It’s time to Rise (Bar) to the occasion.

Back in September, I contacted Rise Bar to see if the company might be interested in sending me product samples to review. Rise Bar makes a variety of organic, gluten free, soy free, peanut free nutrition bars, ya know, the type where you can pronounce every ingredient (I know I’m bragging, but I’m a bit of a whiz at finding these kinds of bars). I’d been especially interested in trying the various Rise Bars because one ingredient in particular stood out to me: amaranth.

Amaranth is an ancient grain (really a seed) that is high in protein and the amino acid lysine and – most acutely important to me – gluten free. This is the first bar I’ve seen with the grain, so I thought it could be a good way to mix up my hiking diet.

Rise Bar graciously agreed to send me samples, but I never received the package. I live in an old apartment building that requires a key to enter and most certainly does not have a doorman to accept packages. Unfortunately, that means that FedEx has been known to provide abysmal service. In the past, I’ve found packages left in the bushes, in the basement by the water heater, anywhere really except by the mail slots. And there’s a high school around the corner, so likelihood of sticky fingers is decently high (sad truth).

Alas.

When I touched base with Rise Bar, the company was very apologetic that the package never made it to me and generously offered to try again. The second time around, I was sent the package under lock and key. FedEx informed me that I would have to be present for the delivery in order to sign (sigh). Luckily, I was able to route the package to be held at the nearby FedEx/Kinko’s location.

I went to pick up the package, and when I got to the counter, I was required to do a cornea scan, get my fingerprints taken, and calculate the hypotenuse of a triangle. OK, not really. I just had to provide my ID, and I went on my merry way.

My blood type is O+. The lady at FedEx/ Kinko's knows, so I figured I'd tell you too.

My blood type is O+. The lady at FedEx/ Kinko’s knows, so I figured I’d tell you too.

When I got home and opened up the package, I was excited to find two cases of Rise Bars, one each of the Breakfast and Energy+ varieties. I also found in the package a $1.00 off coupon. “I can’t in good conscience talk about this product on my blog without trying the bars,” I thought. So, I went to my local Whole Foods, coupon in hand, and grabbed a Crunchy Honey Walnut Breakfast bar and a Blueberry Coconut Energy+ Bar.

It doesn't take much. 1. I'm a sucker for coupons. 2. I couldn't try one of the bars they gave me. Those are for my trek!

It doesn’t take much. 1. I’m a sucker for coupons. 2. I couldn’t try one of the bars they gave me. Those are for my trek!

The Crunchy Honey Walnut’s ingredients include dates, walnuts, honey, raisins, crisp rice, organic amaranth, and salt. Honestly, even though it’s very visible when looking at the bar, the amaranth just kind of disappears, so it’s not a benefit or detriment to the experience. Besides that, with a texture that breaks instead of bends and a flavor heavy on the walnuts, I can totally see why the company markets this Breakfast bar as such. It’s not too sweet and definitely fits the bill for a morning flavor palate.

Isn't it a little redundant if all of the Breakfast bar titles include "Crunchy"? I'm just sayin'...

Isn’t it a little redundant if all of the Breakfast bar titles include “Crunchy”? I’m just sayin’…

To be clear, it's not crumbly, but it does break. So many big chunks of walnuts.

To be clear, it’s not crumbly, but it does break. So many big chunks of walnuts.

The Blueberry Coconut, on the other hand, was like eating a dessert. Its ingredients include almonds, coconut, dates, tapioca syrup, brown rice syrup, blueberries, raisins, amaranth, and sea salt. The texture was soft and chewy, and this Energy+ bar packed a flavorful punch. I couldn’t decide if the bar tasted of macaroons or a Mounds bar (i.e. heavy on the coconut). Suffice it to say, it was a sweet treat.

I'm sure there were blueberries in there, but it was hard to tell because the coconut was acting like an attention-seeking older sister (not that I'd know what that's like or anything).

I’m sure there were blueberries in there, but it was hard to tell because the coconut was acting like an attention-seeking older sister (not that I’d know how the blueberry feels or anything).

Shmooshable. Also, all those speckles are seeds of amaranth.

Shmooshable. Also, all those speckles are seeds of amaranth.

Among the two cases of 12 bars each, Rise Bar included ten different flavors including:

(Crunchy) Breakfast Bars:

  • honey walnut (calories 160, protein 4g)
  • cranberry apple (calories 160, protein 3g)
  • macadamia pineapple (calories 160, protein 2g)
  • perfect pumpkin (calories 190, protein 7g)
  • cashew almond (calories 180, protein 5g)

Energy+ Bars:

  • blueberry coconut (calories 190, protein 3g)
  • raspberry pomegranate (calories 200, protein 3g)
  • apricot goji (calories 190, protein 5g)
  • coconut acai (calories 210, protein 4g)
  • cherry almond (calories 200, protein 5g)

It’s such an eclectic variety of flavors. I especially love the different (and uncommon) nuts and seeds used in the Breakfast bars (macadamia nuts?! pumpkin seeds?!). And don’t even get me started talking about the three different Energy+ bars with coconut (I go gaga over coconut!).

FYI, a case of 12 Crunchy Breakfast bars is available from $17 on Amazon’s website, and a case of 12 Energy+ bars is available from $21.50.

You know how I’ve said that I’m going to eat oatmeal and hemp seed every day on the trail, and I have enough rice to last me three meals a day if I wanted, nonetheless my heartfelt commitment to beef jerky and dried fruit? I’m sure that some of you out there have scratched your head at me and think I’m going to have the most predictable, boring trail diet ever (don’t pretend you haven’t!).

Well, I tell ya what, I get my kicks in smaller ways. Having tried two of the ten varieties of Rise Bars, I’m super excited to sample the rest. I think I’ll even tell my mom to arbitrarily grab a variety when she’s packing my mail drops. That way it’ll be a total surprise. Yeah, I know: I’m wild and cuh-razy.

Meandering on,

Jordana

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