Cascadian Farm Clifford Crunch

Kids’ Cereal! This box SCREAMs that.

1) Picture of cute-sy dog on front?

—CHECK

2) Stuff about wholegrains and health benefits and fortified ingredients to attracts concerned parents?

—CHECK

Alright. So this IS targeted at kids.

As usual – Cascadian Farms isn’t available in the UK. I got Clifford Crunch off of iHerb (quote QID159 for 5 bucks off!), and thought I’d review it since there weren’t any non-sponsored reviews which I could find.

The obligatory size shot. These are small little bitty things. Clearly meant to fit the mouths of little tykes, clearly meant to be cute-sy in their own way. What amazed me was the shapes – you’ve got triangles, arrow-looking things, circles: honestly? They look like baby or dog biscuits.  4 to a thumbnail shows how truly small these things are. (Excuse the slight purple seen on my fingers – blueberry juice is so very tough to wash off!)

How did they make such small pieces with shapes that even have precise cut-outs in them? Yet another Cereal Manufacturing Marvel!

(akin to those cereals with dual-layered textures to retain inner crunchiness – YES do refer to previous posts for those.)

 

They have this waxy, malted sheen to them – as if they were polished prior to their placement into the bag.

 

Still on texture – the covering leaves some smooth slippery feel to this – as if you’ve got some tapioca pearls (known as sago in Asia) slipping around your mouth. Of course, this only lasts momentarily, before you hit the porous innards.

It’s the covering that’s so different: I don’t know of any cereal that retains its coating without it dissolving into a sugary mix, when plopped in milk. How is that? Body heat from our mouths? We’ll never know, but this waxy sheen serves as a visual spectacle, AND a pleasant “mouth-smooth” device as well. Complex, eh?

 

Taste? One-dimensional. Not that that’s a bad thing, of course. A honey-malty sweetness prevails from start to finish, although its intensity is strongest at the start (presumably from the waxy sugar sheen). This sweetness has a natural tinge to it – and doesn’t taste artificial as if from Aspartame (which has a… “Tang” at the end of the lick).

 

You know what? This reminds me of refined Cheerios.

1 cup = 110kcal. Not bad eh? Not much protein (2g per serving) but that puts it on par with the majority of cereals, and in fact, even into the “healthier” territory that Cheerios dominates for its “1 cup 100 kcal” characteristic.

 

We don’t have a complicated creature here. It’s fairly complex texture-wise, in the waxy sheen, but its taste is simple, satisfying, and wholesome. A wonderful cereal, on its own (if you’ve got a mild sweet tooth), or as a base for another sweeter one.

 

-The Exercising Male
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Cascadian Farm Dark Chocolate Almond Granola

Doesn’t the name “Dark Chocolate Almond Granola” just naturally appeal? Not least because I’m a chocolate lover (and President of the Oxford Chocolate Enthusiast Club – check us out on groupspaces.co.uk/oxfordchocolate), but also by the sheer rich yet healthy thought of antioxidant-rich cocoa with the unsaturated fats in almonds.

So once again, we have with us some cereal that you can’t get in the UK, and which I had obtained via iHerb (quote QID159 for a 5-dollar discount).


The box is simple – just the cereal. No mascots, no lies. Just some crunchy looking cereal, overflowing – in a bowl. I like the colour scheme. It screams ADULT, mature flavours; and does not prey on the sugar-fuelled young ones (or… Sugar fuelled adults among us).

Oooh. Glorious chunks. Large chunks. Big ones. “Hao Da!” (How large- in Chinese). These aren’t your teeny little bits which some budget cereals call “granola”. This are generous, well-distrbuted (size-wise) chunks. You can tell how large our specimen is, from below. Akin to a large piece of caramel popcorn.


Of course, this size gives us some problems.

1) Little mouths won’t like this cereal. Mummies will have to crush these for them to enjoy (which might not work either, as we shall soon see)

2) You’ll only be able to pick up a chunk or two (depending on the size of your spoon) with each “arm-raising” movement.

Then again, this heft makes you WANT to devour the cereal, to take it in you; it serves some practical function as well as it allows the inner core to stay dry and oh-so-crunchy. Ultimately crunchy; one of the most “naturally crunchy” cereals I’ve tasted so far (as opposed to Special K granola – goodness.)

So that’s the bad part – the crunchy pieces could scratch the insides of soft tender gums – which effectively removes this cereal from the possibility of consumption by our little ones. Ah well. That might be a good thing though.. As..

The granola isn’t outrightly sweet. Kids might not like this. I wouldn’t say “for mature audiences only”, but I’d say this is less sweet than your usual sinful granolas.

The sweetness is fairly conventional though – cane sugar hits which stay fairly long on the tongue. Some odd sweetness is also derived from the oats (don’t ask me how, but I CONSIDER it as some characteristic oat taste)

My one complaint is that the chocolate element isn’t very apparent – on your first bite or two, you wouldn’t have known that this was a chocolate granola. The chocolate bits are sparse too. I’d say one every 8 to 10 chunks. The picture below should prove this – in that one glance, how many dark bits do you see, in that sea of light brown?

 

The almond element is satisfied quite easily – slivers of almond add flavour and texture. Nothing sophisticated here – I’d say the easiest way to impart an element, is to put bits of it in. Needless to say, the almonds were well-roasted, and crunchy.

With the restrained sweetness, comes benefits. 220kcal for a 3/4 cup portion. That’s pretty flaming impressive. Most granolas hit you for 130 – 150 kcal in a 1/4 cup or 1/3 cup serving. This one’s effectively 30% less calorific than the competition, packing (some) protein as well, at 5g.

Conclusion? Get this if you’ve got a minor sweet tooth, and some calories to spare, and if you like it… BIG, CHUNKY, and CRUNCHy in your milk.

-The Exercising Male