Friday, March 6, 2020

Millville Sweet and Salty Nut Peanut, Almond & Dark Chocolate Chunk Granola Bars (Aldi)

Dark chocolate typically ain't my thing, but these are a welcome change from the other, sweeter varieties.

One thing I feel like I've mentioned a million times before is that I pack my lunch for work four days a week. Since I've been doing it pretty consistently for so long now, I've got it down to a science: sandwich (or sometimes frozen entrĂ©e) of some sort, fruit, breakfast bar (for snack in case I get hungry before lunchtime), chips, and sometimes a beverage of some sort. Did I say science? I probably should have went with “routine”, since I just go through the motions of packing at this point, without any excitement whatsoever.

Depressing intro paragraph aside, my point was to explain that, even though I have much of it broken down by category, there are still dozens—if not hundreds—of items that fit into each one. For example, “sandwich” can mean turkey and swiss, or chicken salad, or peanut butter and jelly; likewise, there are dozens of fruits, hundreds of chips, and many different breakfast bars to keep the routine from getting too stale. And so, to switch it up a little bit, I occasionally like to try new things, if for no other reason than to break the doldrums of familiarity.

And that's how I ended up with Millville's Sweet and Salty Nut Chocolate Chunk granola bar, something that I wouldn't normally pick up, on account of my hating dark chocolate and all. But you know what? I was tired of the sweeter almond butter dipped ones, and didn't want to fork over $5 for a box of protein-packed “fancy” bars, so the decision was pretty much forced upon me, courtesy of Aldi's limited selection.

As expected, this is the flavor to get if you find the other varieties too sweet, because it definitely dials back on that front. On top of having the dark chocolate chunks throughout, the bottom is also dipped in a “chocolate flavored coating”, according to the description on the actual package, although it doesn’t state what kind. After digging into it, I can say it’s definitely more akin to dark chocolate than milk, with a semi-sweet flavor that also adds in a slight layer of “bitter”, as if it was inserted simply to remind me why I can’t stand the stuff. Thankfully, though, since only the bottom of the bar is covered, and there's a generous helping of granola and nuts, there are enough other flavors to get me through.

Even though these really aren't my cup of tea, I can appreciate them for what they are, since they fill the void left by the other two (overly, some might say) sweet varieties. The chocolate does provide a nice blast of flavor that doesn't make you feel like you're eating dessert, yet offers enough of a slightly sweet finish to also remind you that you're not eating just a boring ol' granola bar. I would imagine fans of dark chocolate would really like these, even though I'm sure it's not a high-end example of the stuff.

The texture is about the same as the national brand, which is to say that it’s soft, and perfectly chewy, which also helps to make these enticing. Meanwhile, the $1.49 retail price (for six bars) makes them all-too-affordable and provides a week's worth of work snacks for me, for a price that won't come anywhere close to breaking the bank. I couldn't get them all the time, but for a change-of-pace, these do a good job of (barely) hitting the spot.

Overall: 6/10. Again, take my opinions with a grain of salt, because dark chocolate just isn't my thing, but these do provide a nice counterpoint to the other varieties of “partially-dipped granola bars”, which are particularly sweet. Thus, I get these as a change-up from those; on those grounds, it succeeds admirably, by offering up a semi-sweet, slightly bitter dark chocolate coating atop an almond and granola bar of soft, chewy texture. I could never get these on a weekly basis (a statement true of almost anything), and I'm still not at all crazy about the taste, but fans of dark chocolate should appreciate these a lot more than I do. The $1.49 retail price (for six bars) also provides some pretty solid value.

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