Founded in 2016 by Marc and Lara Giusti, Veloforte.cc hand crafts energy bars and bites using 100% natural ingredients to a recipe that dates back to the 13th century.
Panforte as it was known is documented to have been carried by the Roman Legions, fuelling them through the Crusades. The ancient recipe produced and sold by spice merchants consisted of dried fruits, nuts, spices and brandy. The exact Veloforte recipe is a closely guarded secret and bar swapping the brandy for citrus juices, remains largely unchanged.
Real food is a big movement at present with a focus on natural ingredients, no added this or that and no synthetic substitutes. Veloforte really embrace this with the strap line '100% real food, 100% real power'.
So how does a foodstuff created to fuel an army, work for today's cyclist?
You only get one chance to make a first impression and Veloforte have certainly done all they can in this regard. The bars arrived beautifully packaged, hand wrapped and sealed in a poly bag along with a well designed product information card.
Based on how good they looked in the packaging I had high hopes for how they ate and couldn't wait to sample one out on the road. I had a mid-week ride with some work colleagues planned, they were keen to take in a route that took in a locally renowned hill called Frocester. At 1.2 miles long with 607ft elevation gain at an average gradient of 9%, it's not up there with the high Alps but it does have a reputation amongst cyclists in the loca area. I planned a 40 mile route that had Frocester around the 25 mile mark, perfect for a post hill snack!
I'm not going to lie, the thought of trying the bar was on my mind all the way up the hill and I wasn't disappointed. Without a doubt these are the best bars I've tried in terms of taste, texture and satisfaction whilst eating. I often find myself forcing my way through some bars, be it because they're chewy, hard to stomach on the go or simply not very nice. I went with the Ciocco, a blend of dates, almonds, unrefined caster sugar, honey, cocoa, spices and vanilla, two other flavours are available, The Classico which contains more citrus fruits and Di Bosco which features a mix of berries. Each flavour is available in packs of 3, 9, 15 or 24 and mixed packs or bite size chunks are an option too.
My only criticism, and it's quite a minor one because you could simply stop and eat or pre-tear the wrapper, is that they are quite difficult to de-wrap and eat whilst on the bike.
Price wise they seem expensive when compared to other offerings, £6.99 for 3, £19.99 for 9, £32.99 for 15 and £49.99 for 24, but when you consider the ingredients, the fact they're hand made and wrapped and that they taste so good, on balance they represent good value.
Here at RRR we're fans of many Italian brands and products, something about them just aligns with the way we like to indulge ourselves in the sport, it's safe to say the list just grew with the addition of Veloforte. Delizioso!