Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vere: Banana & Macadamia Nut

This bar was bequeathed to me by my friend Molly of All or Nothing Thinking. It was purchased at Integral Yoga Institute's natural foods store in the West Village. In case you can't read the little label sticker, it says "buy a bar get this one free" -- THANKS A LOT. But seriously, I was highly intrigued to receive a bar the make of which I had yet to encounter. And furthermore -- banana? macadamia nut? Be still my heart. This bar had a lot going on:

Vere: Banana & Macadamia Nut
Cocoa content: 75%
Notable ingredients: bananas, macadamia nuts
Origin: Ecuador

This is the first bar that, as far as I've noticed, bills itself as vegan in the nutritional information. Soy lecithin is an ingredient, and I'm pretty sure I've seen that in other bars that didn't call themselves vegan before. I'm not sure if this bar is any different from other bars that I've had that contain soy lecithin but don't call themselves vegan, so I won't attribute any of its missteps to that label. Not that there's anything wrong with veganism, but I think most of us can agree that vegan confections often leave something to be desired.

I'm not sure why banana seemed so great to me as an ingredient. Upon actually eating this bar, I realized that it's the texture of the banana that so lends itself to chocolate -- not as much the flavor, although that works too. But when the flavor is totally separated from the texture, and as subtly represented as it is here, the usually winning companionship doesn't really do it for me. And the macadamia nuts -- where were they? I can't stand bars that have pulverized the mix-ins so much that they don't interrupt the consistency of the blend. I like things with mass -- chunks, slivers, halves, wholes, drops, crumbs, slices -- I like those things.

But my real qualms with the bar are twofold: the texture is heavily aerated, almost crackly upon biting, which leaves it with no real snap to speak of. And the taste confirmed my fears about many single origin bars: that they will be too bitter, too acidic, really too showy and authentic to actually be enjoyable. This bar could have used some better conching and -- hey, how about a banana chip or three? 

Although I acknowledge with curiosity that at least two people who have tasted this bar thought it was excellent, I can't betray my heart. I give it a C-.


  1. As one of the aforementioned champions of this bar, I'd like to throw in my two cents:

    I sometimes think of chocolate in the same way I think about coffee. Not a huge departure I think (aside from the mix-ins, duh). But with that comparison in mind, I think I can defend the acidity or darker flavoring. Sometimes bitter is better, especially in my opinion, when balanced with the lighter, less snappy texture. I found myself challenged with the flavor of this chocolate, and the subtle addition of the smooth banana taste softened the dark bite.

  2. I would like to suggest the Violet Crumble, which was a particular favorite of mine when I was in London. It holds no pretensions of being a serious chocolate bar, but then, neither do I. I would also like to remind you that the Kinder Bueno was first discovered in the Robinson family by UB when we were all in Ireland--make sure the KB celebrates your return to the land. In honor of your departure, I included a PB&J bar in my latest Fresh Direct order. I will eat it and think of you. xoxoxoxoxox

  3. The mint and cacao bar by the same brand is actually to die for.

    Fun fact: The founder of Vere (who works out of a factory in Chelsea)also was the founder of Hue, that company that makes groovy socks and leg wear. You know what I'm talking about?

    What can you say about chocs you've known in Deutschland? Rittersport as far as the eye can see...