Monday, May 25, 2009

Trader Joe's Apricot Dried Fruit Bar

Fruit leather is one of my work snack staples. I had a stash of Matt's Munchies fruit leather, which I have since gone through. But my local go-to brand is Trader Joe's.

While not organic, Trader Joe's fruit leathers are unsweetened and come in a huge variety of flavors.

The package contains two nori-like strips of leather that are roughly the thickness of a U.S. quarter.

The color is a rich shade of chocolate brown. The leather has a great texture. It's got enough tooth to it that it bites off in a clean snap, but there is still enough moisture from the fruit that it becomes juicy in your mouth rather than dry or gummy.

I normally love apricot anything (in fact, there are fresh apricots on my counter as we speak), and as much as I like the texture of these bars, it's the taste that I have a hard time with.

Have you ever smelled Demeter's "Dirt" fragrance? Well, this fruit leather tastes exactly the way that smells. (Now don't get me wrong -- I absolutely LOVE that scent, and I in fact do own and wear it.) It's a rich, earthy taste that's slightly grassy, vaguely herbal, salty and watery all at once. Imagine a very rich, very fertile potting soil and you'll get the idea. But while that makes for a wonderful scent, I'm not sure it's the best thing to taste. And somewhere in there, it's like the whole thing was kissed by a perfectly ripe apricot. (Well, more like platonic peck-on-the-cheek rather than a passionate tongue-down-the-throat type of kiss.) The apricot flavor is there, but just barely. I have to be honest, I prefer my apricots to simply be sweet and kind of peachy.

From a foodie standpoint, this fruit leather is clearly superior to the sugar-and-chemical laden stuff aimed at kids that tastes more like candy than fruit. Nonetheless, I would actually prefer that "fake" kind over this one.

It's difficult to rate this, because while it is clearly a better, healthier product than the highly processed kind, in the end I am drawing the line at taste alone.

Trader Joe's

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