Trail Chef: Olympic Granola Bar Review

A healthy, hearty trail bar for big appetites

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Watch out, Bobo and Backcountry—there’s a new contender in the best-big-and-hearty-trail-bar contest. Olympic Granola’s line of delectable trail bars, coffeehouse bars, and sunshine bars (don’t get confused: They’re all hikeworthy) scored big in our latest office taste test.With an ingredient list that reads like a hippie health-food store inventory (rolled oats, rice bran, raisin juice concentrate, flax seeds) and unique flavors like turtle mocha, green tea zest, lemon chamomile, and mocha mint, Olympic’s bars stand out from the pack. Here’s what our testers had to say:

Office favorite: Lemon Chamomile Sunshine Bar

It’s real food! You can pronounce every ingredient. It’s got a moist, chewy, subtle lemon taste. It’s pretty high in calories (390), but good and very filling.

Yummy and fresh-tasting with the lemon. Kind of separates itself from the pack with that interesting flavor.

Lemon-burst! I love it.

Turtle Mocha Coffeehouse Bar

Tastes like a candy bar, or a fancy bakery item. Totally satisfies the chocolate craving, and the mint accents are delicious. Like having a brownie on the trail, but somehow feels healthier.

Espresso Almond Chocolate Coffeehouse Bar

I have problems with dense energy bars—something about swallowing a brick just doesn’t appeal to me. But despite looking like a chunk taken from the wall of an organic mortar-and-hay home, Olympic Granola’s Espresso Almond Coffeehouse Bar tasted splendid. Generous bits of rolled oats and nutty rice kept the bar crispy and light despite its density, and unlike a lot of coffee-ish energy bars, the espresso flavor seemed punchy and authentic. If you don’t have time for coffee and breakfast, this bar kills two birds with one stone.

Chocolate Peanut Trail Bar

Awesome! Tastes like something your backpacking grandma would bake for you—not like one of those boring, chemical-tasting energy bars. I tried to eat just half and save the rest for later, but I ended up snarfing the whole thing.

One caveat: At about 390 calories and almost 20 grams of fat per bar, these are much more suited for your entire breakfast, or a snack when you’re really famished. They’re small but dense, and fill you up fast. Look for ’em at your local health food store, or buy a box online. ($26 for a sampler box of eight bars; $50 for a box of 18)

—Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan