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Sitting the Bar Exam

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 Jocalatย 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 Chocolateย  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. Itโ€™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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

While weโ€™re on the subject of โ€œbadโ€ bars, I had to laugh when I saw the size of the new Luna Minis. ย 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 letโ€™s get back to the POSITIVE reviews, shall we?

Dark Chocolate Mocha Nectar: ย 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 thatโ€™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.

Published on September 20, 2008

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been โ€จfeatured on The โ€จToday Show, CNN, โ€จFox, The โ€จHuffington Post, and โ€จABC's 5 Oโ€™Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

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188 Comments

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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 ๐Ÿ˜›

    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. 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…

  5. talieworld says

    I really didn’t like the Jocolat choclate mint, but I’ll be sure to try out the other flavors. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I know the cliff nectars are great!

  6. Erin at caretoeat.net says

    Those Luna minis are a joke.
    I’ll commit to trying a Jocolat in your honor! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great Friday night!
    Love your sense of humor btw.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. Andrea says

    aww i love nikki’s comment. you DO have really sweet eyes ๐Ÿ™‚

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

  19. Brooke says

    thank you for the sweet comment katie!

    and like you, i’m always am carrying around some sort of snack bar to keep me energized throughout the day in between classes. so i always appreciate new reviews!

    i usually get the majority of my snack bars at trader joes (a bit cheaper than wf) and i know they carry the jocalat bars. i will make sure to stock up on a few next time im there! just curious, do you have a favorite larabar flavor?

  20. eatingbender says

    Yay! I’ve tried one Jocolat bar and was super impressed. I have some others in my pantry that need to be eaten when I get back to school. And I’ve tried the dark chocolate walnut Nectar bar and loved it, so I will definitely take you up on the raspberry one as well!

    Oh, and I’m totally with you on the Luna minis – blech! I just don’t like Luna bars for some reason. I think perhaps they taste the most fake.

  21. lighterportions says

    I’ve tried one of the Jocolat bars before, the chocolate mint one, way back. I was quite impressed, I should buy them more often, but I rarely see them so rarely have the opportunity to pick them up. And I don’t have access at all to Clif Nectar Bars. ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ It hurts me just a little.

  22. Lauren says

    Even though I am a fan of the Jocalat bars, and a big fan of chocolate, I just don’t like them as much as the regular Lara bars. I like the “cookie” ones the best. Peanut Butter cookie and Cashew cookie are my favs! YUM!

  23. vegannurse says

    I’m not really a huge fan of chocolate, so I’m a bit reluctant to try the Jocolat flavors.. but your review makes them sound so good, I JUST might try one in the future!

    My favorite bars would have to be Clifs and Larabars, too!

    My favorite Clif bar flavor is Maple Nut and Larabar is tied with Peanut Butter Cookie and Cashew Cookie.
    Oh, darn, now I want some right now.. :-p

  24. sweetpotato says

    I still love your photoshop pictures!

    I laughed when I saw your comparison of the luna bar minis to the clif nectar.. I had the same reaction! I know for sure that would be a horrid snack!

  25. vegalicious says

    I actually just tried a Zbar for the first time and didn’t care for it much. It surprised me, because regular Clif bars are good. BUT I’m dying to try a jocolat, thanks to you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Kiersten says

    Have you tried the OnTrack fruit bars yet? They are pretty good, and most of them are vegan. They remind me of the fruit roll-ups I used to eat when I was younger, but these actually have fruit in them.

  27. ClaudiaWR says

    I’ve totally seen that Jocolat around and have been itching to try it. You might have just pulled the plug on my vague resolution not to buy pre-packaged foods! I’m totally sold!

  28. Lauren says

    Great review–very thorough and helpful. I wrote about some of the same bars recently, but I haven’t tried the chocolate raspberry flavor; glad you mentioned it. I love chocolate and raspberry together! Did you ever try the Dr. Weil/Nature’s Path Chocolada Walnut bar? Very similar to the Jocalat and Nectar chocolate nut bars, except the Dr. Weil one also has coconut (though I can’t really taste it).

  29. Natalie says

    I have never tried the Larabar Jocalats but I got one today at Whole foods, as well as the Coconut Cream Larabar. I’ve never had the cacao Nectar bars, but I will have to try one next time I go to WF. My favorite Nectar bar is the Vanilla, Lemon, Cashew one – it’s so subtle and not too sweet – have you tried it?

  30. Monika says

    Entering the bar giveaway…thank you! And I would love to try the chocolate as you are chocolate covered after all ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Heather says

    the chocolate decadence sounds so yummy! i’m a college student so bars are definitely one of my top grocery list items!

  32. Jenna says

    I think that since I have never had any kind of bars like these that the Chocolate Decadence ones would be the best ones for me to try ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Karen says

    I would like to try the Chocolate Decadence Vibrancy Bar. I have actually tried the original flavor, and loved it!

  34. edayem says

    Katie~
    I’d like to try the chocolate decadence Vibrancy Bar. Maybe because I’m intrigued, but think I might need a wee bit of cocoa goodness to get past the pea protein? Thank you!

  35. erin says

    Love vega protien…so maybe I would enjoy the bars…can’t get them around here… would love to try the chocolate…or any.:)

  36. Karissa says

    Hello there Katie. Great blog! I’d love to try the chocolate decadence bar.. sounds good because of, well, the chocolate!

  37. Tiffany says

    Hmmm…trying something different sounds like fun, I would love to try green synergy! Although chocolate anything is always the best way to go ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Megan says

    I don’t eat a lot of bars. They are more like candy bars to me and never squelch my hunger. Most of the time they actually make it worse. But, if I must eat a bar, I am all about Lara bars. They are the only bars that don’t make me feel like I am on a sugar high. That said, I am always looking for a bar that can rival a Lara bar. I think the Chocolate Decadence bar sound really good.

  39. Ava says

    Oh I’d definitely like to try the chocolate flavor! Haha…I think I like cumin anyway, but maybe it’ll mask it?

    – Ava

  40. Monica says

    Any healthy chocolate bar sounds great in my book, so I would love to try the chocolate decadence flavor for sure (:

  41. melissa Lillie says

    Chocolate Vega bars would be fun to try…but yeah, you are not the first person I know to say they taste funny!

  42. Jordan says

    DEFINITELY chocolate decadence…mmm.

    P.S. Clif Nectar will always be my favorite bars….even if they’re being discontinued. :'(

  43. Cinnamon Feind says

    Entering giveaway #2 ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’d like to try the green synergy vibrancy bars. I love anything with lots of green in it. I’m one of those you mentioned on your post who like amazing grass bars ;).

    Thanks again for the great opportunitie, Katie!

  44. Cinnamon Feind says

    lol next time I should read more closely before getting excited and entering your giveaways. lol…errr…I entered both, but I left two comments. Sorry! I got really excited and didn’t read the instructutions all the way. Haha, taught me a lesson, huh?

  45. Gaby says

    I completely agree, energy bars have saved me on so many occasions! I always have a giant stock of them in the kitchen for business trips, classes, or even just going out with friends. Though my friends may not need to constantly refuel, I gotta look out for #1, right? I”d love to try Vega just because it seems so healthy! I was actually checking out the protein powders today but ended up getting something for less than half the price because I can’t afford Vega. I’d of course like to try chocolate, because chocolate is really good at masking “healthy” tastes, but the green synergy sounds exotic :p

  46. Alyson says

    Wow, the ingredient lists for these bars are crazy! I would love to find out what those combos taste like. The first sample would probably be of the Green Synergy variety, out of curiosity, but I bet Chocolate Decadence would end up being my favorite.

  47. Teresa says

    I’d love to try the green synergy bar most. Anything green I love- but in bar form (which I associate with sweet) it is quite intriguing. Thanks for this awesome giveaway! I’ve been wanting to try these bars since they were launched.

  48. rachael says

    I have tried and love the original and chocolate decadence, so I would be most interested in trying the green synergy since i haven’t had that one yet.

  49. Jamie says

    Zbars are amazing! I love the blueberry. I haven’t tried any of the others but I will! I would love to try the dark chocolate mocha nectar mmmmm : )

  50. Ashlei says

    I want to try the green synergy bars. I’ve been wanting to try the Vega bars for so long but can’t find them anywhere in stores, unfortunately.

  51. Vaala says

    Hmmm, I think I like the sound of the original flavour of the vibrancy bars. Is that boring? I guess I’m a bit chocolated out at present (yep, it’s possible!) and the green one sounds a little scary!

  52. Trail (Oven Aversion) says

    The Vega question is almost funny on a CHOCOLATE covered site! Of course I would be most excited to try the Chocolate Decadence bar!!! Plus who knows, chocolate and chili bars seem to be a big hit, so maybe chocolate and cumin have their place too? If I get to try them, I’ll let you know ๐Ÿ˜‰

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