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The day after Lent began, I got a massive box in the post from Doves Farm containing five lines of their organic cereal bars. At that point I hadn’t decided what, if anything, I was giving up for Lent, but it looked as if it wasn’t going to be cereal bars.
Doves Farm asked me to give them a go and write about what I thought. Cereal bars have universal appeal to both kids and adults and as I am (allegedly) a grown up, I decided that in order to give a thorough review, I should also draft in the help of a younger food lover. So enter stage left my junior taste tester Chloe who is three and loves her fruit so seems like the perfect addition to my very scientific tasting i.e. five bars, in five bowls…tuck in!
We started with the two flapjacks.
I really liked the Butter Flapjack– it’s not sweet, very buttery, and very substantial- half a bar could keep me going from the 3pm slump until tea time. I think it is quite a grown up bar as it isn’t at all sweet. In testament to that, junior taste tester said that she liked it, but the look on her face as she chewed suggested otherwise! A third, unofficial tester, also likes these. I found the box half empty after my husband has been sneaking them out for lunch!
Junior taste tester liked the fact that the Apple & Sultana Flapjack has sultanas in it. She liked it more than the sultana, apricot and apple cereal bar- she is a big sultana fan! I thought that it was slightly lighter than the butter flapjack but would have benefited from a bit more apple.
Then it was on to the cereal bars, and my junior taste tester was showing no signs of flagging – that girl will go far!
My junior taste tester declared the Banana, Mango & Brazil Nut bar her favourite- but she couldn’t explain to me why. It is definitely the sweetest tasting of the range and I suspect that is why it appeals to her. I really liked the brazil nuts and the mango, but I am not a fan of coconut in things and so it lost points for me for that alone. On the upside, I would feel sated after a bar as the sweet taste would trick my easily fooled brain into thinking I had eaten something far more sinful. Definitely one for kids and Bounty lovers.
The Crispy Chocolate & Rice Bars is different to the other cereal bars in that it is made of slightly sweet rice-crispie type cereal with a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom. As a chocoholic, I really like this one; it gives me a chocolate hit but is far less calorific than, say, a nice Twirl (my 3pm slump chocolate bar of choice in my old job). I’m not one for checking the calories on things but this is only 147- which means it is quite reasonable to pop one in my lunch box most days. Junior taste tester licked her lips when she saw chocolate- but surprisingly she only rated it second- although it took several tastes to come to that conclusion!
I like the apricot in the Sultana, Apricot & Apple Cereal Bar. It also had a good chewiness so would keep me going for longer than the average cereal bar. As with the flapjack, it could benefit from a bit more apple. Junior taste tester said that it was very chewy but as good as the chocolate one.
The bars are all low salt, and many of them are high fibre too which is a bonus (but not so good when you are taste testing them all at once!) as so many lunch time treats can have the goodness of cardboard.
So the Doves bars manage to appeal to ‘sensible’ adults who get a 3pm slump and don’t want to turn to the Twix (me) and high energy tots whom love fruit and treats. At the same time they have both organic and fair-trade credentials but don’t compromise on taste. A great find and one that I would definitely buy again.