I know what you’re thinking: “What is keto, anyway?” And it’s certainly a good question, and I’m glad you asked. Keto is another fly-by-night diet with a stupid name that people obsess over for about 20 minutes before another one comes along with a name that’s even stupider. In other words, to answer your question, I have no idea, and also don’t give a shit.
So it should be pretty obvious my decision to try these almond brownies from Aldi’s Elevation line has absolutely nothing to do with the diet itself, and everything to do with the usual: trying something new. I’ve heard the name everywhere lately, seen the name everywhere lately, and while I’m not interested in dieting, I did want to see what I could expect from the taste of something that exists within the Keto universe (after all, every diet has their own signature tastes, which start with “boring” and “shitty”, and then add a few similar adjectives until it tastes “boring” and “shitty” in its own unique way).
First things first here: the packaging is a little weird. Not so much the design itself (although I admit I don’t really find it engaging), but rather the pictures contained on the packaging; I can’t recall a more confusing, bizarre example of a product pic in my 36 year history on Earth as a natural-born reviewer of food products. On the front, you get a picture of a clear, nutless, chocolate brownie, with additional (separate) pictures of chocolate squares and enlarged almonds to pictorially show you what it is you’re getting. On the back of the packaging, however, there is a picture of what purports itself to be the actual product, featuring a square bar with chocolate drizzle, and loaded with crushed up almonds on the surface.
In reality, neither of those things are correct: the almond bits are mixed in with the batter, so that you get bites of them throughout the middle of the brownie. While you can see some of them poking through the top, none are specifically sprinkled atop the surface as the back would suggest. It’s pretty weird to me that they had two chances to show us what it is we’re actually getting, and curiously failed both times. (I guess they do get points for not putting “Tastes like shit!” in a large balloon anywhere on the package.)
Anyway, these suck. And they’re very small for the price (another trademark of popular diets: build up the name, and then you can charge people $5 for a small “diet-approved” morsel or shot that will trick people into thinking they’re doing wonders for their already world-abused bodies). In fact, that’s about the closest thing to “real” the packaging manages to convey, as the teeny product picture on the back isn’t all that far off from reality. I would say that it would typically be a “three-bite” brownie, or thereabouts, but that’s assuming you wanted to eat them; since you’ll be stalling and have to force it down, it’s more a ten-bite brownie, which I guess at least makes you feel like you’re getting more for your money.
The texture is chewy, and fairly grainy…not really a combination that I would consider “appetizing”, but also one that I’m fairly used to, since it’s pretty standard for dieting products (you can’t make specialty foods something that looks and/or tastes like real food, because then you can’t give off an air of superiority, or feeling of “exclusivity” if it’s like everything else). The taste, though, is where this thing bombs the most for me: I get hints of “coffee” in the palate somewhere, which is probably because the chocolate is so bitter and unsweetened that you might as well just be eating a sponge with wood shavings on it while staring at a piece of chocolate. Of course, I’ve stated many times before that I have a very…unrefined…palate, so any fans of “true” dark chocolate will probably like it a lot better than I do. But if you’re like me, this is something that will become second-nature to skim over every future grocery trip onward.
Overall: 3/10. If it looks like a brownie, does that technically make it a brownie? Elevation throws their opinion into the mix with a resounding “no!”, offering up a bitter mess of a small rectangle that not even the package designers could decide how to accurately portray. The end result is a bitter, overpriced snack that might appeal to followers of the Keto diet, but that others are strongly advised to stay away from (lest they love the taste of dark chocolate and are made of money).