Warning – major grocery chain housebrand ahead. Those who are strongly against purchasing goods from these “big” players, turn away.
Tesco’s Finest Nut Granola – such an average, non-bombastic name.
Let’s attempt the rational review: a cereal review dependent on logic and justification (I’m hoping to draw some relevance to my current degree here; practice some reasoning skills amidst writing this)
I bought this for two reaons, in order of significance:
1) It won a prize in the nation-wide Quality Food Awards 2011: which made me decide, even before leaving my home, that I’d go to Tesco’s to buy this. (Note the blue logo on the top left of the package)
2) I’ve been on a bit of a granola streak lately, so I had some leftovers from the previous weeks to taste and compare this with.
The difference between Tesco’s “Finest” and the regular granolas can be seen in several ways. Price is the thing we jump straight to on the aisle: this costs GBP3 for 500g; while the equivalents from Quaker and Jordan’s cereals are priced at GBP1.99 each.
Then we attempt to justify the price. Finest Granola is sweetened with Tesco’s Finest Honey (boy.) And contains premium nuts such as WHOLE hazelnuts, chopped pecans, sliced almonds, and some pumpkin seeds. The other mid-priced granola brands can dream of whole hazelnuts and pecans; Dorset’s Cereals gives you those, but they’re priced (gulp!) even higher than Finest Granola.
(END logical discourse: you can’t describe taste and texture without being subjective)
I absolutely love the packaging: ziplock bag, useful for retaining freshness. Not to mention that the interior of the bag is lined with aluminium foil. I’m not sure how this helps preserve granola, since there isn’t a specific temperature it has to be stored at, and given the UK’s temperate climate.
Ooh yeah: large chunks, small chunks, pulverized granola bits: you’ve got them all. Medium and minisule coconut shreds too. The textural sensations are quite remarkable, since the chunks are crunchy owing to the well-toasted oats (or, perhaps caramelized sugars); while the coconut shreds are lightly chewy.
The nuts are DEEPLY roasted too (in fact, they remind me of the roasted hazelnuts in Tesco’s Finest Roasted Nuts), where biting into one will reveal an inner “char”. (Darnit I shouldve grabbed a biopsy photo).
So, ok. Crunchy, chewy.
The most crucial element of such granolas which tout a variety of ingredients is how well they meld together. “Cinnamon Granola”, “Chocolate Granola“: these are easy. Just contain the name-sake ingredient in a balanced amount, and you’re safe.
Here though, balanced amounts are needed, but they need to COMPLEMENT each other.
Raw Pumpkin seeds – slight bitterness, yogurty-tang; mental impression of a dense forest.
Roasted hazelnuts – a warm fire; depth of a typical roasted nut.
Coconut – bursts of richness, akin to that of butter, but of a different flavour profile. I have no idea how to describe what “coconut” tastes like.
Pecans – these were the best. Partially roasted to retain the bitterness present in its raw form, yet bearing that crunch to match the textures of the other ingredients.
Honey – couldn’t tell. Tasted like Lyle’s golden syrup, or brown sugar to me; the taste of molasses was prevalent here.
After these descriptions, I wouldn’t say the above flavours “complemented” each other. There’s variety, yes. But it seems as if that’s the ONLY CARD Tesco’s Finest Nut Granola plays. I did not get any distinct flavour that would allow me to recall this granola on a blind test, since it is so dependent on each ingredient.
At 500kcal / 100g, this is hefty. Note that 500g is a small bag – ultimately containing 500 x 5 = 2500kcal (the daily calorie-total recommended for an average man)
I guess I can see how Tesco’s Finest Nut Granola won that award. It’s ingredients are certainly worth the label. However, the chemistry between the ingredients just isn’t there. I’d buy it again though, for the decadent quality alone.
-The Exercising Male