Season 2, Episode 22: The Uncanny Pumpkin Valley

Season 2, Episode 22: The Uncanny Pumpkin Valley

If you’ve read my blog any time over the past 2 years, you know that I start each entry with a humorous reflection or fun fact to lead in to the day’s review. But today, I’m going to take a break from my usual routine to discuss something a little more serious.

As I sat down to try this product, I realized something: I haven’t had a Nature Valley Granola Bar in over 12 years. No, this is NOT an exaggeration. But there is a reason behind it. Growing up, I was very fortunate to have loving parents that packed me a lunch to take to school every day. They just so happened to pack these bars every day and I got tired of them.

But that’s not the case for everyone. Every day, over 13,000,000 (13 MILLION) children struggle with “food insecurity”, not knowing when or where their next meal will come from. To put this figure to scale, this is 1.5x the population of New York City, and greater than 46 states.

So while I goof off and taste test pumpkin spice products, I also realize how fortunate I am. And that’s why I give to organizations like No Kid Hungry, who work to close the food access gap for kids across America.

If you want to learn more about the work they do, click here! It’s easy to give and donations are tax-deductible!

Anyway, I hope I haven’t completely killed the vibe here. If you’re still reading, thank you.

Let’s get in to some pumpkin spice!

DAY 22: Nature Valley Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars

Item: Nature Valley Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars
Purchase Location: CVS

To elaborate on my 12 year gap I mentioned in the introduction: my parents packed me a school lunch daily, usually complimenting sandwiches with some kind of bar, chip, or cracker. While this was great, there was a period of like 2 years when it was always a Nature Valley Granola Bar. You know, the green ones. Seriously, every day. I ate them so often that I just got tired of them and took a break that has lasted until today.

But in the spirit of nostalgia, I decided to give these a shot… IF I could find them first.

I’ll be honest - it took me an embarrassingly long time to track these down. After going to three different grocery stores, Target, and Walmart, I was ready to give up on my search. But then something magical happened: While at CVS to pick up allergy meds, I spotted two boxes of these perched on a shelf. Naturally I sobbed, grabbed both, and went home to do this taste test.

Taking a peek at the ingredient list, I was so happy to find out that these contain real pumpkin. There is also a very suspiciously un-specific “Spice” listed here. Is this a real pumpkin spice? Why is it not listed out? I need answers, Nature Valley! Otherwise, there are no real surprises here.

Both the box and bars are adorably decorated with pumpkins in a very Fall-aesthetic color scheme. Opening up, I’m greeted with the very familiar two-bar offering that Nature Valley is known for. Honestly, this is one of my favorite things about these granola bars - they’re perfect for sharing. Sharing makes everything better.

The bars have a light orange tinge to it, most likely from the added pumpkin flakes. There is a nice, light aroma of pumpkin and pumpkin spices. I’m actually kind of surprised at how subtle it all was, considering some of the PS-flavored bars that I’ve tried before.

Biting in, the flavors of pumpkin/pumpkin spice don’t hit right away - I could mostly taste the regular granola flavors. But half-way through one of the bars, I began picking up the pumpkin spice and it was delicious. It is a really pleasant and warm flavor that hits nicely on all of the major notes.

The pumpkin gives a nice and mellow base, while the spices each shine through as you crunch your way through. I’m surprised by how much I liked this! The flavor was executed so well and I can’t find a way to pick on it!

But mostly, I thought I might still be sick of these bars. It looks like I’m over it and ready to add them back to my snack rotation.

Final rating: 5/5 Pumpkins

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