Nestle Orange Coco Shreddies

Coco Shreddies, ah, just the thought of them reminds me of my childhood; as a small child they were my favourite go-to treat cereal. There was something oh so delicious about tucking into a warm bowl full of them on a cold winter’s morning before I was sent packing to school with my tummy full of comforting chocolate cereal goodness. Despite Shreddies being one of the major cereals in the UK they very rarely update the varieties so I was pleased to see that something new had eventually hit the market in the form of this Limited Edition Orange Coco Shreddies.

Nestle Orange Coco Shreddies

I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like these as much as the original Coco Shreddies variety; although I am partial to orange flavoured things here and there I wouldn’t leap for excitement at the prospect at the idea of a bowl full of these, but of course, for cereal reviewing purposes I was willing to try them out.

For all you guys out there that like to eat your Shreddies cold I tried them out this way first to see how they fared up (even though I pretty much only ever eat mine warm); the orange flavour wasn’t too overpowering and added a nice refreshing tang to the light chocolate flavour that is usually prevalent. Like regular Shreddies these held up pretty well in milk thanks to their woven structure..”knitted by nanas” and all that razzmatazz, but softened enough to help leak some of their cocoa orange goodness into the cereal milk below.

Nestle Orange Coco Shreddies

Sipping the chocolate orange milk it was deliciously flavourful; if any of you have experienced the Frijj chocolate orange milkshake I can say that it pretty much tasted exactly like that, albeit just a tiny bit thinner due to me using skimmed milk, and it obviously not having thickeners in it; but perfect for any chocolate orange lovers!

Now how did it fair when I ate it “myyyy wayyy?”, as Frank Sinatra so wonderfully sang. Well it was even better, heating it up in the microwave until the Shreddies had started to lose their shape slightly seemed to intensify the flavour; the chocolate/cocoa taste was stronger the orange more refreshing and adding a nice fruity tang and the heat from the cereal added that all important comforting factor that we Brits so often need on many a cold morning!

Nestle Orange Coco Shreddies

Although I wouldn’t rate these over the classic Coco Shreddies I would still say these are pretty good, thankfully they aren’t too sweet and the orange flavour isn’t artificial tasting whatsoever, in fact it’s got quite a natural taste to it, if you see these in your local supermarket and you’re a fan of the classic Coco Shreddies then I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to pick these up but I highly recommend that you try them warm, they just make the experience a whole lot better.

Nestle Orange Coco Shreddies

per 100g
374kcal
8.5g protein
76.2g carbs (28.9g sugar)
2g fat (0.7g saturates)
0.63g salt
8.6g fibre

Hubbard’s Big Bugs n’ Mud – Chocolate Clusters Cereal

Another chocolate-themed cereal. I hope the readers don’t hate me for this, but how do you divorce your favourite treat from breakfast? Ok maybe we could say that this one’s slightly different from the rest – the name itself is kinda gross: “bugs”, “mud”. Ah well.

Hubbard’s is an established cereal brand in Australia, and New Zealand. I was able to get a hold of it in the expat / fairly upmarket grocery store here in Kuala Lumpur. It’s priced lower than the American cereals (proximity, perhaps?) Though it’s… Just as tasty.

 

Something I’ve realised when it comes to box art: it differs from country to country, according to the origin of the brand. American brands, I’d say we’re familiar with. Mascots, creatures like Tony the Tiger, Cap’n Crunch, with separate, non-generic identities adorn american cereal packages. I’ve found that Hubbard’s and Nestle use more general characters, unnamed things to represent the image, relying on colour and little else to convey their brand.

Big Bugs n’ Mud from Hubbard’s uses a crocodile, and other background entities to convey its branding. I can’t quite draw a direct relationship between the crocodile and the nature of the cereal, other than jaws + crunch. Then again, what the heck does a tiger have to do with Frosties?

(C.f. read The Great American Cereal Book for some info on this. It’s a lovely book for all cereal lovers!)

Clusters. Well, that’s what this cereal claims to be anyway. The cereal bag was filled with broken chunks, problem being that each chunk was small – the largest, about the size of your thumbnail. I guess these qualify as “clusters” when you compare them to Honey Bunches of Oats, with similar clusters. But boy was I hoping for hefty chunks. I thought “Big Bugs” meant Beetle sized pieces. I wasn’t sure whether to fault the importer / distributor (poor shipping methods), or to fault Hubbards (truly small clusters) – but what might be useful to note is that the clusters are awfully fragile: even lifting one could cause it to crumble.

They’re crunchy alright. Light, puffed wheat, rice, and barley tossed in a cocoa compound, giving it that “dried mud” look. I guess it’s quite hard to NOT be crunchy if you’re puffed, especially in air-tight packaging. I liked the bite. It was refreshing, and it stayed like that in milk for the entire duration of the cereal experience, without going soft and putrid.

I also liked the fact that the variety of grains was discernible: puffed rice grains were intact, long; puffed wheat was pillowy, as if biting into a pocket of air.

Maybe that aspect of the cereal could be seen to be analogous to… The “Big Bugs”, a variety of bugs in your cereal. How appetizing.

On to taste. Off the cuff – I had expected myself to be dismissing Big Bugs n’ Mud cereal right now, for being “overly sweet in a Cocopops” way. Surprise surprise. It was lacking in chocolatey-sweetness to the extent that I wouldn’t even say it was sweet, but rather, that it had a “tinge / touch / morsel / nibble” of sugar, juuust enough to give it some flavour.

In short – it’s pretty tasteless, for something which calls itself “chocolatey clusters”.

That could be forgiven if the cereal had some darker, mature chocolate notes. But this had none of those characteristics, and only had its “wheaty / grainy” taste, that comes with having a grain base.

Problem with the above? The less-sweet motif doesn’t quite match up with its nutritionals.

You get 160kcal for a 2/3 cup serving, which isn’t much. You could eat a similar amount of some sweeter granolas for that. Protein content isn’t particularly high either, less than 4g in that serving. You get more from a bowl of Bran, or Special K.

Well – to end off: i have to insert this picture – all my reviews thus far have it.

 

The Thumb Shot.

This cereal was boring, other than for the crunchy variety of grains. Not very “chocolatey” at all. Guess those of us not from Australia and New Zealand aren’t missing out on much, from this offering by Hubbard’s then.

-The Exercising Male

 

Kelloggs Special Edition Crunchy Nut Yoghurt, Cranberry & Almond

Nothing gets a grocery store lovers blood pumping more than the sign of something new or special edition to excite our taste buds with; something that just has to be snapped up immediately to try due to the fact that it could be cruelly taken off our shelves at any moment..banished to only a name on Wikipedia taunting us of past editions that we may have missed out on.

Crunchy Nut Yoghurt, Cranberry & Almond

Do not fear though I managed to get my hands on this new Kelloggs Special Edition Crunchy Nut Yoghurt, Cranberry & Almond (wow that was a mouthful) in my local Asda store; standing out from the usual yellow box of Crunchy Nut this immediately stood out to me appropriately coloured a deep red with the usual overflowing bowl of tasty looking honey & nut cornflakes.

This version, however, doesn’t just have the usual honey nut cornflakes, no no, there’s also the edition of yoghurt coated flakes, dried cranberries and sliced almonds. I absolutely hate it when cereals boast these additional add ins and then, when you come to pouring yourself a bowl they seem to be few and far between..this I can safely say..is not experienced here.

There are really good amounts of not only yoghurt flakes, but tangy satisfying dried cranberries..and huge..yes huge almond slices! This certainly isn’t a cereal that has skimped on the nuts..you’ll certainly get your satisfying nutty fix here, not only in the honey nut flakes but in these delicious slivers of almond.

Crunchy Nut Yoghurt, Cranberry & Almond

If the original Crunchy Nut is tasty then this is amazing! Not only do you get the sweet flavour from the cornflakes but a wonderful fruity acidic tang from the dried cranberry pieces, a sense of creaminess from the yoghurt flakes and added crunch and “nuttiness” from the almond slivers, heaven in a cereal bowl.

And how do these compare to the original Crunchy Nut in the cereal milk department? Well the additional add ins don’t really contribute..like the Original Crunchy Nut the honey nut cornflakes slowly break down in the milk and soften slightly, yet never getting too soggy thanks to the sugar coating..and what is left is a flavoursome sweet honey nut milk that is ready to be slurped down.

Crunchy Nut Yoghurt, Cranberry & Almond

The only downside I would say is the nutritionals of this cereal, it certainly isn’t one for the healthy conscious with a whopping 37g of sugar and 422 kcal per 100g; but as a treat now and then it is a perfect cereal to satisfy any sweet tooth you may have.
All I can say is..if you love Crunchy Nut then I would snap up a box of this before its too late and this Special Edition is taken off the shelves.

Crunchy Nut Special Edition Yoghurt, Cranberry & Almond

per 100g
422 kcal
7g protein
77g carbs (37g sugar)
9g fat (2.5g saturates)
0.63g salt
2.5g fibre

Sweetkiss Mini Crunch Mocha Cream Filled Cereal

This is about as “local” as it gets: this cereal is not only from a Malaysian brand, but it was also manufactured in an obscure province in Malaysia. Sweetkiss is known within the confectionery industry here as an “imitator”. Walk into any discount supermarket and you’ll find that it has imitations of all the major products by the confectionery giants. (i’ve spent some time recently in a large confectionery company, and its employees revealed this nugget of information – Sweetkiss prices their imitations at almost half the price of the originals)

What kind of imitations? You’ve got Sweetkiss’ version of Nestle’s Kit Kat, which they have named 2Finger; they’ve got a version of Nabisco’s Oreos (which aren’t even named, but are coloured similarly)

And – today we’ve got their version of chocolate-filled breakfast cereal. What most of us are familiar with in the UK and US as Kellogg’s Krave, or Tesco’s Pillows (reviewed here); or in France, as Kellogg’s Tresor. In Malaysia, however, CADBURY – yes, CADBURY – has their version of this snack, which they’ve named “Cadbury Bytes”. Bytes are marketed as a snack, and not a cereal, and are sold in small 40g, or 80g packs.

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The imitation by Sweetkiss has been similarly marketed as a snack, akin to crisps, in an 80g pack. Below you’ll see what the pack is like; and, perhaps of interest to you, would be how these packs are placed on the confectionery isle, a “hybrid” product offering somewhere between chocolates and biscuits / wafers.

Sweetkiss Mini Crunch Mocha Cream Filled Cereal: large, thin rectangles, of some cereal shell, supposedly containing “mocha cream”. I say “supposedly”, because this “cream” is actually a compound chocolate (or mockolate, as some may prefer to say).

 

From the pictures below, i think we can conclude three things:

1) The colour of these things is just horrible. Cardboard-like, dull; Where’s the light brown we all know and love, and which we associate with a “wholemeal” / healthy / cereal-grain product? Clearly, Sweetkiss didn’t think of this.

2) How flat. Ugly. Not plump like Krave or Tresor. (although those cereals may be plump but empty, as we’d seen in the Tesco pillows)

3) Awful innards that look more like a powdery compound, than a “mocha cream”

Of course, the old saying goes – “one should not judge a book by its cover”. The sad thing is, that from here, everything is just plain bad.

It wasn’t crunchy in a “fresh” way, like cornflakes or branflakes. The crunch was akin to a Loacker / Quadratini wafer – a denser crunch, and not light at all. I did not feel refreshed from biting into this. Perhaps that could have been the intention of the manufacturers, since Sweetkiss Mini Crunch IS packaged as a confectionery snack, and not as a breakfast cereal. Even then, even IF the dense crunch satisfies as a snack, I wouldn’t be munching on this Mini Crunch product, on account of its taste.

The mocha cream was terrible. It was artificial, just a simple “sugar”-sweetness, and lacked the two characteristics of a good “mocha’ or “cappuccino” flavour.

Mocha = Chocolate + Coffee

Cappuccino = Milk Foam + Coffee

In this snack, the “Coffee” element was lacking. Where was the espresso aroma? Where was the (sometimes) woodsy / oaksy depth of a PROPER coffee? I think my standards are too high here, however, since i drink espresso everyday, and the local coffee in Malaysia tends to be brewed from a mixture of Robusta beans and some flour compound (well, something has to give way if a cup of coffee costs 30 pence, right?)

Chocolate? Fail. Compound chocolate, and a poor one at that. The picture isn’t very clear, but trust me – there isn’t any “milk chocolate” used here, and it would be illegal for Sweetkiss to say so. In Malaysia, most local confectionery is compound chocolate (i.e. chocolate-FLAVOURED, and not MILK CHOCOLATE). If the compound chocolate was decent, like those made by Nestle, than that’s ok. But here it was horrid: powdery, an undiscernible melt, lacking in any dairy aromas (even if artificial)

How do you redeem this snack?

Perhaps by virtue of nutritionals, and price.

Nutritionals: There aren’t any available from the website, and all i have is this unfocussed picture here.

In any case, the entire pack (80g) / standardized to 100g contains:
Energy – 366kcal / 458kcal
Total Fat – 16g / 20g
Sat Fat – 7g / 8.1g
Trans Fat – 0g
Carbohydrates – 36g / 45g
of which sugars – 19g / 23g
Dietary Fiber – 0g
Protein – 6g / 7.5g

Not as “bad” as your typical granola, which tends to cross 500kcal / 100g. Here we have 0g of Fiber, surprisingly low levels of sugar, but high levels of fat. I suppose we could be thankful that there isn’t any transfat in this, despite it being the “budget-offering” on the supermarket aisle. Budget offerings, especially in Asia, tend to use cheap substitutes for cocoa butter and palm oil, resorting to hydrogenated fats, which have been proven to have a detrimental effect to our health.

-The Exercising Male

Barbara’s Chocolate & Peanut Butter Puffins

Barbara’s Chocolate & Peanut Butter Puffins..a flavour and variety that sounds as if it should be so unhealthy, yet marketed and sold as being “virtuous”, “healthy” and “all natural”. I’ve tried the original Peanut Butter Puffins in the past and I must say I was impressed, their crunchy corn like texture that softens delightfully in milk and with a flavour that tastes so real and authentic, (no awful artificial tang here), I was eager to see how the Chocolate & Peanut Butter variety fared up..I mean really its a combo made in heaven!

Barbara's Chocolate & Peanut Butter Puffins

Consisting of both chocolate & peanut butter flavour corn squares I’m sure this would appeal not only to children but also to adults and health-conscious folk alike who are looking for a cereal that will not only taste good but not make them feel awful about themselves after they’ve enjoyed a bowl! Tasting both squares dry, without milk, the chocolate flavour isn’t too overpowering with just a light cocoa flavour, not too sweet, but not so strong and intense that it’s going to deter from the nutty flavour the peanut butter corn squares were going to offer.

Barbara's Chocolate & Peanut Butter Puffins

Tucking into the peanut butter variety it didn’t seem as powerful as it did in the sole Peanut Butter Puffins cereal; nevertheless it was still good, with a delicious natural peanut butter flavour, with a slightly salty sweetened flavour that is so amazingly moreish.

Barbara's Chocolate & Peanut Butter Puffins

So what about the chocolate+peanut butter + milk? Pouring them all into a bowl and topping it with milk it does make for a tasty start for the morning, or for a snack throughout the day; however I wouldn’t say these were AMAZING. They aren’t the nicest Puffins I’ve tried; when eating them together you get a light cocoa/peanut flavour but these aren’t going to satisfy a huge chocolate hit on a morning and because of the lesser amount of Peanut Butter squares compared to the sole variety they don’t provide enough of a peanut butter hit for me either.

Barbara's Chocolate & Peanut Butter Puffins

Now I’m not saying these are awful, they are still tasty; the texture is really good, a nice solid crunch with the the outside softening slightly once left in milk, and a tasty peanut butter chocolate treat left at the bottom of your bowl in the form of cereal milk. And heck..these are Chocolate and Peanut Butter flavour yet have pretty good nutritionals with only 367kcal per 100g! I just wish they’d packed a bit more of a flavour punch. Unfortunately you can’t buy these in the UK but you can pick the up from   iherb.

Barbara’s Chocolate & Peanut Butter Puffins

per 100g

367kcal
80g carbs (20g sugars)
6.7g protein
3.3g fat (0g saturates)
10g fibre

Country Life Organics Chococrunchy Amaranth

An organic cereal produced by a Malaysian company, made in Belgium, and brought across the seas to the supermarkets here. I suppose that makes this the very first review of a “local” cereal, eh?

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Country Life Organics is unheard of overseas: a quick search online reveals zero distributors in the USA and the UK, and no reviews as well. I got this from Village Grocer at Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, which is an upmarket place stocking the very best of foreign grocery favourites (the selection is mind-blowing)

http://www.countryfarmorganics.com/cfo/prod.asp?prodid=692&sltcat=7&cat0=1&cat1=2&cat2=125

The product description goes something like this:
Country of Origin : Belgium
Nutritional Benefits :

– Non GMO, free from additives and other flavouring or colouring.
– Extra crunchiness and distinctive chocolaty sensation.
– Luscious clusters of organic amaranth, oat and wheat flakes coated with organic chocolate and cocoa powders.
– Amaranth is well known for its complete protein profile.
– High in fibre and iron.
– Complex carbohydrates give high energy source.”

Clearly targeted at the “sophisticated healthy-eater-expat” here in Kuala Lumpur, since breakfast cereal isn’t the traditional breakfast which locals eat.

Country Life Organics Chococrunchy Amaranth costs RM14 a box (about 3 pounds). For a price comparison, Chocolate Lucky Charms imported from the States cost RM25, while local Nestle cereals are RM10. So I’d say the cereal in front of us, for all that it touts, is pretty good value-for-money.

We’ve got Amaranth and Cocoa Powder, baked into clusters that resemble granola. For 137kcal/cup, with 4.3g of protein, it’s a decent breakfast choice that should appeal to those of us who bother about cereal nutritionals. The fact that Amaranth is an “IN” supergrain adds to the image of the cereal.

The clusters vary in size, like your average box of granola chunks. Large and small chunks make healthy variation, similar to the points mentioned in the Crunchy Nut Clusters review. The cereal dust in Chococrunchy Amaranth was, however, far superior to your usual dust. Individual Amaranth grains coated in Cocoa, form a Chocolate Soup Porridge that’s so fine yet thick, it feels like a custard in your mouth. Imagine this sludge at the bottom of your bowl, with the hefty chunks above, and you’ve got a winner.

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The effect of this dichotomy in texture is enhanced further if you’ve got some other “staple” cereal you mix this with. For example, Special K flakes, or Cheerios go perfectly between the heavy chunks, and the sludgy bottom, to make one heckuva parfait.

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You could make some chocolate soup, or do as i did, breaking the larger chunks to sprinkle over plain yogurt, for an easy, crunchy dessert.

On to taste. I’d expected a half-baked cocoa kick, much like Nestle Koko Crunch that you get in Asia, or cheapo own-brand Cocoa Krispies overseas. Nope. Deep, woodsy, oak cocoa aromas that reminded me of a heavy hot chocolate I’d had in London at a french bakery.

This is very, very good. I wonder at how they achieved this. The ingredients list doesn’t mention anything special, no artificial sweeteners, or Cocoa from Ghana, or fancy-schmancy chocolate from Van Houten. “Cocoa powder” seems as simple as it gets. I wonder if the secret is that the cereal isn’t heavily sweetened? Or perhaps the amaranth grains were so well toasted that they had a nutty earthiness which I have misattributed to the cocoa aromas.

(On second thought, I think it’s a combination of roasted amaranth + cocoa that yields this mature and earthy result)

I’m impressed by this cocoa-authenticity.

So much so that I have been picking at chunks of this cereal, alongside my daily dark chocolate tastings.

A 9/10 on account of cocoa-ness, crunchy-roasted amaranth, and price.

If you’re in Malaysia, go get some.

-The Exercising Male