Matisse & Jack’s TrailBlaze Energy Bars

Thoughts about food and technology by computer geeks who love to cook

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August 7, 2007

Before leaving California, I got to sample the latest innovation in energy bars from a local (San Francisco) company: bars you can bake yourself. The idea behind

is that you get the same nutritional benefits of a commercial bar (if not more), but with all-natural ingredients, without all the packaging, and with the kind of fresh-baked flavor you can get only by, um, baking something fresh. Combine the mix with a few wet ingredients, pop it in the oven for a half hour, and you’re off. Two flavors are available: Cranberry Walnut and Chocolate Chip.

Now, on the surface, this concept seems sound. Certainly, you can save a bit of money by baking your own bars—so at least there’s that. But I’ve read lots of reviews of these bars that proclaim them the best thing since manna, and frankly, I don’t get it. They’re totally adequate—there’s nothing wrong with them—but in my opinion they completely fail to live up to the hype.

Let’s start with the most important thing: taste. They taste fine, which is to say they have yummy ingredients (like chocolate chips—nothing bad you can say about that) mixed in reasonably pleasing proportions. But they do not taste like energy bars. If you’re expecting something along the lines of a PowerBar, or Clif bar, or Balance bar, you’ll be disappointed. These bars are much fluffier, more like a slightly dense brownie than the firm and grainy texture most of us associate with commercial energy bars. And actually…I like that sort of texture. I’d prefer a Clif bar over Matisse & Jack’s any day. True enough: that’s just my personal preference. But I’m saying that it wasn’t what I was expecting, and the difference was so striking that I have difficulty putting these bars in the same category of food as other energy bars.

Maybe, however, the taste of these bars is exactly what you’ve always wanted, in which case, more power to you. Even then, though, be aware of a few facts:

Now, I hate to be hard on these guys. I know they mean well. As I said, the bars do taste perfectly fine, and I can’t quarrel with their nutritional specs. Plus, lots of other publications have given them rave reviews. So I accept that it’s entirely possible I’m the only one who doesn’t think they’re great. But to be entirely honest, my experience with the bars just didn’t impress me.

Posted by Joe Kissell in

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said:

some energy bars are just too sweet for my own taste. is there a sugar free energy bar? ,*;

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