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Top Pick Of The Week

July 22, 2008

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Bumble Bars

These sesame and flax seed bars are our new favorite guilt-free candy. Chunky Cherry and Original With Almonds, above, are two of the 12 flavors. Photography by Saidi Granados.

WHAT IT IS: Thin bars of healthy seeds and other ingredients that really satisfy a sweet tooth. Certified organic.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: It’s all seeds and better-for-you sweeteners plus (depending on flavor) nuts and dried fruits. While most of the ingredients are “health food,” the net effect is a pleasurable, healthy candy bar, not a more-indulgent energy bar.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This is the first grab-and-go “healthy sweet” for which we have no problem trading in our conventional chocolate and candy bars. It not only tastes great; the handsome packaging makes everyone curious as to what we have.
WHERE TO BUY IT: BumbleBar.com.
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Bumble Bar:
Organic, Healthy Candy Buzz

CAPSULE REPORT: What could be better than a healthy sweet treat that tastes great? That’s why we were buzzing when we recently discovered the Bumble Bar, handcrafted in microbatches in Spokane, Washington (just 154 bars are made per batch).

While not made with honey, they evoke a gourmet version of those sesame-honey candies—but they’re soft and pose no harm to dental work. They’re flat bars, the size of a chocolate bar, and you can devour one whole or break off a piece at a time. The sesame seeds and flax seeds provide much more than texture, flavor, lots of fiber and heart-healthy linolenic acid and omega-3s;* they require a lot of chewing, so the snack lasts longer. And, in the summer heat, the bars don’t melt like chocolate or go gooey like caramel.

*Flax seeds and walnuts have a significantly higher amount of alpha linolenic acid compared to other seeds and nuts. Linolenic acid is a plant-derived omega-3 fatty acid, similar to the omega-3 fatty acid found in salmon, which many studies show lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) levels.

While Bumble Bars call themselves energy bars, they don’t stack up nutritionally the way a Balance Bar, Clif Bar or Lara Bar will. Those bars have twice the protein and half the fat, for starters. Let other people call Bumble Bars energy bars; we’ll call it a confection—a healthy candy that gives satisfying pleasure, with energy as added value. In fact, the world’s first candies were seeds, nuts and fruits mixed with honey. Bumble Bars are descendants of those simple, whole foods. They’re gluten-free, wheat- and dairy-free and vegan, made of certified organic good stuff and sweetened with brown rice syrup and evaporated cane juice. And it’s not easy to tire of them, given 12 delicious flavors: Awesome Apricot, Chai With Almonds, Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Crisp, Chunky Cherry, Lushus Lemon, Original (peanut and cinnamon), Original with Almond, Original With Cashew, Original With Hazelnut, Original With Mixed Nuts and Tasty Tropical.

Read the buzz in the full review below, and stock up for camp, car trips, the gym—and healthy workplace snacks instead of what’s in the lobby concession or that infernal candy machine.

     
THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

 

More Sweet Ideas

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Bumble Bars: Organic, Healthy Candy Buzz

INDEX OF REVIEW

MORE TO DISCOVER

Introduction

The inspiration for Bumble Bars came to Liz Ward while hiking in the woods. Surrounded by beauty, she thought to create a healthy bar that would sustain her on hikes, that was also organic and vegan, and would thus help to sustain the planet. The first Bumble Bar was created in 1995, and has precipitated a socially conscious company that recycles everything and purchases as much as possible from farmer-owned co-ops that provide fair wages, education and medical benefits to worker families. Staff members even ride bicycles to work at the company’s Spokane headquarters.

While the name and packaging give a nod to the bee, there is no honey in bumble bars. The name and bumble bee image represent the company mission to support sustainable agriculture. Bees are needed to pollinate our food supply; organic agriculture keeps bee colonies healthy. (In light of today’s tragic hive collapse disorder, that’s especially prescient.)

Bumble Bars

Bumble Bar Ingredients

What’s in a Bumble Bar? First, all ingredients are organic, which means no pesticides, chemical preservatives, artificial colors, etc.

  • Each bar has flax seeds, which are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids.
  • It also has sesame seeds, which provide calcium and antioxidants including linolenic acid. Both flax seeds and sesame seeds are rich in fiber.
  • Organic evaporated cane syrup is sugar; the primary benefit over regular table sugar is that it is grown without the pesticides.
  • The other sweetener, brown rice syrup is, in fact, a healthier sweetener. Made from fermented brown rice, it is lower on the glycemic index than sugar and has been shown to have a positive effect on cholesterol levels, which may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The sweetness level is very low—a healthy sweetness.
  • There are nuts in most flavors. Nuts, along with the seeds, are high in fat, but these are heart-healthy fats.
  • Many flavors also have a bit of coconut tossed in, for texture and flavor.
  • Depending on the flavor, there are dried fruits.

Bumble Bar Flavors

Apricot and Hazelnut Bars
Awesome Apricot (top) and Original With Hazelnuts
Bumble Bars.

Awesome Apricot

Dried apricot, almonds and seeds with a bit of coconut. A sweet and tart mixture.

Chunky Cherry

Dried sweet cherries, almonds and a bit of coconut. One of the sweeter bars—although sweet a is relative term in this line. (Photo at top of page.)

Lushus Lemon

This bar has a very nice lemon and vanilla flavor—and no nuts. A favorite.

Tasty Tropical

As lovers of pineapple and coconut, this was our personal favorite. It has almonds and a bit more sweetness (thanks to the coconut) than most of the other bars.

 

The Nut Group

The astute reader will wonder why we call this “The Nut Group,” since all flavors contain nuts. The answer: because there are nuts in the titles (except for Original, which is implied).

Chai With Almonds

Lightly spiced, the cardamom, cinnamon and ginger blend is charming. There’s a dash of turmeric, which is exciting. And almonds, of course. A favorite.

Original

The original bar is a mix of peanuts, cinnamon and vanilla. If you don’t like peanuts, there are variations on this theme with other nuts.

Original with Almonds

Variation #1, with almonds.

Original With Cashews

Variation #2, with cashews.

Original With Hazelnuts

Variation #3, with hazelnuts.

Original With Mixed Nuts

Variation #4, combining almonds and cashews.

Original Cashew Bar
Original With Cashews (left) and Chai Almond Bumble Bars.

 

Chocolate Crisp - Original
Chocolate Crisp and Original Bumble Bars.

The Chocolate Group

For those who want a hint of chocolate, Bumble Bar offers:

Chocolate Cherry

A nice combination of sweet cherries with an undertone of chocolate. It contains almonds and a bit of coconut, but they’re in the background; the cherry and cocoa flavors dominate. Our favorite of this group. The chocolate is a non-dairy vegan chocolate, keeping with the vegan profile of this line—but it fits in just fine.

Chocolate Crisp

This flavor could use a little tweaking—it’s the driest of the 12 bars, and there’s no sensuous pop. Perhaps it’s the batch variation, but we’d add more sweetener.


Don’t be alarmed that you need to purchase boxes of 15—these will go quickly, especially if you share with friends.

— Karen Hochman

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to anyone who wants a healthy snack for oneself or family members.

BUMBLE BARS
12 Flavors Of Seed, Nut & Fruit Bars

USDA Certified Organic
Vegan

  • 1.6-Ounce Bars
    15-Bar Package (Single Flavor)
    $26.80
  • Variety Pack
    Basic, Nutty or Fruity
    15-Bar Package
    $28.00

Purchase online* at BumbleBar.com

*Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. THE NIBBLE does not sell products; these items are offered by a third party with whom we have no relationship. This link to purchase is provided as a reader convenience.

Bumble Bars



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