Plebeian as they may be, there's a reason Reese's, Snickers, Mounds, and 3 Musketeers are ubiquitous. They're pretty good. But we're all foodies here, so we assume there's always a better -- artisan or organic -- version of anything that everyday palates prefer. With the new Ocho line of candy bars, now there's an Organic upgrade for those Mars- and Hershey's- made bars.
Ocho bills themselves as "The Organic Candy Bar," and makes four bars a bit smaller than your typical Snickers. Bars come in four flavors, which don't overtly reference the mainstream bars we noted but do have distinct parallels in flavor and profile.
Here's our taste test:
Caramel & Peanuts
A milder, nicely balanced, less dense, and organic version of a Snickers bar. The nougat is there, the caramel, the peanuts. We'd love it if they salted the peanuts and tried a dark chocolate version.
Mild milk chocolate, with a modest graininess to the peanut butter and nice chunky peanut pieces. A slightly milder, higher touch version of the ubiquitous p.b. cup, but in bar form.
Thicker, richer, better bite of chocolate and a nice sweet, dense filling of coconut makes this a far better version of the one you want when you don't "feel like a nut." Bigger, denser, and more grown up than our childhood Mounds. Maybe it's because we're still trading out with the kids for Mounds on Halloween, but this is bar of the four that we found took its precedent classic confection forward the farthest.
It wasn't obvious from the name or description which bar this was paralleling, until first bite. It's a mocha 3 Musketeers. Smooth creamy, dense fluff with a light latte flavor. The filling is denser, but the mental and mouth picture come through Musketeer style.
Ocho was started by two "East Bay guys." Denis Ring, who ran the team that created the 365 brand for Whole Foods, and Scott Kucirek,who founded ZipRealty. "We're a couple of dads, " says Denis, "who kept asking why can't we just get good fun organic candy bars without all the weird ingredients?"
The bars are made in the Bay Area with chocolate processed in the East Bay, packaging made locally, coffee (for the Mocha bar) roasted locally, and design work done by an SF firm.
Not surprisingly, based on Denis's connections there, the bars are available at Whole Foods in the Bay Area for $2 each.