Tuesday, April 12, 2016

High-Quality Granola? Solid Gold Bars Ginger Cacao! Are Candy For Hippies!

The Good: Flavorful, Soft, Easy to eat, Intriguing
The Bad: Expensive! Not overly complicated or interesting in their flavoring, No cacao taste
The Basics: Solid Gold Bars Ginger Cacao! Bars are a well-made, comparatively healthy, somewhat-sweet snack marketed toward the fair-trade, healthy-eating, food co-op crowd . . . and they generally succeed.

Yesterday, as part of our anniversary celebration, my wife sent me to a concert. My favorite musical artist, Heather Nova, is finally touring in the United States again and given that one of her performances was only three hours away on the day after our seven year anniversary, my wife bought me a ticket to the show. Those who read my many reviews know that we have a Siberian Husky and three cats, so it's difficult for my wife and I to go for trips. So, my wife sent me on my own and when I grabbed my notepad to take notes on the concert, she suggested that I go and simply enjoy the concert and not worry about reviewing it. I did that - which was pretty awesome given that my favorite musical artist actually performed, for me, my favorite song by her! - but when I was waiting for the concert to begin, I went to a local tea shop and I found something that was instantly intriguing to me. I had never before seen the Solid Gold Bars Ginger Cacao! bars and that was what I found and bought to enjoy and review to commemorate my anniversary trip!

The Ginger Cacao! bar is essentially a granola bar (which fits the setting in which I purchased it!), not a candy bar, like I thought it might be. Solid Gold Bars Ginger Cacao! bars are interesting and surprisingly filling, but not at all a flavor embodiment of anything resembling cacao/chocolate. So, it lives up to half of its name and, for the price, that is a bit of a letdown.


Solid Gold Bars are a locally-owned business in Ann Arbor, Michigan (which is where I was for the concert!). The granola bars are a high-end granola that is sold at places like tea houses and natural eateries. The packaging is reminiscent of Jones Soda in that each bar is wrapped in paper and the packaging is black and white and simple, as opposed to trading on any form of flash.

The Ginger Cacao! Bars have no weight on them, nor any nutritional information. Presumably, each bar represents a single serving for each 1 3/4” wide by 4” long by 3/4" thick granola bar. Each bar is soft and nutty, reminiscent of oatmeal that is prepared with too little water, so it is thicker and slightly gooey.

Ease Of Preparation

Eating Solid Gold Bars Ginger Cacao! Bars is not a real challenge. After removing the wrapper, simply pull apart the bar and stick it in your mouth or bite right into it. There is no particularly complicated equation to eating this granola bar. This is an entirely ready-to-eat food! These Solid Gold Bars come with the recommendation to refrigerate them.


Unwrapping the Ginger Cacao! bar, I was overwhelmed by the aroma. These Solid Gold Bars smell exactly like freeze-dried edamame snacks my wife has around the house. They two snacks share no identical ingredients, but the aromas are perfectly aligned. For a slightly more common analogy, the Ginger Cacao! bar smells like dried Wasabi Peas . . . without the ultimate sharp spiciness of the wasabi.

On the tongue, the Ginger Cacao! bar is soft and dominated by the flavors of honey and ginger. The bar tastes like oatmeal with an initial dryness that dissipates to the sharper, drier, flavor of ginger. The ginger's bitter spiciness is, in turn, muted by the honey and oats. The result is a very grainy granola bar that does not taste unsatisfying, but it not overly impressive or thrilling. The honey is not so sweet as to overwhelm and the ginger is not so prevalent as to make the granola bitter.

While the net result of the bar is not a dry, granola - it tastes much more like oatmeal! - the aftertaste from the Ginger Cacao! bar is an intensely dry flavor that lingers in the mouth for a good five minutes after the last of it is consumed.


Solid Gold Bars chocolates are intended as a snack or dessert product, but they should not be used to replace meals! These granola bars represents a single serving and those looking for nutrition will have to inquire from the company; the labels devote space to reminding consumers that the Ginger Cacao! bars were made by a real live human being, but does not have space for a nutritional analysis.

Made primarily of organic rolled oats, fair trade organic cacao nibs (where?!) and organic crystallized ginger, there is nothing unpronounceable in the ingredient list. This is an entirely-natural food product and these Solid Gold Bars bars were produced on equipment that forces them to add a disclaimer about potentially containing tree nuts, peanuts, and soy.


As a granola bar, Solid Gold Bars Ginger Cacao! Bars are fine as long as they are refrigerated. Stored that way, the one I bought yesterday would have lasted until June 5, 2016. I ate it right up, though. These do not stain or stick to anything.


Whenever I consider a food that was developed for a niche market, I find myself a little conflicted and that is where I am on the Solid Gold Bars Ginger Cacao! Bars. These bars taste good, but they are tremendously expensive for what they are. They have a comparatively short shelf life and they are not bursting with the full range of promised flavor. That said, the market they are targeting tends to be willing to spend more money for less flavor, especially when they approve of the ethics of the manufacturer. I certainly agree with the latter, but I also like the dry coffee bean/chocolate flavor embodied by cacao and I like even my granola bars to live up to all the flavor the name promises. While the Solid Gold Bars Ginge Cacao! have enough ginger to justify that, the cacao flavor did not come through in a single bite I had, making it a bit of a letdown for me.

For other reviews of products with ginger, please check out:
Maine Root Ginger Brew Soda
Sartori Citrus Ginger BellaVitano cheese
Bigelow Ginger Snappish Tea


For other food and drink reviews, please visit my Food Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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