On the one hand, these bars look pretty much like most other chocolate bars you see in the wild these days…
Then again, there’s something very different: they have no sugar added and are sweetened with Stevia. Now, one sec…before you refer to all your preconceived notions about non-sugar sweeteners, hear me out.
I used to be a soda drinker back in the college days. Super Big Gulp® of Coca Cola, please. Pretty much one of those along with a Big Mac, pizza, or whatever other cheap junk I was eating for dinner that night. Wanna know something else I did in college? Gained 20 pounds or so.
After that, I switched to diet sodas, and was drinking those by the 6-pack till a few years ago. That’s when Mrs. Guru shamed me into quitting because of the “poison” in them (Aspartame). At first it was annoying to lose my crutch, but I had my concerns about Aspartame too, and since we more or less don’t let Jr. have it, aside from the occasional piece of sugar-free gum, I felt I had to put my money where my mouth was.
So I switched to Zevia soda, which is sweetened with Stevia. Stevia is a naturally derived sweetener from the leaves in the plant Stevia rebaudiana. No, it’s not 100% clear if there’s any health concerns from it, although my opinion is that there’s not, which seems to be the common thought. Honestly, no one can know anything until people have been ingesting it for decades. Anyhow, the one concern about my Zevia soda that I had was the taste-Stevia definitely added this…specific mild bitterness. It didn’t bother me, and I actually really enjoyed the soda. For other reasons completely, I now don’t drink any soda-I just make seltzer water spiked with a tiny amount of juice. Cheaper, easier, whatever.
But back to the concern: almost none of my friends could stand the test of the Zevia soda. So when I saw that we were going to review chocolate sweetened with Stevia, I had serious concerns-I even told the fine people who sent us these that I had these pre-concenieved concerns, but would give it an honest review. Today we’re going to focus on the white peach & dark chocolate bar.
It’s “UTZ” certified. What’s that? It’s a certification that lets you know the cocoa was sustainably farmed by farmers who are getting a fairer deal than many others. It’s a good thing, check it out. But let’s get to business: let’s eat it.
I took a square, ready for anything. At first, I was struggling to find the peach chunks & flavor, but it slowly came on. The chocolate tasted like a semi-intense dark chocolate. It was good. I had another square, and enjoyed that. Then I tested the Mrs.: I gave her a square without telling her what the bar was. While she didn’t love it (she felt it was a little bland) she said it was good. I asked he if she tasted anything specific, she said no. So the great news here is that there’s no “flavor” noticeable that’s been introduced by the Stevia. I took the rest of the bar to work, and did a blind taste test with a few people- they all liked it.
I have to say, I really kinda like this bar. The peach chunks are tiny, but they provide some decent mouthfeel and add just a bit of flavor to the experience. But I do have one question: why?
I’m not sure I understand why this is sweetened with Stevia. I compared the nutritional information on this bar to another dark chocolate bar with fruit, and they’re almost he same with regards to calories and fat (in fact this bar has a bit more fat, but less calories), so it can’t be for people dieting, can it? Perhaps it’s for people who can’t have a lot of sugar, or for certain medical conditions.
I referred to the website, and it does in fact appear as if these are targeted to those wanting to eat less sugar and perhaps keep that belt on the same notch for a while. I’m just not sure this is actually helping with that. Usually when you substitute sugar, the fat goes up, so you’re picking your poison. But for those who have a specific need to keep their sugar levels down, this could be a great solution.
As a chocolate bar, this is very good. It’s not among the best I’ve had, but it’s tasty and I’d eat it again. But I don’t think the Stevia sweetener is a real selling point for me.
How about you guys-what do you think? Click the link below to try some for yourselves.