An Unexpected Berry Blast
Breakfast Cereal Roundup III
Another year rolls by and that means more weird foods put out on store shelves. It does feel like various food production companies throw everything at the wall they can find to see what will stick, accepting any weird flavor or crossover taste so they can grab some eyeballs. It works -- I bought these just for the hell of it -- but the real question is whether these cereals are actually worth eating or not? I did the duty of scarfing them down so you don't have to.
This time arou9nd we have three cereals that all sound weird but, also, are rather safe choices from the cereal companies. Could have been bad, could have been good, but they aren't as outlandish as some varieties we've seen (see: Breakfast Cereal Roundup and Breakfast Cereal Roundup II). They were still the oddities on the store shelves, though, so we have to see how they worked out.
Wendy's Frosty Chocolatey Cereal
I didn't have much hope for this one going in. The Wendy's Frosty is a very specific kind of treat -- colds, smooth, and chocolatey. As a breakfast cereal you can kind of fake your way through two of the three of those; you can get chocolate easily enough as a cereal flavor, and the cold comes from the milk. But to get that smooth, Frosty consistency of a frozen, blended treat, there's no easy way to convey that as a cereal. In the end, a cereal with this flavor is going to be "inspired by" more than a replica.
To get around some of this, the cereal includes marshmallows, the tiny little marbits, to try and convey... I dunno. Something more that chocolate cereal. Without the marbits this would just be a play on Cocoa Puffs or the like, but instead it's... well, Cocoa Puffs with Marshmallows (which, come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I've seen before, too). Frankly, if I didn't see the box labeled "Frosty Cereal" I wouldn't even begin to suspect this was a Wendy's branded breakfast food. It barely conveys it's "source material" at all.
Now, as a play in the space of the Cocoa Puff, this isn't a bad cereal. The texture is nice, with puffed little balls that has a bit of crunchy but aren't so hard they hurt. The marbits do add a nice sweetness, and a little added softness, to the cereal. And the chocolate flavor is good. Not Frosty flavor, mind you, but still a good chocolate taste for the cereal. It's a strong contender in the "chocolate puff ball" arena, and if that's the kind of cereal you like this isn't a bad choice. It's just a bad representation of a Wendy's Frosty.
Give this one a try if you like this kind of flavor in your cereal bowl. Just ignore the promises of the label.
IHOP Mini Pancakes Cereal
I found this cereal to be the most disappointing of the three. I'm not sure what I was really expecting, but the cereal presented by the IHOP Pancakes box didn't really convey anything on the label. This is a cereal that barely manages to hit any of the notes you want from something with the name "IHOP Pancakes Cereal", a real misfire for the brand and the cereal as a whole. It's disappointment in a bowl, in essence.
The box promises blueberry flavor cereal bites. When I popped the cereal in my mouth, though, I barely tasted the blueberry at all. This was both eating the cereal dry (which I always do with a new cereal just so I can try maximum flavor in my mouth) as well as the cereal in the bowl (sometimes adding milk unlocks something, but not this time). What we had were vaguely blue cereal nuggets just sitting there, failing to convey blue and/or pancakes.
For pancakes, the shape is vaguely right, if a little rotund in the middle. The texture, though, was way off. These were harder nuggets, almost in the realm of Cap'n Crunch. They didn't have that softness I was expecting from something branded as a "pancake". You know what a pancake should feel like, soft and fluffy, and this cereal doesn't have that. I get that a cereal needs to be drier, and have some crunch, but something more pillowy in texture would have worked better. The Eggo Waffle cereal is softer (and better manages to convey its flavor in the process), and that's for a waffle bite (and waffles are meant to be crunchier). Something is just off here.
In fairness to the cereal, my wife did like it. She said she tasted a bit of the blueberry and she liked the crunch of the cereal. Still, even she said it wasn't one she would get again. This was a disappointment, a cereal that didn't nail its notes like it should. IHOP needed to give us better.
Disney 100 Years of Wonder Cereal
I bought this one on a lark. I saw the label, saw it promised vaguely berry flavors, and figured, "well, this will be awful." Sometimes I like to buy food just to see how terrible it will be (if I can warn someone away from something shitty, I feel like I've done a services). Surprisingly, though, this cereal wasn't shitty. It was actually really good. If I was disappointed, it was only because this cereal has no right being as good as it is.
In the midst of celebrating their 100th anniversary, Disney has released a couple of cereals under the "Disney 100" brand name. One is a kind of "funfetti cake" flavor, which I didn't bother with as, eh, that's basically sugary vanilla like you can find anywhere in the cereal isle. But weird, berry flavors in the shape of Mickey's head? Sign me up for that travesty. I grabbed the silvery box and took it home and... well, discovered that is actually has a really solid, buttery berry flavor that I kept going back for.
Flavor wise, the cereal reminded me of Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries. An apt way to describe it, in fact, would be Disney's play for the "Oops All Berries" variety. The one big change, though, is that these puffs are slightly softer, more pillowy. Those that like the flavor of Cap'n Crunch but find the cereal bites to be too hard (I've heard people say the cereal cuts their mouth up, an experience I've never had) will likely enjoy these a lot more. They have the right flavor without that hard crunch.
With that said, this cereal is likely a limited edition (as it is in celebration of the 100th anniversary). So while the cereal is great (seriously, I hate how good it is) it's also likely going to be gone soon enough. If this berry blast sounds good, I'd suggest grabbing it while you can, and then being sad when it's gone. I know I'll lament its passing, as I have for so many other good foods that have gone away...