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Sitting the Bar Exam

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Do you remember when I scoped out the College Bar Scene?

Well, I’m at it again.

Energy bars are a MUST for college students on the go because they are portable and easy to eat. My new favorites are Clif Nectar Bars, followed by Larabar Jocalat Bars. Aside from taste, one of the best things about these bars is the fact that, although they contain chocolate, they don’t really melt.

Everyone and her brother seem to love those now-famous Larabars. But in the blog posts I’ve seen, hardly anyone ever mentions Jocalats. Why is this? Is it because they aren’t as good as their sister Larabars? I was determined to find out.

And so, one day, I added a Chocolate Jocalat to my Whole-Foods’ purchase. Gosh, am I ever glad I did! The website describes this bar as being “as indulgent as a delicious fudge brownie” and they are not kidding. From the taste alone, you’d never guess the bar is actually good for you.


And just as good as the Jocalat Bars (if that’s possible) are the Clif Nectar Bars.

I first sampled a Dark Chocolate  Raspberry Nectar a few months ago, and ever since that moment, I’ve been hooked! This luscious little bar is moist and nutty, without being cloyingly-sweet. Has anyone else ever eaten one of those chocolate truffles with the raspberry jelly inside? Well, the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Nectars remind me of those sinfully-rich jellies.

The Dark Chocolate Walnut Nectar doesn’t disappoint either. Bitter dark chocolate is tempered by sweet, succulent dates, with walnuts generously dispersed throughout each intensely-chocolatey bar. It’s like biting into a big piece of fudge!

Sadly, I did NOT enjoy my experience with the Pomegranate Vanilla Nectar. With its waxy texture and citrus-y aftertaste, this tasted more like a bar of SOAP than a bar of energy! Perhaps my negative encounter with this flavor was due to its lacking of a certain CCK-eponymous ingredient. 😉

While we’re on the subject of “bad” bars, I had to laugh when I saw the size of the new Luna Minis.  Just look at how tiny it is compared to my darling Nectar Bar. It’s worse than one of those infamous 100-calorie packs!

They call this a snack?! I’d call it a bite!

But let’s get back to the POSITIVE reviews, shall we?

Dark Chocolate Mocha Nectar:  As soon as I bit into this bar, intense bursts of coffee collided with my taste buds. Luxuriously rich and chocolatey, with crunchy almonds and a robust espresso flavor, it tastes way too sinful to be classified as a health food. But that’s exactly what it is!

These bars will satisfy your chocolate craving while at the same time giving you TWO servings of fruit. Plus they have no refined sugars, no artificial ingredients, no gluten nor dairy… and the company uses organic, fair-trade chocolate to boot!

In summary: Jocalats = Amazing! Chocolate Nectars = Fantabulous! But stay away from the Luna Minis, unless you have a stomach the size of a petite pea.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. River says:

    Larabar and Cliff should hire you to advertise their product. You just made me go out and buy some of those! Too bad I’m already in my jammies and slippers 😛

    P.S: You are so stunningly beautiful!

  2. Meg says:

    I love the chocolate mocha Nectar bar! I didn’t like the pomegranate nectar either, but I did like the Lemon Vanilla Cashew with goji berries. The plain Jocolat is good, but I didn’t like the chocolate mint one!

  3. Ruby Red Vegan says:

    You do have good taste! Now that you mention it, I have no idea why the Jocalat line doesn’t get as much attention as Lara. They are both so good! I love the chocolate mint and chocolate coffee ones — I have yet to get my hands on the two new Jocalat flavors! I like Clif Nectar Cacao bars too, but the raspberry is the only one I haven’t tried! I think you have convinced me to get one on my Whole Foods run tomorrow.

    And I don’t remember which plain Clif Nectar bar I tried, but I do know that it wasn’t nearly as good as the cacao ones! Too bad they are more expensive that Larabars. Poo.

  4. magpie says:

    I LOVE nectar bars. The z-bars are great too, esp if you heat them up – but I don’t know if they’re vegan.

  5. shelby says:

    I’ve been wanting to try the Nectar bars ever since they came out but can’t find them anywhere!! =( I must search harder…

  6. talieworld says:

    I really didn’t like the Jocolat choclate mint, but I’ll be sure to try out the other flavors. :)

    I know the cliff nectars are great!

  7. Erin at caretoeat.net says:

    Those Luna minis are a joke.
    I’ll commit to trying a Jocolat in your honor! :) Have a great Friday night!
    Love your sense of humor btw.

  8. Ricki says:

    I have tried the Jocolat and found them quite delish. . . I think we don’t have the Clif bars here yet (or I just haven’t seen them). Great review!

  9. Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) says:

    Thanks for the reviews! This was a great post!

  10. Vegyogini says:

    I, for one, do not have a love affair with Larabars and their Jocolat sisters. Yuck. I’ve had a couple Clif Nectar bars and they’re pretty good, but Luna bars (not mini size) are my favorites and I regularly eat a couple flavors of regular Clif bars, too. Thanks for the review, CCV!

  11. shellyfish says:

    You said you were going to do a bar review…most College students’ bar reviews would have been a little different…you know, with booze! Ha! I much enjoyed your much healthier take on things!

  12. Andrea says:

    “they call it a snack. i call it a bite”

    you are too cute! i definitely laughed when i read that…/ so true! they’re wicked small – but i guess good for a pre-workout snack!

  13. Emma says:

    I think I will have to try a Jocalat bar next time I treat myself to goodies from veganessentials! They sound good!

    Sadly, I don’t think I can get hold of the clif nectar bars : ( I’d love to try them! I like the Clif builder bars though, they are really yummy!

  14. Joanna says:

    Raspberry Nectar Bars are one of my favorites, too. They are really dense and fudgey and totally un-energybarlike (wow what a word).

    I still need to try the other chocolate versions because they sound really rich and delicious.

    Those Luna Bars are way too small! I absolutely love the regular size Luna Bars. The Blueberry one is amazing.

  15. mad about udon says:

    Wow, I’ve never seen those Luna minis… kinda of a strange idea. Thanks for the review! I always just pick up the cheapest vegan one I see, and am often disappointed in my selection.

  16. Animal-Friendly says:

    What a great review! I’m obsessed with Larabars, but have only tried their Jocolat bars once, but boy was it good! Haha- the size of the mini Lunabars is pretty laughable. I can’t imagine something so tiny filling anyone up!

  17. VeganView says:

    Cliff nector bars are lifesavers! My parents would ship me cases of the cashew vanilla kind when I lived in Europe and South Florida. I still carry them EVERYWHERE I go in my purse! Nice post :)

  18. Nikki Douglas says:

    I love Larabars now I will try the Jocolats. I love this photo of you with your bars. You have the sweetest eyes. I cracked up about Luna minis – I got a bunch of Luna bars cheap and I do not like them at all. I have yet to have a Clif bar though.

  19. Nick says:

    I haven’t tried the chocolate ones yet but I’ve been meaning to. I did however just try the peanut butter cookie larabar and was pleasantly surprised. I used the ingredients and nutrition facts to back-calculate the quantities of each and made my own version: The Peanut Butter Cookie Nickbar. I’m sure you can easily modify it to make the chocolate ones by adding either cocoa powder or dark chocolate chunks!

  20. Andrea says:

    aww i love nikki’s comment. you DO have really sweet eyes :)

    love the ‘bar exam’ and ‘college bar’ phrases with your titles. you definitely fooled me hehe