Panforte is a traditional and hearty Italian dessert made of fruits and nuts with a spicy flavor. A favorite at Christmastime, a variety of panforte types can be found year round, especially in Siena, the panforte capital of Italy. The Italians usually serve a small wedge along with coffee or dessert wine after a meal.
To celebrate Clif Bar's 20th year in business, founder and owner Gary Erickson decided to release a limited edition bar inspired by his earliest cycling adventures up and over the Passo di Gavia in Northern Italy. Created in the tradition of an 800 year-old recipe, one bite of the new Gary's Panforte Clif Bar will instantly transport you to sitting in your living room, watching the snow fall outside, while Bing Crosby's White Christmas plays on the radio.
When cycling in the Dolomites last year, we bought panforte at the local shop to eat after our rides or even sometimes on our rides as a high energy snack. My all time favorite was the chocolate covered panforte. The Gary's Panforte Clif Bar recipe comes a close second to eating the real thing from Italy (sadly minus the chocolate coating).
With big chunks of fruit and nuts, the bars are much lighter than the usual Clif Bar bricks you might be used to eating during your outdoor activities. The Gary's Panforte bar is a mix of oats, dates, figs, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pears, walnuts, and dried citrus peel, all wrapped up in a handful of spices.
When taking a bite, you are first hit with the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, coriander, and pepper spices, and instantly think of Christmas. You then taste the variety of fruit and nuts, finishing with the dried citrus peel. The bar offers a nice blend of crunchy and chewy in order to keep your mouth interested in eating more.
One thing to keep in mind, even with all those nuts, the Panforte bars have less than half the protein of a Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bar, with the same, if not more, amount of carbs. This means you will probably go through the 260 calories quicker than you are used to with regular Clif Bars. I started to bonk on one of my long rides as I was expecting the bar to last longer, so plan accordingly.
Bottom Line: I believe the Gary's Panforte Clif Bar eaters will either fall in the love or hate camp. If you devour your grandma's fruit cake each Christmas, you will love the new Panforte bars. If you are not a big fan of holiday spices, you might want to stick to your favorite Clif Bar flavor.
The limited edition Gary's Panforte Clif Bars will be available next week and remain until supplies last.