(What follows is my rambling thoughts about product reviews. If you have some time on your hands, feel free to read on. If you just want to win a gift bag of Bakery On Main goodies, scroll to the bottom.)
As a food blogger, I get the occasional offer of free food or cookbooks. I can still recall the first time someone offered to send me cupcakes as a thank you for giving her a positive review. I wasn't looking to get anything out of it. I simply thought her cookies and brownies were amazing, and wanted to share that with my readers. Nonetheless, when I found out she was going to send me free cupcakes, I started jumping up and down. Free gluten-free cupcakes? Are you kidding me!? Life just got 10,000 times better!
After a year and a half of blogging, I am still excited to get anything free. Who isn't? But I'm also more cautious. My blog is important to me, and I'm careful about who and what I promote. There's something inherently uncomfortable to me about accepting anything for free. While I know that I'll only give a positive review to a product I like, the people pleaser in me is hesitant to accept products on the off chance that I might not like them. What do I do then? Choose not to review the product at all? Give it a bad review? Conveniently forget about the review until months later and then decide it's too late to bother? I can tell you that I have done the former and the latter of these. But I've never written a bad review simply because it makes me feel icky. Then again, so would writing a positive review for a product I did not actually enjoy. It is for this reason that I turn down many of the offers that come my way. (If I'm giving you the impression that I get offers left and right, that's really not the case. But I do receive more offers than I used to, and I've had to turn down a few lately.)
Why am I telling you this? Well, I guess simply because I like to be truthful and I like to share my thought process with you all. And because I want you to know that if I review a product, I will be honest. If I don't review one, well, that speaks for itself.
With all this said, I accepted an offer to try Bakery On Main's granola bars and cereal. Bakery On Main began in Glastonbury, CT, which is where my mom grew up and my grandma still lives. So I feel partial to them and excited that there's a prominent gluten-free bakery right in my grandma's own town. Of course, this is where I interject that I was given the products for free, but am under no obligation to review them or say anything positive. There are some rules and regulations that I know very little about, but thankfully hear about from other bloggers who pay more attention than I do. So, with that obligatory stuff out of the way and my own ramblings done with, here's what I'll say about Bakery On Main. And I'll keep it brief because another truth is that I really don't enjoy writing product reviews. Even when I like the product.
- The granola is good, but not my favorite. My housemate buys it regularly and loves it with soy yogurt. I also ate it with yogurt, but find that it doesn't stand up well on its own.
- The granola bars are much better. If I hadn't realized I'm sensitive to peanuts, I would definitely be buying the peanut butter chocolate granola bars as a sweet treat.
- I consider these all treats. While I can see myself buying them, it would be for an after dinner snack rather than breakfast. They're a bit too sweet to start my day off with. But that's just me.
(Update: 11/17/10 This giveaway is now closed)