Abby Hocking / Food & Wine

The first bio nutrition bars are coming from Dean & Deluca. But how do they stack up?

August 18, 2017

Dean & Deluca, the go to spot to stock up on marcona almonds after yoga class (and also purveyors of some damn fine babka, along with a variety of other gourmet items), are out with their very first energy bars. The fine food grocer announced its Performance Bio Nutrition bars this week, which, while not on shelves just yet, were chosen as the official energy bar of the U.S. Open tennis tournament that begins later this month. D&D developed the bars with Alan Murchison, a multiple Michelin star winner from the U.K. for his work at restaurants like L’ortolan. And while Murchison certainly has a chef’s pedigree he has an athlete’s as well.  He founded Performance Chef, which helps athletes with meal planning and nutrition. He’s also been a national class long distance runner and cyclist. If you wanted a person to design a gourmet energy bar, it’s tough to imagine someone with a better resume to do it. But, the thing about energy bars is that they always tend to taste a little like…well…energy bars. From old school PowerBars that taste like someone ground up a multi-vitamin and rubbed it all over your Laffy Taffy to the smushed up granola of Cliff Bars to Luna Bars that do their best to mask their energy bar-ness with chocolate drizzle and yogurt coatings, it’s almost impossible not to notice you’re eating something primarily designed as fuel.

So, could Murchison pull off the impossible and create delicious energy bars? We sampled all the flavors (Turmeric & Ginger, Mekabu & Hazelnut, Manuka & Mango, Matcha & Espresso) to find out. The bars will be available starting August 28, in conjunction with the first day of the U.S. Open, but here are our rankings in order of how likely we would be to eat one before inevitably losing our opening round match.

1. Matcha & Espresso

Success! The Matcha & Espresso tastes like a very good granola bar, which is all anyone could ask out of an energy bar. However, immediately upon tasting it we wondered if these flavor names were based on keyword research rather than on the bars’ ingredients. While the bar has a pleasantly chewy texture and a sweet, delicious flavor, that flavor is blueberry, which appears on the ingredient list ahead of either matcha or cocoa nibs.

2. Mekabu & Hazelnut

We actually had to look up mekabu after eating this to figure out what it is. According to a release from Dean & Deluca, mekabu is, “a mineral rich bioactive wild seaweed from the pristine waters of Patagonia.” But you know what else it is? An expected savory addition the bar. Eating this provided a moment of clarity: Covering these things in chocolate and pretending they’re candy bars is a waste of time. Instead dump in as much Patagonian seaweed into them as possible. 

3. Manuka & Mango

Oof, this one was tough to chew. It was sort of like trying to make it through the world’s biggest Bit-O-Honey. The flavor, again, seems to have little to do with the name. But again, that’s not a bad thing. It tastes like peanut butter, which we are totally on board with.

4. Turmeric & Ginger

While it’s possible that the turmeric in this got all the inflammation out of our bodies, we’re not sure it was worth it. Turmeric & Ginger is the most reminiscent of the other energy bars out there. It’s a bit gritty and lacking in flavor, although it has a nice ginger kick at the end.

You can look for the bars starting August 28 at  Dean & Deluca’s five U.S. stores or on their website.