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Any energy-bar users in the house? You may think, “well, I’m a commuter, not an athlete…what do I need such things for?” Think about this, then: you might be running late to work and need something quick to eat on the way. You may need a little energy “pick me up” before your ride home in the evening. Or, like many of us, you also ride bicycles recreationally and need “road/trail snacks” for those epic rides.

There are literally dozens of energy bars on the market…and I’ve tried a lot of them over the years. To be perfectly frank, I find most of them absolutely disgusting in flavor, texture, or ingredient content. What’s more, off the bike I have a cast-iron stomach. When I ride for transportation or for recreation, though, I find that food just doesn’t sit well in my stomach…and most energy bars really aggravate my tender innards.

So, when Clif Bar offered to send samples of their newest offerings, I was intrigued, to say the least. Would I finally find a tasty, easy-on-the-stomach energy bar for my uses?

First off is Kit’s Organic:

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Available in four flavors — cashew, chocolate almond coconut, peanut butter, and berry almond — this fruit and nut bar is refreshingly simple. It contains only organic fruits, oatmeal, nuts and a pinch of sea salt…no unpronounceable additives or flavorings. The flavors themselves are fresh and light, and I rather enjoyed them all (my favorite is the cashew). Light on the tongue, and pretty easy on the stomach, even during relatively hard efforts on the bike. A box of 12 retails for about $18.00. So far, so good…

Next up is Gary’s Panforte.

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According to Clif Bar, “This bar was inspired by [Clif Bar founder] Gary’s rides in Northern Italy and is based on an 800-year-old Italian recipe full of fruit, nuts, and spices.” That sure sounds like a traditional fruitcake, but it’s much more like a Christmas “panettone“, at least in flavor rather than texture. The Gary’s Panforte bar is a dense, flavorful bar…nutty and rich with exotic spices like ginger, coriander, white pepper, and citrus and with a strong molasses-y (actually brown rice syrup in these bars) undertone. This bar is mostly made of organic ingredients, too…and there’s nothing scary in the ingredients list. Best of all, it is absolutely DELICIOUS…hell, even my two children, both notoriously picky eaters, seem to love them. The flavor brings back childhood memories for me…eating holiday panettone and sneaking cups of espresso with my Italian great-grandmother while the rest of the family turned up their noses at the fruitcakey substance.

On the bike, however, the Panforte bar sits a bit too heavily in my stomach…it’s probably too nutty for me and didn’t seem to digest quickly on account of all those nuts. They’re so darn tasty, though, that I reserve these for before/after pick-me-ups rather than food while I’m riding.

12 of these will set you back about $15.00. Not bad for a little yummy energy in the tank!

So, if you’re in the market for something new in the energy bar department, both of these offerings from Clif Bar might be worth a try. Oh, and if you hurry, you might be able to catch some of their other limited edition “holiday flavors”, including peppermint stick, iced gingerbread, and pumpkin pie…all great hits around our household!

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