Sainsbury’s Choco-Hazelnut Squares

I have to give some credit to Sainsbury’s here.

Most imitations are blatant, wholesale rip-offs of the branded good. Today we’re talking about an imitation product of the Kellogg’s Krave cereal: cereal squares filled with chocolate or hazelnut ganache.

Sainsbury’s took this idea, but with one pretty major difference. They’ve sold it in handy lunch-box sized packs, marketing it as an “on-the-go” breakfast cereal alternative which does not require milk. Although this concept is new in the UK (cereals as packaged on the go-no-milk snacks), an earlier review of Cadbury’s Chocolate Squares in SouthEast Asia on this blog shows that it’s been around in the eastern market for a year or two.

Sainsburys choco hazelnut squares(2)

Although Nestle has got it’s 5-in-1 sachets of Cheerios and Cookie Crunch in supermarkets, those aren’t advertised as “milk-free” alternatives (then again, eating cereal out of the box has been something so many of us have been doing!)

So you see: the packet itself is small, at 40g, constituting what “should be” one serving of cereal. I paid 59p for this; which is pretty expensive considering an average 375g box of cereal costs less than 2 pounds per box, and which contains upwards of 8-10 servings.

I don’t like the animal on the packet. I (think) it’s an Owl, and 20 guesses how Sainsbury’s related that to it’s Choco-Hazelnut squares. It clearly does not exclude the “children” target market, given its colours and graphics which could appeal both to young and old.

Small squares. Deformed. Bent? Sheesh. Talk about some bad product consistency here. In my history of eating “squared” cereals, I’ve never encountered such mishaps. Broken is fine, but totally misshaped? That points to some manufacturing defects in the product “baking / forming” itself, which shouldve been picked up early in the developmental process.

Sainsburys choco hazelnut squares

At least it’s light and puffy, despite it’s thi character. To me that’s a good thing, since this leads on to the thicker (texturally) ganache. Too thick an exterior wouldn’t let you enjoy the smoothness of the inner filling; and this cereal avoids that pitfall. It’s got a good crunch initially as well, which collapses into the light puff, and finally, the ganache.

I wonder if it’s worth mentioning this; but I thought the corners were  sharp; angular squares are appealing, but I can imagine something too “sharp” being dangerous to little mouths (I.e Kids).  This might be due to the thin-ness of each piece, since a “fat” corner wouldn’t be sharp would it; but I guess that’s something we’ll have to ask the manufacturer.

The outer shell of the cereal didn’t taste very wheaty: some might like this, some might not. It was more like a “pillow puff” version of Cornflakes, with a clear corn / grit taste to it. It’s also lightly sweetened; I did not detect any “distinct” sweetness worth mentioning on its own.

The ganache was dull as well. It wasn’t “bad” tasting. It had little hazelnut aromas, not even the cheap-sweet-nutella-esque that is so common in hazelnut confectionery. I suppose one can’t expect very much from a grocery store brand. Kellogg’s Chocolate Hazelnut Krave beats this on Hazelnut taste hands-down. There was “chocolate”. Nothing deep-cocoa-ey, but just plain sweetness. As you can tell, I’m having difficulty explaining the taste characteristics of this cereal. It’s just that bland.

A sad thing then, that what was the perfect “canvas”  (the puff) for the ganache had ultimately gone to waste. Sainsbury’s Choco Hazelnut Squares’ ganache was a let-down.

Nutritionally, I’d expect this to fare better, sugar-wise, then Krave. This wasn’t the case. There isn’t much too different between this cereal and Krave’s nutritionals. At 420kcal /100g, they’re roughly identical, sad to say. The 40g serving-size  pack that you buy this in will surprise you as well, as 40g isn’t very much.

(Sorry for not having a picture of this one. I snapped one, but it was blurry, and oddly enough didn’t show that it was blurry when I previewed the shot after.)

Sorry Sainsbury’s, but Kellogg’s Krave takes the cake, and it’s cheaper for the box too.

-The Exercising Male

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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 Cinnamon Squares Breakfast Cereal

We’re back to the cinnamon cereal streak here in the UK. It beats me why we’re observing this trendhere. A year ago only Nestle made their Curiously Cinnamon squares, which are similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the US. We aren’t just limited to “mere non-textured cereal squares” though;  several weeks ago we had Sainsbury’s Cinnamon Malties with its Chex-like pattern. What have we today?

Tesco’s Cinnamon Squares, with cute gopher-chipmunk-animal-thing to boot.


These are pretty large squares, and textured with lines, similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They fit nicely in your mouth, 3-4 to a tablespoon (with milk).

2 things to note about the texture though;

1)Each square is thick. Like: so thick that it crunches in your mouth, as if it was the chunky outer surface of a freshly-baked baguette. I mean, look at it; it’s almost half the thickness of an old-school-sized thumbdrive (note my love for all things “thumb”)

2)Cinnamon sugar absolutely adorns these pieces, though not to the extent of the sugar coating in Nestle’s Curiously Cinnamon or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I’m not sure about this, but the sugar GRAINs themselves seemed more coarse than other cinnamon-themed cereals, complementing the above “chunky” squares even more.

Awesome; especially when some Os are thrown into the mix (Tesco brand, of course)

Taste is hard. It’s sweet, with that simple white sugar sweetness. It has a light (too light?) tinge of cinnamon in it that is just enough to “inform” you that you’re having a cinnamon treat. I like the subtlety here, because it matches the wheaty, almost BISCUITy taste of each square.

Cinnamon biscuits. That’s what we’ve got here. Put them in milk? You get bliss.

At 410kcal/100g, it isn’t TOO bad, neither is it good. “A source of fibre” and “wholegrain” is advertised on the box, which isn’t a lie per se;  though I’d take that with a pinch of salt. I’ve calculated the 100g equivalent for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, in order to get an approximation of the serving size in volume. 30g of this should be somewhere between 3/4 of a cup to 1 Cup.

Certainly beats eating Granola (to me at least; i’m sure my compatriot would disagree!), since here you get a luscious biscuity bite, without that hefty calorie-count that usually comes with it!

-The Exercising Male

Dorset Cereals Toasted Coconut & Wheat Flakes

It’s always appealing to me when cereal companies produce small one serving packets – either for on the go, or just to try before you launch into buying a big box and end up eating a cereal that you’re not too keen on for weeks on end! Dorset Cereals started out just making various different muesli but recently they have expanded into granola, wheat flakes and the like.

Dorset Cereals Toasted Coconut & Wheat Flakes

The thing that really appealed to me about the Toasted Coconut & Wheat Flakes variety was the fact that it seemed to be a mixture of all three: oats, oat granola clusters, wheat flakes, pieces of dried coconut, dried fruit & sunflower seeds; it was like a cross breed between various different types of cereal.

I am pleased to say that there was no scrimping on the amount of dried fruit here with a decent 38% consisting of raisins, flame raisins, dates & dried apricot; meaning that every spoonful had a succulent sweet piece of moist juicy fruit. Unfortunately however this is about where the good points end for this cereal; yes the coconut flakes and the sunflower seeds add a nice earthy element to it and yes, the granola adds a bit of body against the lighter toasty wheat flakes and oats, but ultimately its just extremely average.

Dorset Cereals Toasted Coconut & Wheat Flakes

The flavour I found to be quite bland and unexciting and for all of you people out there that think that eating “boring” cereals like muesli etc is just like eating cardboard/rabbit food then this is probably one of the culprit cereals to re-enforce this image. The state of affairs becomes slightly worse when left in milk for a while with the wheat flakes becoming like soggy pieces of cardboard floating in a pool of milk dotted with delicious pieces of dried fruit that deserved such a better background cereal base.

Dorset Cereals Toasted Coconut & Wheat Flakes

You’d think with this being quite a “bland” cereal that it would be relatively healthy/low calorie..to make matters worse..its not! At 381kcal per 100g its hardly the lightest of cereals on the waistline and for that many calories you certainly could get a lot better.

Dorset Cereals Toasted Coconut & Wheat Flakes
per 100g

381 kcal
8.2g protein
54g carbs (28.2g sugar)
8g fat (3.5g saturates)
8g fibre

Kellogg’s Nutri-grain cereal review

Kellogg’s Nutri-grain is a breakfast cereal in Australia, and a cereal bar in the US. The breakfast cereal variant isn’t commonly reviewed: hence the choice to write about it today.

The box is brown. Brown. Brown. Brown. Doesn’t help that the cereal is brown too. Essentially you’ve got something on the cereal shelf that looks like a block of wood, and doesn’t appeal to kids, or adults.

A quick search on the Australian Kellogg’s site revealed the target consumers.

Sportsmen. Nutri-grain Iron men, as they are dubbed. There are several Kiwi and Aussies athletes sponsored by Nutri-grain. As a triathlete myself, I have to say that I absolutely love this one.

Each piece is individually-shaped, piece-by-piece in a waffle-crisp way. I have no idea what the holes are for, since the cereal itself is porous and absorbs milk. Perhaps it adds to the “home-made” / artisan feel that the look for in that comforting bowl of cereal in the morning.

I liked the way each pieces gets soggy in milk. It becomes mushy, and contrary to the conventional notions of a good cereal; the fact that it retains absolutely ZERO “crispy-ness” is what I enjoy most. You’ve still got the shape of each individual piece – the holes in each are still recognizable, except that it COLLAPSES instantly on any pressure exerted by your teeth, or tongue (this is kinda gross, I know. But how else do I describe it?)

Taste is one-dimensional. I guess you can’t expect much from something which isn’t bursting with added sugar. It tastes very wheaty, in the “cheap wholemeal bread” way: and I am inclined to believe that this ties in with the higher-than-average protein content derived totally from wheat (more on that below). There’s a mild malt-taste in this cereal which was enjoyable when taken together with milk (albeit not as strong as a malt drink per se) that provided some depth to the cereal that is (thankfully) unrelated to sweetness.

For 120kcal per cup of dry cereal, you get 6g of protein. This is more than Special K, and the bran cereals out there. You’ve also got a hefty dose of carbohydrate here, perfect for a pre or post workout snack.

I love this cereal, and is one of the few which I’ll make purchase again and again.

Good on’ya Kelloggs Australia.

Now: how do I get a hold of this in the UK when the University term starts?

-The Exercising Male

Sainsbury’s Wholegrain Cinnamon Malties

It is with this review that I have to bring you some shocking news my friends – I think there has been some slight inter-continental cereal “hanky panky” going on in Sainsbury’s cereal innovation department. When I popped into my local Sainsbury’s a few weeks ago I noticed these new own brand Cinnamon Malties gracing the shelves; cinnamon is so often a flavour that is completely overlooked in the UK and despite me despising it as a child I can’t get enough of it now so was pleased to see something a bit different compared to the usual boring flavour combinations we are subjected to.

Sainsburys Wholegrain Cinnamon Wheaties

 

Essentially, from the packaging, these “Malties”..oh wait no, not just “Malties” but “Wholegrain Malties”, looked as if they were the same structure as the popular Nestle breakfast cereal “Shreddies”; albeit with cinnamon flavouring and accompanied by a flying super-hero type figure who obviously thinks these Malties are so good that he just cannot resist pointing at them with his big yellow finger whilst eating a spoonful of the things in the other hand (be careful Superhero Malty that you don’t crash into the gigantic sized bowl!)

Obviously these are marketed at children yet are trying to portray they are also a healthy choice so parents don’t have to feel too bad about buying their kids a box full of them – “wholegrain”, “full of fibre”, “low fat”..need I go on.

Sainsburys Wholegrain Cinnamon Wheaties

So you may wonder what I am babbling on about with “inter-continental cerealy hanky-panky”; well you see these aren’t really like Shreddies – infact I’d say these were a cross-breed between Shreddies and the well known American Cereal Cinnamon Toast Crunch. When I poured myself a bowl full of them and took the initial bite I immediately noticed that these had far more of a “crunch” and “bite” to them than the usual Shreddies; much more akin to the texture of Cinnamon Toast Crunch..maybe even crunchier! I know is that possible?!

It feels as if the “Malties” are coated in a sort of sugar glaze..however looking on the ingredients list they aren’t..whatever it is these hold up superbly in milk and stay crunchy for a remarkable length of time. As usual I preferred mine warmed up and they did start to soften a bit then, but still held an unusual firmness to them that gave a nice extra “bite”.

The flavour is exactly as described really – “cinnamon” and “malt”; nevertheless they do have quite an overall sweet flavour to them but the wheaty malty flavour stops this becoming one of those sickly breakfast cereals where you are worrying about how much sugar you are actually consuming first thing on a morning; although looking at the nutritionals it still does pack quite a hefty sugar punch!

Sainsburys Wholegrain Cinnamon Wheaties

So there you have it folks – Sainsburys have produced something that look like Shreddies yet taste/texture wise are similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch and have a surprising firmness when poured into a bowl of ice cold milk – maybe its because these aren’t “knitted by Nanas” but instead seem to have been plucked out of the air from strange “Superhero Malty”.

Sainsbury’s Wholegrain Cinnamon Malties
per 100g

366kcals
8.3g protein
75.5g carbs (27.3g sugar)
1.5g fat (0.3g sats)
8.4g fibre
0.57g salt

Morinaga Choco Flake – Cookies and Cream

Our very first Japanese cereal review. We’ve got a weird one at that. It looks to be an iteration of Cookies and Cream flakes, even with small chunks of black cookies to boot. This was from a Japanese supermarket in Singapore, and cost me S$3.80 (GBP1.90)

For those of us out there who dont quite know what or who Morinaga is, they’re a well-distributed (i.e globally) Japanese brand of confectionery, savoury snacks, ice cream, buns, (i can’t think of any further categories of foodstuff). they make mini chocolate pie puffs called Pie-no-mi, which claim to be masterful 28-layered pastries that taste wonderful after a bout in the microwave. That alone should show you the lengths to which their creativity extends, and the manner in which they exercise culinary-confectionery know-how. Perhaps an exclusionist rendition of their industry segment would work: they make anything that ISN’T the main meal, and which contains some iteration of a sweetener in them.

So we have established that Morinaga is an established snack brand. So the question is: just how far can their cereals go?

Morinaga’s main cereal offering is the Choco flake, which is pretty self-explanatory.  Chocolate cornflakes arent quite as mainstream in the Western markets as they are in Japan and Korea; i’d say that we’re all more familiar with chocolate rice crispies, chocolate cheerios, chocolate puffs, and other odd shapes; but not the typical “cornflake”. The closest we know of would be chocolate frosties; but even then, I guess you could say that isnt really a “chocolate” cereal.

Enough chatter.

Morinaga has gone one step further, with some vanilla ice cream / cookies and cream variant.

The packaging itself is sufficient to convey the target market. In a medium-sized bag (105g), fully-coloured, bright renditions of sugary flakes, large pictures ice cream, and large, large Japanese words. Could we call this the Lady Gaga of packaging in its loudness?

Not so big, not so small either. Almost perfect-sized flakes, if you ask me. As you can see, they’re about the size of Special K flakes. Nothing out of the ordinary, in that sense.

Boy have we got a winner though, when it comes to taste. The sugar coating on each flake is ridiculously thick. Imagine something with a solid layer of sugar on each side of each flake. Not just that; this doesnt dissolve in milk to give you some sugary syrup a la Fruit Pebbles. These hold their own as nuggets of flaki-sugariness.

Gosh i have difficulty even describing it. It’s THAT unreal.

A blitzkrieg of sugar of the most simple variety (ie white, refined sugar) culminating in the bits of (what’s meant to be) Oreo cookies that adorn every, single, flake. They are so common that instead of hoping to bite into a cookie piece (as is the case with other food products which feature co-stars);

Morinaga blesses you with an abundance of cookie chunks. That said, the cookie chunks werent fantastic tasting. They had a mild cocoa kick to them, but which doesn’t hit you the way Oreos do.

These traits make this a snack that can hold its own even when eaten “dry”. It’s a delight that does not need milk as a “supporting cast”.

That said, the snack is way too sweet for “normal” people. The entire 105g bag had 455kcal in it, and it measured out to a 2 cup serving. Gosh. That’s quite a punch in each tablespoon of cereal (1 cup contains 15 tbsp)

Hence, it’s 227kcal / 1 cup / 52.5g, which is pretty darn calorie-dense for a flake cereal.

 

All in all, this has that level of sugary dryness that Fruity Pebbles have. Certainly it unhealthy, and too sweet; but hey – my problem is that i have a serious sweet tooth.

Which is why i loved this snack/cereal.

I don’t even know how to classify it.

-The Exercising Male

Banana Nut Cheerios

Ah Cheerios; “so much goodness in those little Os” apparently, yet the original variety I find to be fairly displeasing, not particularly appetising and with not the best of nutritionals compared to other “healthier” cereals, I rarely find myself striding home with a big box full of things. However in the U.S. of course everything is always bigger and better and the Cheerios market is no exception with various different flavours to choose from! Although not being a huge fan of regular Cheerios I just knew that I had to sample one of the wonderful varieties the U.S. market had to offer.

Banana Nut Cheerios

Looking through the supermarket aisle I decided upon “Banana Nut”; I rarely have the chance to sample banana flavoured cereals back home, other than the odd occasional instant oatmeal, so I knew that this was the one that I had to try!

It seems to be that, looking at the packaging, this is once again marketed as a “healthier” cereal to appeal to those that want something “nutritious” for breakfast but aren’t too keen on a bowlful of bran what with “wholegrain” and “flavoured with REAL banana”. However marketing, as we all know, can be deceiving and looking at the nutritionals of these they actually weigh in at a whopping 32g of sugar per 100g! Maybe not the healthiest choice after all.

Banana Nut Cheerios

Unlike other more calorific cereals – granola etc, the good thing about these Cheerios is that despite their higher sugar levels they are actually pretty light, so although you may pour yourself a large bowlful they’ll probably only end up weighing in at around 30-40g and leave you feeling as if you’ve had a decent portion despite minimal calories.

Banana Nut Cheerios

Anyway enough about the nutritionals! How do these taste? Well actually they are quite nice; the banana flavour is fairly authentic and real tasting and don’t worry there is no horrific artificial aftertaste burn to be had here! It is pleasantly sweet and mixes nicely with the well known oaty corny flavour of the standard Cheerio with a slight nutty background flavour element to be experienced.

They hold up pretty much the same as regular Cheerios in milk; staying crunchy/firm for a reasonable amount of time whilst the outside slowly softens up leaving a faint banana flavour in the milk – unfortunately the cereal milk left in the bowl isn’t ground-breaking, it’s lightly flavoured of banana but certainly nothing to write home about, I wouldn’t wanna buy a carton full of the stuff!

Banana Nut Cheerios

I ended up eating the rest of this box of Banana Nut Cheerios as I would the standard ones; either as a yoghurt topper or mixed in with other bits n bobs. I don’t know what it is about Cheerios but they never really appeal to me to have as a full bowl of cereal , I guess I just don’t find them exciting enough. Never mind, they were nice to try.

Banana Nut Cheerios
per 100g

357kcals
3.6g protein
85g carbs (32g sugar)
3.6g fat (0g saturates)
7g fibre

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