Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Oreo Banana Bar
One of the reasons a brand grows to become the pinnacle of its product type is that it manages to strike the majority of people as the best in show for its particular breed. When it comes to the chocolate sandwich cookie competition, most of the judges have voted the Oreo as top dog.
For me personally, I didn't grow up eating Oreos like most kids. As I've mentioned in other posts, we were too poor for the more expensive brand name products. We were too poor for the second rate sandwich cookie, Hydrox. No, we were stuck with the store brands which had bland, soft cookie exteriors and overly sweet, chalky interiors. Such was the "deprivation" of my youth.
It wasn't until I became an adult, and indeed, when I came to Japan, that I occasionally indulged in authentic Oreo cookies. Here, they come is small packages with about 18 cookies per bag. They're not available at all stores. Indeed, in my area, you're hard-pressed to find them when the craving hits. At any rate, the main selling point of the Oreo is that the cookie outside is just the right combination of crispy bitter chocolate cookie to pair up with the sweet evil of the creamy center. This is its strength.
The whole notion of Oreo candy bars and those flavored with fake fruit seems to fly in the face of the simple perfection of the sweet and bitter cookie combo. Nabisco can't resist trying though. After all, if you've got a popular brand, it's pretty much an obligation to exploit it. Hence, we have this dubious candy bar and a few of its siblings, the green tea Oreo and macadamia Oreo bars.
I should note that my husband wanted to buy this as part of his sampling of all of the banana-flavored sweets that are crowding the shops this year. We found this for about 130 yen (about $1.25) at an AM/PM convenience store. Needless to say, there are more banana food reviews to come in the future.
The bar smells strongly of fake banana flavor. This completely overwhelms any possible chocolate scent, if indeed there is any. The coating on this looks, feels and tastes like mockolate, but cocoa butter is the second ingredient so I'm guessing it's the real deal. The coating is relatively thin compared to the crumbly, crunchy interior mess. Though it is nice and crispy, the inside crumbles too much. It's as if the grains are highly compressed to hold the interior together rather than it being some sort of cohesive cookie center.
The taste is a little bit of the usual Oreo bitter cocoa cookie flavor mixed with super strong fake banana which oddly had a bit of a watermelon type finishing flavor. I think this was simply a byproduct of the chemicals used in the flavoring. Note that real banana flavoring is supposed to be a part of this so I could be saying "fake banana" when it's actually real. That being said, it tastes to me like some of the worst fake banana crap I've ever had.
The bar weighs 36.5 grams (about 1.3 oz.) and contains 199 calories. I ate just a smidge off the end and my husband ate about half of it and put the rest away for future consumption. He actually liked it. On a scale of 1-10, he gave it a 6 with 5 being an "average" candy bar eating experience. As for my rating, if he weren't going to eat it, I'd have simply thrown the rest away. I give it "unhappy" instead of "very unhappy" because I figure someone who loves banana flavored treats (like my husband) might find it more palatable than I did.