*UPDATE: The Roady Road Quest Bar is here!

The review that follows was published on April 29, 2016 when the bar was available exclusively to Quest Lab members. The bar is now available to anyone with money, and can be purchased at Quest Nutrition’s website or in GNC stores as of November 1, 2016. The photos have been updated to showcase the official packaging. 

From Day One, Quest Nutrition’s mantra has been to offer “cheat meals without the cheating.” #CheatClean, in social media terms. A scan through Quest’s flavor options will reveal words like cookie, pie, brownie, muffin, and cheesecake. Quest was one of the first protein bar companies to tackle complex dessert flavors rather than just chocolate and all its derivatives. This is what drew me to Quest way back in 2013. But one mighty popular dessert has yet to be represented at all. Until now, that is. The dessert I’m talking about is ice cream, and the hero is the new Rocky Road Quest Bar.

Rocky Road Quest Bar

Rocky Road Quest Bar

A very brief history lesson on Rocky Road before we get our protein fix.

Did you know that the Rocky Road flavor combination – chocolate, chopped nuts, and marshmallow – was the brainchild of William Dreyer and Joseph Edy, the two founding fathers of the Dreyer’s/Edy’s brand we see on shelves today? I didn’t either, but Wikipedia sure as hell did. With wonderful creations like this, it’s no wonder the company has withstood the test of time.

But what’s with the name “Rocky Road?” The flavor was created circa 1929, and Dreyer/Edy wanted to give it a whimsical name to lighten the mood while the country struggled with The Great Depression. Whenever I’m depressed, any flavor of ice cream will get the job done as long as I get to eat the entire container without pants on.

But enough about ice cream. You came here because you’re a fitness buff and the closest thing you’ve had to ice cream in years is a fluff made out of protein powder and xanthan gum. You desperately miss chewing your dessert, if you even allow yourself any. Here’s hoping that the Rocky Road Quest Bar will capture the essence of the ice cream while simultaneously reminding you that your teeth actually serve a purpose.

Rocky Road Quest Bar

Rocky Road Quest Bar

The Rocky Road Quest Bar contains almonds, cocoa butter, cocoa, and sucralose. The base chocolate bar shares a lot of similarities with some of the other chocolate Quest Bars you’ve had. In terms of sweetness, the Rocky Road Quest Bar is somewhere between Chocolate Brownie Quest Bar (less sweet) and Double Chocolate Chunk Quest Bar (the sweetest). I begged for more sweetness to put me in a chocolate ice cream state-of-mind, but I found the cocoa too bitter to accomplish this.

Rocky Road Quest Bar

Rocky Road Quest Bar

The Rocky Road Quest Bar contains bits of almonds and some white chunks, but results are a mixed bag. The best bites are the ones where you get a solid-sized piece of almond; their flavor does emerge and combine effectively with the cocoa. Hitting an almond is critical for this bar to replicate Rocky Road in any capacity because the marshmallow element is entirely absent. The white chunks offer nothing close to marshmallow; they don’t taste like anything. They don’t even offer the added sweetness that I was begging for. It takes a lot for a seasoned marshmallow hater to admit he wanted more marshmallows, but show me a rocky road without marshmallows and I’ll show you a road to failure.

In summary, stick to the protein fluff. The Rocky Road Quest Bar isn’t going to make you think about the delicious ice cream flavor that lifted spirits during the Great Depression. If what you seek is a chocolate protein bar with almonds, this will get the job done. You should aim higher though… the Great Depression was the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in the history of the Western industrialized world. It took a lot more than some almonds to fix that shit.

Conjures Memories of the Great Depression Rating: 7.5 out of 10
How Many Of the Required Ingredients They Forgot to Use Rating: 3.33 out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 out of 10

Nutrition: 200 cals, 20g protein, 20g carbs, 10g fat, 13g fiber (soluble corn fiber), 1g sugar

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