Mood foods have redesigned, rebranded and re-invented their range of Ombars, one of which I reviewed last year. The 2010 models are completely different though, with the cocoa content up to 60%, and a new sweetening agent in the mix.
Mood Foods have gone for coconut sugar as their choice of sweetener, which is something of a novel choice. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the various fruit sugar alcohols (malitol and xylitol for example) and the move towards agave syrup as a more natural sweetener.
Well coconut sugar is (according to the blurb on the wrapper) recognised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation as the most sustainable form of sugar in the world. Mood Foods also chose it for its soft caramel taste. It’s not a raw food but does have a very low glycemic index, and according to Ghandi (yes, that Gandhi) “It is a way to solve the world’s poverty. It is also an antidote against misery.”
Maybe Butler’s – ‘Purveyors of Happiness’ – should look into it?
So our new and improved Ombars have new packaging. They also have new ingredients, and a new look. The bars are much simpler in design and in the case of the ‘fruity’ ones at least, the chocolate is infused with the fruit ingredients. I had the new Acai and Blueberry bar, a Goji berry bar, and a Cranberry and Mandarin bar.
My original review was of the Acai and Blueberry bar, and I have to say that this bar is still very much about the berries. Lovely sharp citrus flavours from the combination of blueberry and acai hit you at once, with the raw cocoa sitting underneath the fruity explosion. If you want to taste the raw chocolate and coconut sugar, then this isn’t necessarily the bar for you. The berries win every time – not unpleasantly so, but the chocolate is a definite second fiddle.
The Cranberry and Mandarin bar (not pictured) is a different story. The dryness of cranberries sits well with the soft, subtle citrus flavours of mandarin, allowing the dark cocoa flavours to join in the mix. As the raw chocolate melts, the combination of the two fruits is allowed to develop in tandem with the cocoa, delivering a well balanced mouthful. Being raw chocolate, it melts quickly and leaves ther palate clean and refreshed. I found this one particularly enjoyable.
The Goji berry bar actually had a couple of the berries floating around in it, which came as a surprise. Like the Cranberry and Mandarin bar, the flavours here were much more muted and allowed the chocolate room for expression, as it were. The Goji berries were there as a subtle fruit hint rather than a kick, adding a little tang to the chocolate but never overpowering.
Of the three I’d have to say that I liked the acai and Blueberry the least, and that’s only because the berries were just so, well, there. The chocolate came second to the other ingredients, and that’s not really what chocolate bars shoiuld be about. Of the other two, I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite. Both have excellently balanced fruit/chocolate elements, and with the only difference being the fruit part, it would have to come down to personal preferences.
The Ombar people are also a little nervous – some of the blurb on the inside of the wrapper is a request for feedback, so if you do buy one, be sure to let them know what you think.