of ginger flavor was just right in that I could detect the gingerbread taste without being overwhelmed by its notorious "bite." My one complaint is that the overall flavor experience was a bit too sweet, at least as a first-thing-in-the-morning snack. Perhaps if I had sampled it later in the day, I might have eaten this little brick of sugariness with more gusto.
The Iced Gingerbread variety contains 250 kcalories, 6 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, along with Clif bars' typical array of vitamins and minerals.
In addition to enjoying this as a pre-workout snack, you might also enjoy this bar heated in the microwave, accompanied by a glass of your favorite milk (soy/nut/cow's).
Spiced Pumpkin Pie
Next up on my list was the bar that featured my favorite squash in its name...pumpkin! While this flavor does not include "iced" in its name, rest assured that there is still plenty of the sweet stuff; the icing is merely spread across the bar's bottom rather than drizzled ever so attractively as it was on the gingerbread variety. Once again, this bar was heavily sugared, but its spice combination was not as notable as in the gingerbread variety. I would have appreciated a little bit more clove action. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this flavor, and it provided just the right oomph for my morning run, as is to be expected of my beloved Clif products.
The Spiced Pumpkin Pie variety contains 240 kcalories, 5 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and a host of vitamins and minerals. I love that Clif bars provide a vegan source of calcium--250 mg (25% RDA) per bar.
This bar was scrumptious enough for me to consider using it as a pumpkin pie substitute when an inopportune craving strikes. Try topping it with regular/soy whipped topping or your favorite soft spreadable cheese spread, such as Laughing Cow or Tofutti.
Pear Apple Strudel
Last among the seasonal flavor lineup was the Pear Apple Strudel. Honestly, I don't think I have ever tasted strudel in its traditional form, so I didn't know quite what to expect out of this flavor. Upon first bite, it was palatable but the flavor was not at all the pear-apple melange I had imagined. Instead, its taste reminded me of...chardonnay. It had a tart sweetness not unlike wine grapes. While this flavor does get points for the pretty icing design, I would rank this variety 3rd out of three. I may revisit it after I try a real strudel:)
The Pear Apple Strudel variety contains 240 kcalories, 5 grams of fat, 9 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and the usual vitamin and mineral mix.
In honor of its strudel heritage, this bar might also be paired with fruit. Try crumbling it into small pieces as an alternative topping for fresh berries or applesauce.
If you'd like to sample these flavors for yourself, hurry to your local Clif supplier today--they won't be in stores for long! They are also available for sale online here.
Enjoy your last few moments of the weekend!