Over the years, I have had my share of weird jobs.
Whistler hosts the World Ski and Snowboard Festival every April. In addition to ski and snowboard stuff, there are also ample opportunities to walk the Village Stroll and pick up free samples.
Being a sample person can be a relatively fun gig. It typically pays well and is very easy, so one year, I replied to a Craigslist advert seeking outgoing people who wanted to hand out samples. Samples of, what, I wasn’t sure, but I applied and got hired.
It turns out that my job for 10 days would be handing out samples of fish sticks. High Liner fillets and nuggets, to be specific. Being the fish stick girl is not very glamorous, but I actually didn’t mind it – it turns out that many people love free fish sticks, and they love you for giving them free fish sticks. I felt quite popular, despite the fact that I smelled of fried fish.
One of my fellow co-fish-stick-hander-outers was somewhat of a regular on the promo circuit. At a past event, he had been the CLIF bar guy (arguably a more prestigious gig than being the fish stick guy), and he had worked with some of the girls who were currently manning the CLIF bar booth at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival. An alliance was formed, whereby we would drop off piping hot fish samples to the CLIF ladies, who would return the favour by trading us some CLIF Builder bars.
Those Builder bars got me through some long days (because there are only so many fish sticks one can eat). I took a penchant for the mint chocolate ones, which reminded me of my beloved Peppermint Hot Chocolate in a red Starbucks cup. A Christmas CLIF bar, if you will.
So, imagine my delight when I found out that there are actually seasonal CLIF bars in special flavours for the winter season! I received an email asking if I would like to try some of these flavours. Of course, the answer was YES.
As if sampling seasonal CLIF bars wasn’t good enough, I was also sent CLIF gear to don while sampling the bars. Just the best.
Okay, let’s talk flavours.
First up: Iced Gingerbread. The “iced” refers to the fact there there is a drizzle of icing on the CLIF bar. I didn’t tell Cedric the name of the flavours because I didn’t want to influence his comments on the bar (I take my tastings very seriously. I once hosted a chocolate beauty pageant, where we sampled chocolate from a dozen different countries before picking the winning chocolate). I thought it was curious that Cedric thought this one tasted like “pumpkin spice, or a chai latte” (direct quote).
Curious indeed – I, too, felt like the gingerbread had some autumny, pumpkin and cinnamon undertones. I liked it. It tastes more spice-y than the usual CLIF bar (as in, spices like nutmeg and cinnamon and cloves, not hot peppers) and packs a flavourful punch.
Next: Spiced Pumpkin Pie (which also has an icing drizzle, despite not having the word “iced” in its name). Given that we thought the Gingerbread one tasted like pumpkin, I was curious to try this one. My impression: it tastes like a nice, moist carrot cake. Cedric concurred, saying “Tasty”. The flavours are more subtle in this one, which I think would make it more palatable when out doing active stuff.
The verdict: Cedric preferred Iced Gingerbread, while Spiced Pumpkin Pie was the winner for me. There is also a Hot Chocolate flavour, which I didn’t get to try.
They won’t replace my beloved mint chocolate Builder bars, nor will they usurp the title of “favourite CLIF bar flavour” from the formidable white chocolate macadamia nut bars, but these seasonal bars will be filling my backpack compartments on winter hikes and ski jacket pockets for snacks on the chairlift.
If you want to try the seasonal bars for yourself, they look like regular CLIF bars but in white wrappers. Are we nuts for thinking the gingerbread tastes like pumpkin?