Mornflake Orchard Oat Granola

Sorry for the lack of reviews recently folks – it has certainly been a busy time with Christmas coming up, but do not fear there is another new review today of a delicious granola from Mornflake.

Although I flit to and fro trying various different types of granola, this one is always a staple in our house, one of my family members absolutely adores it- she eats it hot, she eats it cold with milk or smothered in yoghurt in a delicious parfait..and I can certainly see why she loves it so much as it is absolutely delicious!

Mornflake Apple & Sultana Granola

The granola holds a wonderful light apple flavour, whilst including some freeze dried apple pieces and a good amount of juicy moist sultanas that add a tad extra sweetness to the overall cereal. However it is the texture that I find to be the most pleasing; to me there is a very fine line between too crunchy and too soft – too crunchy and I feel like I’m going to crack my teeth, yet too soft and it just dissipates instantly in milk. Mornflake, well done, as you’ve definitely got it right on this one – although the granola clusters aren’t huge and there are quite a few “tiddly” ones the texture is ideal; it holds its shape well in milk for a considerable amount of time yet still has that gorgeously chewy flavour we all desire when tucking into a bowlful of granola.

Mornflake Apple & Sultana Granola

Of course; however; with any granola, this doesn’t come lightly on the calorie scale and you can soon find yourself pouring a huge bowl that seems a lot less than it actually is in terms of weight – so maybe not one to buy if you’re trying to lose some weight (after Christmas of course, when all the New Year’s resolutions begin). Nevertheless if you don’t really care and just wish to tuck into a good bowl of tasty cereal then I can’t recommend this more…and the best way to eat it? In my opinion has definitely got to be parfait style…sorry milk!

Mornflake Orchard Oat Granola
per 100g

432kcal
8.2g protein
64.6g carbs (22.1g sugars)
13.7g fat (6.2g saturates)
8.9g fibre
0.03g salt

Tesco’s Finest Nut Granola Review

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

Nature Path Love Crunch Aloha Blend

American granola always seems so much better than the UK varieties; more innovative flavours that never seem to disappoint in terms of satisfying chunks and delicious mix ins. I just knew then, that when one of my family members was going over to the US a month back that I had to say “pretty please” and do my sweetest smile and hope that they would bring me back some cereal I requested.

Thankfully they did and so here I am reviewing one of the delicious morsels that was brought back : Nature Path Love Crunch Aloha Blend.

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I’d tried the Carrot Cake blend before and had fallen in love therefore I was hoping that the Aloha Blend would be equally inspiring;  crunchy granola clusters, toasted coconut, juicy pineapple and huge white chocolate chunks..I mean really what’s not to like?!

I love how huge the clusters are in this granola; there’s certainly no skimping when it comes to the hefty crunchy oat morsels and the white chocolate chunks..all I can say is “wow”, this is the type of  cereal where you just know you’re gonna end up rooting around in the bag to try and find all of the ‘good bits’ and then when you come to pour yourself a bowl..all you’re left with is the oaty clusters!

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The sweet white chocolate, refreshingly juicy pineapple flavours and the earthy toasted coconut create a wonderful mix of flavours that when combined with the granola base just take you away on a tropical taste sensation (I know cheesy or what, but really I can’t express how good a cereal this is).

The granola clusters soften ever so slightly on the outside once popped into milk but still remain a deliciously crisp centre; whilst the milk is flavoured in a perfectly sweet creamy pineapple/coconut flavour..a bit like a non alcoholic pina colada. Wowza!   I know this cereal isn’t particularly cheap in comparison to other granola on the market, I think in the States it is priced around $5.99 for around a 400g bag which is pretty hefty; however if you want a special treat it is definitely worth it. It’s probably a good thing I can’t get my hands on it more easily or else I’m pretty sure both my waistline and purse would be suffering!

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Nature’s Path Love Crunch Aloha Blend
per 100g
500kcal
67g carbs (20g sugar)
7g protein
23g fat (7g saturates)
7g fibre

Mark’s & Spencer’s Summer Berries Granola

One of the main British brand-names in the market (I almost started with “the epitomy of..”, but realized there was Waitrose, Harrods, and many more which my ignorant self probably won’t be able to name), Marks and Spencer, or more affectionately known as M&S, doesn’t offer much of a cereal range. Pretty much the same cereals are available here in the UK as those I recall from my early teens, visiting an M&S in Singapore. Those of you in the know will have had the all-too-familar Marks & Spencer’s Triple Chocolate Crunch, Summer Berries Flakes, and their range of instant porridges.

Today we’ve got Summer Berries Granola, sold in a bag form. I actually like the Artwork on this. It’s got impressions of plants – leaves, ferns, corn crops, etc., with an avant-garde font to boot. Clearly aimed at adults here: I think the font itself needs some deciphering given its medieval hue, as I hope you can see from the picture.

I was surprised when I opened this open-and-reseal-ziplock bag. A fresh, lingering aroma of raisins and cranberries met the nose; and the sight of HUGE, plump raisins caught my eye. Smatterings of cranberries were there as well. Wow.

I retracted that “wow” soon enough. That’s too much fruit. Look at this. How much oat have we got? How many oat crumbles do you count?

More of a muesli than a granola then, since we’ve got more oat crumbs then huge granola chunks (which we all know we love and adore for that hefty bite). Furthermore, on a closer inspection, I’d realized that the initial impression of “too much fruit” was aided by the small crumb size. The large raisins and cranberries had settled at the top: the little oat crumbs gone to the bottom. That meant that some shaking had to be done.

Let’s get down to it.

As expected, the texture was gritty, with a chew of a dense, voluptuous raisin in EVERY bite. I actually liked that. Most wouldn’t like so many raisins in their granola or muesli; but note that these are LARGE, JUMBO raisins we’re talking about, so the chew fills your mouth with a burst of jelly and flavour. The cranberries weren’t so amazing though.

Then, a surprise. Some seeds; some grit, some distinct sour-berries. Ah! Dehydrated strawberry pieces. So small that they were mere red specks next to the rest of the fruits. These were impressive – sharp, clear, piercing.

INTERLUDE:
(I can’t help but descend into a discussion on taste now; the texture of this cereal melds so well with the fruity bursts)

Yes, I couldn’t help thinking “strawberries & cream” when the bursts of strawberry came through the milk. With the oat chunks imparting a “flapjack” aroma (without the butter-taste; just sweet oats) to this, it was like having a strawberries & cream tart.

A pity there weren’t that many strawberry bits. I guess we could go the same way to say that we had a “Raisin cream explosion”, but that just isn’t the same.

The fruitiness of this granola got to me. Summer Berries indeed.

The oat crumble was bad on the textural note: minor chunks barely matching my thumbnail, with small crumbs making most of the bag. The saving grace is that the aromas of oat were fresh: each oat grain had a flavour on its own that was not dependent on some lame-duck sugar syrup, but (wheaty?) goodness which lingered in the mouth to round off a wholesome, breakfast finish.

I was impressed with the nutritionals, initially. At 370kcal/100g it’s much less calorific than your typical granolas. However on further research / inspection, I realized that could be attributed to the high fruit content: 33% fruit, hence almost akin to a typical high-fruit muesli. (Compare Alpen’s no-sugar muesli, and Dorset Cereal’s high-fruit varieties). Not much protein at 9g /100g, as expected. It’s fruit, after all.


This one’s a winner, in my book. Even though the oat crumbles failed size-wise, we have a truly “mature” breakfast granola here. The fruit flavours come through nicely – distinct, crisp strawberry and dense, deep raisins: and these match the flat-ish oat depth as a canvas.

Oh; did I mention that it goes well with milk too?

-The Exercising Male

Asda Apple Crumble & Custard Crunch

I often comment on how the UK cereal market isn’t particularly innovative; especially when it comes to granola varieties, they all seem to be the same..fruit & nut, occasionally with the odd chocolate chunk thrown in there. Certainly nothing like the varieties that are available in the States, for example, the delicious Nature’s Path Carrot Cake granola that I managed to get my hands on whilst traveling.

IMAG0536

Thankfully it seems that Walmart owned Asda has had some American influence in their cereal department and do a range of granolas..or “crunches” that deviate away from the norm. There are a selection of flavours offered but I simply had to pick up this Apple Crumble & Custard crunch first; with “crispy oat & rice clusters flavoured with cinnamon and blended with apple pieces, white chocolate, custard pieces & shortbread” this sounded delicious, and, on consulting the back of packaging I found that this also contained a small amount pecan nuts dispersed throughout the packet..could this be any better!

I have to take my hat off to Asda in terms of their innovation here, I’m so pleased there is actually something different gracing the granola section of the cereal aisle, and, on consulting the nutritionals, despite how unhealthy this sounds..it actually isn’t! At only 412 kcal per 100g and 20.1g sugar, it is surprisingly a better choice than lots of other granola that you may deem to be healthier.

Asda Apple Crumble & Custard Crunch

The texture is slightly different to normal, it isn’t as hard or as chewy as other granola offerings I’ve tried, and I can see why Asda have given it the name “crunch” as it is more akin to Jordan’s “crunch” varieties of cereal, rather than that of a classic chewy crispy granola; nevertheless it still hits the spot as a good crunchy cluster cereal.

Pouring myself a good bowlful of the stuff I was initially pleased with the good amount of custard pieces, shortbread pieces, apple pieces and pecan nuts..but despite getting through the whole packet of this I never once found a white chocolate chunk! Whether this is just down to the fact that they are easily mistaken for shortbread pieces/custard pieces I’m not too sure as I did some pretty good digging throughout the pack and can be fairly certain that there weren’t many in there!

Nevertheless the flavour is still pretty good..and I guess in a really Apple Crumble & Custard you wouldn’t find white chocolate anyway; there is a lovely background cinnamon flavour that blends well with the delicious fruity apple and strong bourbon vanilla flavour and the freeze dried custard pieces add a delightfully sweet comforting addition; and really who can complain about finding a big good chunky pecan nut in their cereal, with the odd nut here and there providing a welcome nutty edge to your morning bowl of cereal.
Asda Apple Crumble & Custard Crunch

In terms of how this cereal got on with its milky counterpart, it didn’t stay as crunchy or as crisp as you may find some granola does but when comparing it to a “crunch” style granola, it was completely on par; it stayed crunchy for a reasonable amount of time, as did the shortbread pieces, but instead of going chewy/soft as it began to break down in the milk it slightly softened in the middle with a slight exterior crunch.

The best part of this though? That even when your cereal is all gone and you’re just left with the milky remains it tastes amazing..the cereal milk is sweet, cinnamon indulgence with a slight hint of apple and vanilla, so good that you just wish you had a big pint full of the stuff! And at only £1 for a 500g bag this has to be bargain of the century! Kudos Asda!