It’s not just any bar—not the one you’re probably thinking of, anyway. This bar is free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, GMOs, preservatives and refined sugars (and alcohol, if that wasn’t already clear). It’s all-natural, naturally, and perhaps most importantly, according to the funky snack makers, “it needed to sparkle!”

Jen Burnstein (left) and Debbi Ascher, creators of CharmedBar

Jen Burnstein (left) and Debbi Ascher, creators of CharmedBar

Meet Debbi Ascher and Jen Burnstein, the owners, founders and effervescent boosters of CharmedBar, the aforementioned on-the-go nosh that was simply made to be. Their story has elements of serendipity and sweetness, a feeling they wanted to incorporate into their product. But first, a little history.

Both women were born and raised locally—in Potomac, in fact, where they attended local synagogues and became bat mitzvah. Both had grandparents in the food world: one set owning a grocery store and the other with a restaurant. It was only, ahem, natural, that they’d meet and become fast friends, bonding at a camping trip over a mutual love of ’80s music (unsurprisingly, they both also have awesome hair).

In 2013, the ingredients finally came together for the birth of CharmedBar. Always looking for a way to help the community and excited about food, but with significant food allergies, the duo realized the best way to combine their interests was to design a healthful, but enjoyable snack bar. Burnstein, for her part, wanted to make sure it looked fab, and Ascher ensured it had mass marketable appeal. Creative vision plus business acumen, all wrapped into something that tastes like a treat, but is made from fruits, nuts and liberal dose of fun.

How fun? The three top flavors are called “Cashew Butter Apple-Rageous,” “Almond Butter Cran-Dipity” and “Peanut Butter Cherry-Licious.”

Cashew Butter Apple-Rageous CharmedBar

Cashew Butter Apple-Rageous CharmedBar

Given this background, it’s yet again natural that there’d be some interest in these trendy, family-friendly snacks. Brandishing winning smiles and their shining idea, they pitched their bars on the Food Network’s show Food Fortunes in May 2015 and gave a spirited display of the magical bar creation process (highlight: “take magnetic coconut and bedazzle it with fresh nuts, and abracadabra”) on the Food Network show Food Factory in December 2014. They haven’t looked back. The bars are available for purchase in retailers pretty much all over the country, as well as your local Kroger and Wegman’s. And of course, a fave local space, Glen’s Garden Market.

But the two haven’t forgotten their roots. For them, it was critical that their bars receive kosher certification, searching for a year for a manufacturer that would be able do so—and one that also happens to hand-grind the butters (talk about nutty).

Ascher and Burnstein now travel around the Mid-Atlantic area, giving samples and demos and chatting up customers curious to try anything called “cran-dipity.”

Unsurprisingly, the packaging is bright and covered in uplifting, positive messages. According to the founders, “Judaism is the original positive-thinking religion. Every thought, lesson and ideal is positive—from saying blessings to upholding justice, and this is our goal with these snacks.” Yasher koach, and yes, we’ll take another bite. It’s positively cherry-licious.

Hungry for more? Visit CharmedBar online.