In this review, I didn't just try the Taqa Bars but plunged into the details of their production, and believe me when I tell you how everything is clean, clear, healthy, natural and handmade.
The tour started at the bakery where chef Rabih Hamzeh works in his closed-off heaven. What caught my attention is that no wheat is found in here. Five containers hold brown sugar, spelt flour, oat flour, ground brown sugar and almonds.
I had never imagined that a snack bar could be handmade. I thought, like chocolate bars, they were only manufactured at factories. Date and cashew nuts paste add flavor along with other flavors like pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds and coconuts. Orange blossom or rose water is also added for flavoring and everything is 100% natural.
It's a recovery and endurance bar including carbohydrates, fructose and mono saturated fat. Stored in a cool and dry place, the bars can last for 6 months and they sell for LBP3,000.
The Taqa Bar is handmade. The paste is fist prepared then weighed before being covered with nuts. After that, a mold like the one used for maamoul, holds one bar at a time. The bars are dehydrated in the oven for a couple of minutes before being wrapped, after which they look clean and neat at an international standard. Looking at them, you would feel as if you're grabbing a Cadbury bar. Coconut and lemon, almonds and blossom water, pistachio and rose water, the final one I experienced was hazelnut with chocolate and dried apricot. I tried them fresh, before they were baked and believe me they taste like heaven. You feel the freshness and richness of the products.
Taqa Bars make you feel good to go, with four delicious flavors to choose from: Almond Rose, Pistachio Orange Blossom, Coconut Lemon and Hazelnut Cocoa. Taqa Bars contain no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners, are GMO-free, and are made with wholesome and natural ingredients.
Let’s have a closer look:
- The dried fruits and nut energy bar: Wrapped in a pink paper, this bar has a strong aroma of rose water. Dates, cashews, spelt, almonds and rose water. A dry but flavorful bar, it has an addictive feeling. I couldn’t only taste the bar, but had to finish it entirely.
- The coconut and lemon dried fruits and nut bar: Dates, cashews, spelt, coconut and lemon. The yellow wrapping looks lighter, and the bar had the same full bodied texture, was a little moister and was topped with coconuts giving color and rich flavor. I enjoyed the lemony after note.
- Hazelnut cocoa, dried fruits bar: This is a brown-wrapped bar, filled with dried apricots, cashews, spelt, raw cocoaand hazelnuts. Like the others, same consistency and same shape, this bar is a bit dry, filled with nuts that dominate the other ingredients, but offers a gentle cocoa after note. What I noticed is that these bars are tastier before they are cooked, but that is understandable. They have to be dried to last.
- Pistachio, orange blossom, dried fruits and nuts: Dates, cashews, orange blossom and pistachio. That's the best of all. A flavor that’s very close to the spirit of Tripoli, offering a flavor like Lebanese sweets. I felt like I was eating a piece of maamoul. I liked this one.
The only minus is that they are a bit dry; Could anything be done to improve that?
These bars are tasty and most importantly full of energy. Support local producers especially if they are as good as these ones… As for me, my new strategy would be to start give these bars to my kids as snacks, instead of the unhealthy synthetic chocolate bars.