[This review was written by Annsley Klehr, owner of Gluten Freedoms, LLC, a gluten-free consulting company.]
Ever wanted to take a banana on a trip with you, but before you make it a few feet out your door it was smashed and brown in your backpack? Nikk Ingersoll and Caue Suplicy have created the perfect hand-held banana snack – Barnana. Barnana is a small little nugget of dehydrated banana that can be popped in your mouth at any time without worry of spoilage (for 12-18 months, depending on which variety you’re eating). They are dehydrated to just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure a moist, raw, chewy texture while retaining its real fruit taste.
Conscious of how their bananas are grown, Ingersoll and Suplicy use two independent organic farms in Brazil and Ecuador before the barnanas comes to California for their packaging. Not only are they processed in a dedicated gluten-free facility, but they are also raw, organic, vegan, and kosher.
Suplicy grew up in Brazil where carrying bananas around made for a quickly perishable snack. In the 70’s and 80’s his dad engineered a homemade banana dehydrator so he could take the bananas on hikes and trips without worry of spoilage. It was a novel idea in Brazil and equally novel when Suplicy moved to the States.
Suplicy and Ingersoll met in the U.S., and together they created a large-scale version of this dehydration system: Barnanas! They come in two varieties: Purely Chewy Banana Bites and Chewy Chocolate Banana Bites.
I had a variety of people of all ages sample and give me opinions about both bites. When we first opened the bag we got a big surprise; we were expecting a banana chip color, but we found a coffee brown treat instead. That did not deter us!
The Chewy Banana Bites are just dehydrated banana dusted in organic banana powder to keep them from sticking. They were indeed chewy (but not too chewy like caramel) and moist with an intense banana flavor. The flavor is reminiscent of a ripe, spotted-brown banana (my favorite kind), or a banana bread-like flavor. My 3-year-old and her friend devoured half the bag while we were still focused on the taste of our first one. I think they are a perfect snack, especially if you’re on a gluten-free diet. However, if you’re someone who prefers a green banana flavor, than you’ll probably prefer the Chewy Chocolate Banana Bites.
The Chocolate Bites are dehydrated bananas covered in 60% organic cocoa chocolate. I LOVE chocolate and I LOVED these for a delicious snack. The chocolate complements the banana flavor, making it hard to decipher if you’re tasting the banana or the chocolate. We found the best way to enjoy these was to pop them in your mouth and enjoy the soft, smooth chocolate coating around the Barnana so as not to lose a bite of the crumbly chocolate. Some testers thought they might prefer a harder chocolate coating, but I like them just the way they are! Again, another big hit in our house.
Barnanas are the perfect on-the-go snack. We thought of some alternative uses for them:
A special thanks to Nikk Ingersoll at Barnana who kindly sent me samples and shared his story with me. Since Barnanas are new to the market, if they’re not in your Whole Foods yet, you can order online by visiting their website www.barnana.com or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.