So I have to start with a confession. I’ve lived in the Vancouver area pretty much my whole life, but I’ve never been to Hornby Island. For those who don’t know, Hornby Island is a small island off of Denman Island (a slightly larger island off of Vancouver Island). To get there from the mainland, you have to get on a ferry to Vancouver Island, then take a ferry to Denman Island, and then a third and final ferry to Hornby Island. It’s quite the trip, but from what I’ve heard, is extremely rewarding once you get to Hornby Island. Quiet and beautiful, Hornby Island is home to only 1000 full-time residents.
Hornby Island is definitely on my bucket list of places to go.
But until then, I luckily have a much faster way to get my hands on these:
Healthy and indulgent? Could it be true? These delicious bars come from Hornby Island Energy Balls & Bars, a company that has been around on Hornby Island since 1993 and have now (thankfully) expanded into the Lower Mainland. Their bars come in 4 varieties: Carob, Sesame, Gourmet Sesame, and Tahini.
The carob bar reminds me of a fudgey chocolate oat bar. There is a nice light coating of coconut on the outside of the bar, which gives the bars a nice, light, coconutty aftertaste. The bar is also not overly sweet (it is sweetened with honey). I love that I can eat this bar and feel like it is an indulgence, but not really feel that guilty in the end. While the nutrition facts on the wrapper reveal that one Carob Bar packs 20 g of fat, the ingredients show a different picture with simple, wholesome, nutritious ingredients: Oats, Peanut Butter, Honey, Coconut and Carob. That’s it! So if you’re going for the Kate Moss look, you may want to only have half the bar, but the whole bar is perfect for on the run with the kiddos, road trips or long car rides, or when you hit that 3 o’clock wall.
After one bite of the carob, I was convinced that this was my favourite variety…until I tried the Gourmet Sesame! The Gourmet Sesame has a milder taste than I expected from a sesame bar, using the warm, nutty flavour of the sesame seeds to enhance, but not overpower. The part that really sold me though was the
drizzle stream river of chocolate that had been poured atop the Gourmet Sesame bar. While not a full, solid coating of the chocolate, the drizzle is thick and rich, and complements the sesame flavour perfectly. The only negative here is that since there is so much chocolate, you risk some melting happening on hot summer days. If you don’t mind licking the inside of the wrapper like I so shamelessly did, then this isn’t a problem at all. The Gourmet Sesame is made of Oats, Peanut Butter, Honey, Blackstrap Molasses, Skim Milk Powder, Sesame Seeds, and Dark Chocolate. Thank the molasses for this bar having 21% of our daily value of iron!
If you liked the sound of the Gourmet Sesame but don’t need all that chocolate, you could scrape off the chocolate and send it to me…or you could go for the Sesame variety. Less gourmet minus the chocolate, but that’s pretty much it! I feel like with this bar I appreciated the sesame seed coating much more (I kind of forgot about the sesame seeds with the Gourmet Sesame bar). Also, you can really notice the rich, nutty, oaty flavour throughout this sesame bar. Like the other varieties, the Sesame bar stands out as being appropriately sweet – tasting sweetened (with honey) but not sugary. Ingredients are all the same as in the Gourmet Sesame bar, just minus the Dark Chocolate.
The last bar was the bar that I was most nervous about. Tahini. I love tahini is a garlicky falafel wrap or in a delicious hummus, but I’m not so keen on tahini straight up. I know, I know, I can hear you talking to me through the screen. “Ritu! Tahini is SESAME! You said you loved the Gourmet Sesame bar!” Yes, tahini is sesame, but it doesn’t taste the same! Well, luckily I’m okay with being proven incorrect. Hornby Island Energy Bars, you have proven me wrong. No longer will I be afraid of anything tahini flavoured! The tahini bar was delicious. It carried a mild tahini flavour, was not overpoweringly sweet, and had that river of chocolate I loved on the Gourmet Sesame bars! I didn’t realize it until reading the ingredients, but there is cocoa powder and coconut in these bars as well, which probably help to lessen that tahini flavour, but was something I didn’t taste at first. The full list of ingredients for this bar are Oats, Organic Sesame Tahini, Honey, Cocoa Powder, Coconut, and Dark Chocolate.
All in all, the Hornby Island Energy Bar line was delicious and hearty. The family owned and operated company was able to take ingredients that we know and trust and make a simple, tasty treat. The bars are superior to other energy and granola bars as they are not too sweet and are grounded with a base of oats and peanut butter, making for a filling snack. Overall though, I think that their simplicity is what really sells the product to me. There are very few ingredients in their line up of energy bars and all of the bars manage to taste both homegrown and gourmet at the same time. You can find these bars at your local fine grocer’s (I discovered these at the local Choices) or you can buy them by the case online (a great deal and free shipping in Canada!).Disclosure: After trying these bars and loving them, Hornby Island Energy Bars provided me with complementary product to sample their full range of energy bars.