Guys, I'm always up for trying new things. You need somebody to go bungee jumping with you? I'm down. You wanna try to figure out the difference between Russian and Ukrainian borscht? Sign me up. Wanna play me a song you wrote about the Maginot Line? Let's do it!

Well, maybe not that last one.  Unless you've got a strong, hooky three and half minute song about it, that's fine. But I don't need a ten minute folk version claiming to be a "symphony of sound" that reminds me of a less interesting "Revolution 9".  Just saying.

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So anyway, apparently back in May, there was a new product given to the snacking masses by General Mills through the line of Nature Valley bars.

“Nature Valley is known for introducing the first mainstream granola bar to consumers, and since 1975 we’ve continued to innovate and find new ways to shake up the bars aisle,” said Ray Joncas, Vice President and Business Unit Director, Bars at General Mills. “Snacking fans now have the best of both worlds with our new Savory Nut Crunch Bars as a companion to our traditional whole grain oat granola bars.”

So, I thought to myself..... "Huh.  I'm not a big "sweet breakfast" person..."  More often than not, if someone brings in donuts, I'm grateful but not going to town on them. And really, most of the time if I'm snacking, it's not a sweet snack either.  Maybe this is the solution to replace a cereal bar for your 2:30 afternoon snack.  So maybe these will hit the spot! Let's try 'em!

There are three flavors :  White Cheddar, Smoky BBQ, and Everything Bagel.  They cost a little over tree fiddy a box, and there are five in each box.  About eighty cents each, if you want to do the math.  But you don't have to, because I just did.  See, we're in this together. 

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Let's start with what could be seen as the "safest bet", the White Cheddar.

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I love white cheddar flavored rice cakes, popcorn, cheezy crackers.... what can go wrong?  Maybe I should ask instead, what could go right?

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First of all, they're smaller than you think.  They're not the size of a traditional granola bar.  At least, not in my experience.  But it has been a few years since I bought granola bars that were crunchy - maybe it's changed over the years.  They're kind of like Zeke from Bob's Burgers.  A little short, but stocky.

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It looks like a kind of breakfast block.  It's not heavy, or even very hard. It's easy to snap into sharing pieces.  It's crunchy but not Too crunchy, if you know what I mean. You can eat it pretty easily, though....I could see a parent giving this to a teething kid.  Well, with supervision, of course.  Choking hazards and all that.

The smell is...just peanuts.  I don't smell any cheese.  It's almost like you just opened a fresh jar of peanut butter, with no sugar.  If that  makes sense?  Flavor wise, this is... fine?  Nothing super offensive.  But then, it's not super delicious either.  It's... fine?   Kinda boring, if I'm being real with you.  To me, it just tastes like unsweetened peanuts, not unsweetened peanuts with cheese.

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This one I'm a little bit nervous about.  It's so easy for barbecue flavor to turn from something delicious to something.... humiliating in like, seven seconds.  I was worried this would try to lean too much into the "smoky" idea by overdoing it with the Liquid Smoke.  You know, like that Uncle that tries way, way too hard at the 4th of July barbecue.

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The color on this one is much darker.  More red.  It's almost orange.  When you open it, it's more of a strong "barbecue" smell.  It's a sweet barbecue sauce, though.   Which, although I know a lot of people like that, I'm not a huge fan of it.   I like spicier, non sweet barbecue flavor.  I know I might get a bit of flack for that, but... it is what it is.

I didn't get too much "fake smoky" from it, though, so they got that part right. Again, it's not like it's super offensive or anything. You're not going to spit it out and regret your life choices.  If you like sweeter barbecue chips and want to eat something that at least LOOKS healthier, you're set with this.

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Now. This one.  This one... was the one for me.  I love Everything Bagel seasoning.  I love it on bagels, I love it on rice cakes, I love it enough that I've even got two jars of just the seasoning in my cabinets right now.  It's become like a hot sauce for me, I'll put that nonsense on anything.  I haven't gotten to putting it in my bag yet, but I'm not that cool, so.  So yeah, this one had a big expectation to fill.

And honestly... again, it's fine. But just because it's not terrible, doesn't mean it's great either. You can see some little seeds in it, that makes it look different than the other two.  It's not particularly strong when it comes to smell, and the taste was... again, underwhelming.  It was like it has been in the same garage with the Everything Bagel seasoning.  Only, with nuts.

Overall, I would say these, again on the whole, are fine.  They're not going to blow your mind or turn you off of savory snacks forever.  Honestly, if you're trying to get a kid to try some non-sweet snacks and don't want too strong a flavor for their young pallet...these would probably work.   For me, though, I wanted something more.  I wanted that solution to the "I don't want a sweet or fruit flavored snack at 6:00 a.m." problem.  These are more a "you don't have to bring a bag of trail mix with you when you're outdoors" problem solver.

So have you tried these savory Nature Valley bars?  What did you think?  Which one was your favorite?

Snackily yours,

Behka

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