Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bob’s Red Mill Granolas (Product Review)

Remember these?  They arrived in the mail from Bob’s Red Mill a few weeks ago, addressed to The Family Foodie.  We’ve spent the last few weeks testing out all four of the new granola varieties now offered by Bob’s crew, and I must say they’ve been tasty weeks.  The Hubs, in particular, is now completely addicted to granola.  Lest you should doubt me, I’ll just mention that he ordered a case from Amazon last week.

I’m always a little wary of all-natural cereals because they’re sometimes a little too crunchy, not to mention downright tasteless.  (If you have to wait for the milk in your cereal bowl to soften it up before you can eat it without fearing the loss of a tooth, I say a cereal is too crunchy.)  Granola sometimes has the additional problem of being high fat, or of losing its texture in milk.  So although I was excited to try these products, trusting in my previous positive experience with Bob’s products, I confess that I wasn’t expecting to find a new breakfast favorite here–even when I discovered that these granolas average only 3 grams of fat per serving.  Balanced by 5 grams of protein, that’s not bad at all.

Bob’s new granolas come in four flavors:  Apple Blueberry, Cinnamon Raisin, Honey Oat, and Natural.  We tore into the Apple Blueberry Granola first, simply because it sounded so delicious.  The blueberry flavor was authentic, not fakey at all, thanks to an abundance of dried blueberries, but the apple flavor was less pronounced and, I thought, pretty much undetectable.  I enjoyed the blueberries, though, and I did like the texture.  Even after adding some milk, this granola held its own (as did all the other varieties.)

We moved on from there to the Cinnamon Raisin Granola.  We are not raisin people in the Foodie family, so I didn’t expect to be particularly fond of this variety–but, much to my surprise, the raisins were actually pleasant.  They were soft and chewy, not tough at all, and there weren’t too many of them, just enough for some texture.  I thought the cinnamon flavor was too heavy, though.  The Hubs disagreed.  “I like cinnamon,” he said.  I do too, but I’d like to be able to taste the oats underneath it.

Last we tried the Natural and Honey Oat varieties, in that order.  The Hubs loved the flavor of the Natural Granola so much that the bag didn’t last very long.  Flavored with fruit concentrate, this one has a unique taste that’s sweet without being sugary or overpowering.  The Honey Oat Granola was similar; the flavor wasn’t as complex, but I liked that I could actually taste the honey.  (Most of the time, “honey” seems to be used as a way to fool people into thinking they’re eating something natural, when what they’re really eating is a dash of honey mixed with a ton of corn syrup.  Clearly not the case with this granola.)

And the winner of our deeply unscientific taste test:

Hands down, The Hubs and I agreed that the Natural Granola was our favorite.  The fruit concentrate gave it a distinctive flavor that we couldn’t attribute to any particular type of fruit, though the ingredient list indicates the concentrate is a mixture of pineapples, pears and peaches.  The Hubs liked the fact that it tasted fruity, not just sweet.  I liked the fact that I could taste the oats alongside the fruit.

As I mentioned earlier, we’re currently working our way through a case of granola ordered from Amazon after we’d completed our taste test.  While these granolas aren’t certified gluten free, oats themselves don’t contain gluten–so, if you’re a gluten-light person like me and can afford to run the risk of cross-contamination with wheat products, they’re a very tasty breakfast and snacking option.


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