The independence to embrace your own style, the ability to stay up as late as you please, the permission to see how high a mound of laundry you can build before you pity it with a wash? Agreed. Overrated. But let me remind you of one great thing about being an adult as far as food goes: some items you used to detest as a child have now found a happy home on your adult palette. I’ve enjoyed welcoming the wave of matured taste buds and have adopted the motto “Will try anything once.” Powerful herbs like cilantro that can mesmerize any room of ingredients it steps into, now abound in my dishes whereas the sight of a green, odiferous plant years ago would have caused me to whine in protest.
As happy a celebration of age as this is, there are still The Evil Three lurking that I have yet to build a friendship with in my food life. They walk among us, tainting our food with their potency: olives, blue cheese and horseradish. Foodies everywhere please regain your composure and take a pump of your inhalers as I’m pretty sure that legally, the first two are somewhere in the lyrics of the official foodie anthem. To me though, all three are snobby ingredients that rarely play nice with others. Even dishes that others rave to contain such harmony with these ingredients play no music in my mouth. Unfortunately, too, once a dish has had one of them placed on the plate, there is no turning back. I can point out a salad that has had an olive on it hours after I have plucked it from it’s home. I’ve already decided that this will be my talent portion if I ever get selected to be in the Miss America Pageant.
(So I couldn’t find any last minute so this is my symbol for horseradish compliments of my roommate. After all, my mom has always called it “horsie sauce.” This nickname has failed to warm me up to the sauce itself and if anything, has succeeded in diminishing my appreciation of horses.)
The Evil 3 aside, I can excitedly point out one of the most enjoyable foods that I used to avoid that now brings me so much joy: coconut. Now whether this is attributed to a shift in pleasurable flavors by me or the fact that in the last two years every part of the coconut is now sold in every form (short of an authentic coconut hair coat) doesn’t matter to me, because it brought me one of the best bars a girl could ever ask for: Zing’s Chocolate Coconut Bar.
Zing makes the most decadent, chocolate laden protein bars that are dangerously addictive once the first bite has sunk in. Their chocolate coconut bar does not fully reveal its provocatively alluring scent until you break through the chocolate coating. Not too dense and not too thin, this coating is perfection in every way. Its top ripples in smooth waves and its bottom has the impression of little diamonds engraved in it as if it just stood up from a diamond-checkered beach chair after a long lay in velvety chocolate. You smell the exhilarating aroma of chocolate when you first tear the corner off that bold blue and black wrapper and wonder how can something so free of common allergens and protein-packed be so mischievous.
When you bite into your Zing and sink your teeth past the creamy chocolate, you get that glorious combination of soft chew and popping crispness that is so hard to master in an all natural protein bar. The brown rice crisps give you the resounding crunch you need to texturize the chewy and moist brown sugar colored center booming with coconutty sweetness. I still don’t fully enjoy the white snow flakes of coconut in savory ways nor do I enjoy it in all desserts, but as a pair with chocolate in this satisfyingly chewy treat, it’s moved to the top in the couples performance charts.
Packing protein and fiber in this treat makes this bar a candidate for every day use. Wherever I have gone for the last few months, I bring my Zing. (There is a jingle in there somewhere- dibs on the rights to that). Do yourself a favor and pack one of these to go to work or play this week. You’re welcome ahead of time.