The first clue that these granola bars are something different is the sleek black packaging, which, unlike most other granola bars out there, is suited much more for your Kate Spade bag than your hiking pack (or your kid's lunch box).
The next thing I looked at (of course) was the nutritional information. Sometimes I think I'm obsessed with the Nutrition Facts label, but I guess there are worse things in life to be obsessed with.... So, how do these bars stack up? I'd give them a "B" in the snack food category. Each variety has 140 calories, 3.5-5 grams of total fat, 3 grams of fiber and no cholesterol or trans-fat. The higher than usual fiber and average 4:1 ratio of unsaturated to saturated fat makes it a pretty good choice in my book (worlds better than a candy bar or a lot of other "low calorie" granola bars, but not the best I've ever seen from a nutritional standpoint).
I know what you're thinking - fine, they've got some fiber and not too much fat, but do they taste like cardboard? No way! The taste is great! The first one I tried was the toasted coconut banana macadamia nut and at first I thought I was biting into freshly made banana bread. The banana flavor was perfect, the coconut and honey drizzled oats added just the right amount of sweetness and the macadamia nuts gave it a smooth, rich texture that really did make me feel like I was indulging.
The next day I tried the honey roasted cashew mixed berry. Again, it had just the right amount of sweetness, with the berries (cranberries and cherries) giving it a pleasantly surprising burst of flavor. Mr. ValleyWriter tried out the dark chocolate raspberry almond and declared that it was good, tasted natural and had no funny after taste. (For those of you who don't know Mr. ValleyWriter - that's a glowing recommendation!) Another thing we both noticed was the bars weren't teeny weeny in size like the ones I often buy for road trips. These are reasonably sized for an adult to eat 1 and be satisfied.
The pamphlet I got with the granola bars says that a box of 5 bars will retail for about $3.50. That works out to $.70 a bar, which may be more than some other granola bars, but is still cheaper than a candy bar and a lot of other on-the-go snacks. And if you go to Quaker's website, you can get a $1 off coupon, making it an even better deal. So go on - try 'em. You'll be impressed!