When I started accumulating empty muesli bar wrappers on the kitchen bench I thought that I owed James an explanation. I told him that they were for a review for Hoglet K and asked him if he thought it was a good idea. He said that he thought the only other media outlet that reviewed muesli bars was Choice magazine. I think he was sending me up. I continued with the review anyway because I think I’ve found a situation where tastier option also seems to be healthier.
The reason I was so interested in the advent of a new line of muesli bars was because they’re made from my favourite muesli. Brookfarm makes the most beautiful gluten free macadamia muesli. It’s delightful, but it’s expensive, so you can’t eat it every day. I was very excited to see an advertisement for a muesli bar by the same company. Muesli bars are different to muesli. They’re not an everyday food for me, but a treat for bushwalks when I need a high energy snack. This, I reasoned, could be an occasion when I could justify eating my favourite muesli.
Not every retailer includes the Brookfarm bar in their snack selection. In fact they’re quite hard to get. I finally managed to find them at Quirk’s Grocer in Redfern. This is a great little coffee shop and grocer which stocks a lot of gluten free goodies as well as regular ones. I go there most weeks to buy my Deeks bread because it’s one of the few stockists in Sydney. Quirk’s also stocks Yalla dips, Aussie olive oil and Herbies spices. The cafe section features sandwiches and pies, gluten free quiches and moussaka, and a selection of sweet treats which include gluten free options. The coffee must be good too since there’s often a queue in the morning.
With my Brookfarm bar safely stashed I needed another bar to compare it to. Fortunately my Bushwalking Aunt had a couple of Wallaby bars that she’d saved for me because they were gluten free. Actually I think they’d passed through some kind of amazing friend of a friend network before they found me, but I won’t attempt to explain that one.
Like the Brookfarm bar, the Wallaby bar is an Australian brand, which is a good thing in my book. In fact both bars are labelled Product of Australia. The two bars I chose also have macadamias in common. I had the Cranberry and Macadamia Brookfarm bar and the Macadamia and Cashew Wallaby bar. The taste and texture of the two bars is quite different though. The Brookfarm bar is very crunchy with lots of pyramid shaped buckwheat kernels. Unfortunately this also makes it rather crumbly, so it’s hard to eat on the go. The Wallaby bar on the other hand is well stuck together and has a softer texture because it’s made of puffed rice.
The Brookfarm bar was the winner on taste for me. I loved the crunchy texture and the pieces of dried fruit. You do have to pay more for them though. The Wallaby Bar is $2.16 (according to Coles online), while the Brookfarm Bar was $3 from Quirk’s (and isn’t available from Coles). This means that the Brookfarm bar is harder to find as well as more expensive.
Finally I’ve combined the nutritional information from the two packages for comparison. Since the two bars have different weights I’ve shown the nutrient values per 100 g. Interestingly the Brookfarm bar is much lower in fat and sodium than the Wallaby bar and much higher in dietary fibre. I’m very pleased that the bar I liked better seems to be the healthier option too. It’s a shame they’re so hard to come by.
I think I’d be happy to take either bar on a bushwalk which is great because having different varieties to choose from stops you getting bored. The Brookfarm bar feels like more of a treat though.
Comparing the Wallaby Bar with the Brookfarm Bar (nutrients per 100 g)
|Wallaby Bar (40 g)||Brookfarm Bar (35 g)|
|Energy||2087 kj||1860 kj|
|Protein||12.2 g||11.7 g|
|Total Fat||33.5 g||17.4 g|
|Saturated Fat||7.7 g||3.0 g||Polyunsaturated Fat||3.3 g||3.2 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat||22.5 g||11.2 g|
|Carbohydrate Total||52.3 g||48.5 g|
|Sugars||17.2 g||20.9 g||Dietary Fibre||8.7 g||12.1 g|
|Sodium||107 mg||6.7 mg|