According to my fantastic, made-up demographics, some of you like pie with your coffee, some of you like coffee with your pie, but you don’t like coffee-flavored pie. Likewise, some of you like romance novels, and some of you like food blogging, but some of you also don’t like erotic food-blogging. In the interest of satisfying the tastes all of my dear readers, I have elected to cut down Fifty Shades of Chocolate to a one-week serial. Rest assured, fans, Jessica McLovin’ McDesire McDestiny’s Child McWunderbar will find a partner to call her own. Haters, I’m modifying the chocolate week posts to have the rating before the story. SFW for all and if you want to read it, you can, and if you don’t, you don’t have to.
Today we’re trying Justin’s Nut Butter Candy Bars, a playful counterpart to their take on peanut butter cups. Now they’re getting into Snickers bars, too, and in a pretty decent way. I first tried these at the Fancy Food Show and am now tasting them again. The nice folks at Justin’s gave me a sample of their Milk Chocolate Peanut bar to review, the one I thought would be best as a comparative taster. The bar is advertised as having 25% less sugar, 25% more protein, and 100% more fiber than the leading bar and it tastes that way on all counts.
The bar itself has a less indulgent mouthfeel, but a wholesome, tasty set of ingredients. The marshmallow nougat holds the bar together well but there seems to be a lack of proportion between the caramel and nougat. It has a crumbly texture with a more solid, chewy caramel base. I’m also confused as to where the peanuts come in. The ingredients list both peanut butter and peanuts, but neither showed up very well within the bar’s flavor. It was just sort of bland. For a company whose nut butter is notoriously indulgent, delicious, and savory, I was surprised that this was formulated with such a restrained flavor. It’s straightforward, but unfortunately, crumbles beneath the competition. Perhaps a little more eclectic usage of ingredients would save this one.
“No! Not the FCC requirements and giveaway runoff!” I screamed, running down the hall of infinite darkness. “I don’t want to use stock photos!” As I ran, a large figure came before me, stopping the mommy bloggers and social networking affiliates in their tracks. Was he wearing Timberlands and carrying a Camelbak? Who was this hiking-garbed savior of mine, this creature of light and Luna bars?
I woke up. It was just a dream! After my night with P, it would seem that I was descending into madness. P was dark…perhaps a little too dark. I needed something to refresh myself, a break from all of this sin and desire. Although, I thought to myself, it had been a long time since I’d felt the satisfaction of such a bar. P and I had made plans to see their friend Porcini tomorrow night, an experience I was told I wouldn’t soon forget.
I shivered at the thought. Shortly after we’d consummated our appetites, P had made me sign a contract, a nondisclosure agreement stating that I would never eat another non-organic candy bar, or eat empty calories when I could be pleasuring and receiving pleasure from a delicious, organic, all-natural piece of chocolate. It was all so new and scary to me. I needed a break, a walk in the fresh air.
Walking along the hallways of my local Whole Foods, I breathed in the heady aroma of roasted chicken, salad bars, and hippie musk. It was so perfect here, and the last place I knew P would find me. Turning a corner, I collided with a buff, stout bar, nearly knocking it off the shelf. Taking a glance at its ingredients, I jerked my hand back, as though burnt. Snickers. The child-labor ambiguity, the fairtrade contracts…it was forbidden on the contract, the chocolate sauce signature fresh in my mind on the piece of luxurious paper. Sadly, I turned, walking to brighter pastures of quinoa and Puffin cereal.
“I’m not a Snickers, you know,” I whirled around, looking at the bar beneath me. “I’m made by Justin’s Nut Butter. They call me Peanut…I’m similar to a Snickers, but without all that junk.” I gasped. It was the bar from my dreams last night! “You’re…organic?” I whispered, not daring to believe what I saw in front of me. “I’m organic, ethically sourced, and I’m really delicious, too. Plus, I have 25% more protein than the leading bar,” it said, lowering its tone. “For more energy where it counts.” I almost swooned. It was too good to be true. Surely P wouldn’t mind or notice?
“There’s a loading elevator in the back, near the goat cheese and salted butter. Let’s go. We don’t have long.” I grabbed Peanut, feeling the weight and warmth in my hands, as we descended the aisle to the elevator. It smelled like air freshener and patchouli, but it didn’t matter. Unsheathing Peanut from its white hemp wrapper, I raised it to my lips. Peanut yielded quickly, but it was too late. “You’re…where are your peanuts?” I couldn’t seem to find the huge, globular roasted pieces of peanut I knew and loved. Peanut snarled at me, rearing back and crinkling the wrapper over its chocolate shell. “What do you mean, where are the peanuts? Not all chocolate bars have huge nuts, you know. Haven’t you ever had a Butterfinger? It’s about the flavor. Whatever.” I reared back. Peanut had an attitude. “Well, your caramel is crumbly and you’re not sweet at all!” I shouted, but it was gone, back to the freezer aisle, yelling behind it, “I’m going back to Nutella…they know how to treat nuts!”
I knew that straying from P was the wrong thing to do, and that they would find out in short notice. I couldn’t let that cloud my judgment, though, and I walked out of the Whole Foods, brushing chocolate off my hands and lips. Only P could satisfy me now, and I would have to trust them to deliver. I shivered to myself, thinking about Porcini. What would become of me in their Brown Room of Confection?
To be continued…