I recently came back from a family trip to Tennessee, where I enjoyed the beautiful fall colors – fiery red, bold orange, and luscious green. Living in South Florida there isn’t much feeling of the changing seasons, but when you head north it’s really a different world. I was thinking of creating a blog post about some of the things I saw there, including the very memorable “Rock City”, but decided against it since I want to keep my blog relatively focused on sweets, at least for the time being.
I looked through one of the local grocery stores ice cream sections there, but didn’t see much that caught my eye. There was a few brands that were new to me but most were sold in large one gallon containers, which typically aren’t in the class of ice cream I like. Some brands I was familiar with back home, such as Ben and Jerry’s, didn’t have too many unique flavors there either. That’s one of the disadvantages of globalization – wherever you go things are more or less the same. Of course, I didn’t do a thorough survey and had I checked out a few other stores I might have seen a wider selection and some more things I wanted to taste and review.
I did stop by a Ben and Jerry’s store which I may briefly review in another post, but for this post I’d like to focus on a sweet product I bought literally at the last minute. I picked it up in on a whim at one of the Nashville airport’s many gift shops.
The appearance of these little white balls is a bit surprising at first glance. They look like a homemade gum ball, so when you pop one in your mouth you might be thinking “is it really OK to eat this?” No worries though – as your teeth sink into the soft yogurt coating you soon realize this has little in common with a gum ball. The texture of the coating is not a perfect sphere (hence the “homemade” part), but rather lumpy, as if it was a Frankenstein made of a bunch of smaller pieces. Not the most appealing first impression, but as with most sweets the taste and texture are paramount over the appearance.
The yogurt coating is very much like that on your average granola bar, like Nature Valley’s yogurt bar, except there is a very strong mango flavor infused into it. To be honest I am not a big mango fan (which may have caused me to be extra sensitive to the flavor), but I can see this being delicious to mango lovers so I won’t count it against the product. There is a certain chewyness which reminds me of a protein bar (in a good way), probably because of soy protein isolate contained within.
The inner core of the balls is made up of granola, which has a pretty underwhelming crunch to it. I think a little more snap would improve the overall taste experience. As with the coating, I wasn’t too satisfied with the appearance of the granola portion. It was too mashed together without any visible granola pieces (oats) or other recognizable elements.
My biggest disappointment is that both the inner and outer portions look very different from the packaging illustration, where the granola oats are well-defined and coating is much smoother and even.
Because of my feelings towards mango I won’t say I’m eager to purchase this again, but both my wife and son really enjoyed these sweet, crunchy bites.
One pack contains roughly 36 bites, and a single serving is defined as 9 bites. In a serving there is 190 calories, 80 from fat, and 15 grams of sugars. Though far from being a diet product, these values are pretty reasonable. There is 3 grams of fiber and 5 of protein per serving.
Although there is a mild yogurt taste and actual yogurt is used in the ingredients, it isn’t enough for me to recommend this product for those looking to get the health benefits of yogurt. See another of my reviews where I talked about this here. From the ingredient list we can see there is a higher proportion of sugar, vegetable fat, and skim milk powder over yogurt. Same thing with mango – there is enough of it for a taste, but not enough to count as eating fruit for health reasons.
The ingredients used are generally healthy and natural, with the exception of “natural flavors” which is pretty common in products of this sort. I’m a little curious why they added soy protein isolate which could turn some people off from this (being a more heavily processed ingredient), but the extra protein and flavor is a plus for me. Sugar and fructose syrup aren’t my favorite ways to sweeten something up and ideally I’d prefer a less processed form like agave, but because there is still debate on which sugars are healthiest this is a very minor point. I wonder how the taste would change if they reduce thed amount of these sugars and upped the proportion of brown rice syrup and honey, which are already present. I’m guessing the current ratios were chosen mostly for cost reasons.
Full ingredient list: Greek yogurt coating [sugar, vegetable fat (shea butter, palm oil, palm kernel oil), skim milk powder, dried greek yogurt, soy lecithin, natural flavor, citric acid], oats, mango bit [fruit (mango puree, apple puree), sugar, fructose syrup, rice flour, vegetable fat, natural flavor, pectin, citric acid], soy protein isolate, honey, canola oil, chicory root extract, natural flavors, brown rice syrup, water, tapioca starch, calcium carbonate, gum acacia, probiotics: lactobacillus acidophilus.
I got this at the Nashville airport but according to their website it’s available at a variety of store chains, including Target and Winn-Dixie. I paid $5.99 but odds are this will be at least a dollar or two cheaper when purchased outside of an airport. For example, I saw this for around $4.00 on this site. I’ll give my numerical rating for price based on the latter since its not fair to the product to use the airport giftshop’s price.
Their website also supports direct purchase, which is nice.
I was a little annoyed the company’s website didn’t list this flavor, but that can be excused by the fact it is a relatively new product, at least according to the “New” label on the corner of the package.
Ratings: Flavor: 7.0 Nutrition/Ingredients: 7.0 Price: 8.0 Overall: 7.33
Although the appearance is not that attractive, I’d still recommend this product for anyone who likes mangos and yogurt coating. Granola lovers might want to stay away since the granola portion lacks a certain crispness and definition.