Food geeks like me ate super-rich luxury foods in the ’90s, then pendulum-swung to heavy whole grains in the aughts. Now we’re eating a range of grains, not because of glycemic indexes or fiber calculations or out of guilt for bacon binges, but because grains taste good. This whole-grain revisionism has changed breads and pastries, but chocolates too, like this delicious Caramelized Oat Bar from San Francisco confectioner Clairesquares.

Unlike dipped “health” bars, the Clairesquares bar has craggy, salt-butter clusters of crisp oats cloaked by smooth-textured Belgian bittersweet. It tastes vaguely like a florentine and owes its concept to the Nestlé Crunch bar, all while crackling with originality. You can give one to your Valentine and he won’t think you’re telling him to snack healthy, just well.

Clairesquares Caramelized Oat Bar, $7.99

What snack should we stuff into our desk drawer or backpack next? Let us know in the discussion below.

Photo by Chris Rochelle /

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