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


Alpen Apricot, Almond & Hazelnut Muesli

I love the sudden surge in new varieties of Alpen; there used to be a time long ago when there was only a couple of plain simple varieties, but over the past few years this has steadily been built up upon and although this variety has been lurking around Tesco’s for a while it has recently made an appearance in my local Sainsbury’s store yay!

Alpen Apricot, Almond & Hazelnut Muesli

Consisting of the usual Alpen base of wheatflakes, rolled oats and raisins, this also has the addition of small dried pieces of apricot, slivers of almond and chunks of hazelnut. It’s quite strange; I love dried apricots, their sweet succulent flavour; but when it comes to eating them fresh they just don’t do it for me.

Thankfully they work as a perfect addition to this cereal, now be forewarned; DON’T I repeat DON’T go all continental and soak this muesli..Alpen soaked = disgusting mush. It is more nicer to eat dry, simply with some milk popped on top; I prefer almond milk just purely for its creamy flavour that I feel complements muesli so well.

Alpen Apricot, Almond & Hazelnut Muesli

There are a good amount of dried fruit pieces dispersed throughout the cereal; consisting of not only the dried apricot pieces but also the juicy sultanas, injecting a good sweet flavour; whilst the slivers of almond & hazelnut add not only a good texture contrast; nothing like a good crunch in your cereal bowl, but also an earthy nutty flavour . Yum.

Although I presume this cereal will mainly be eaten by adults ( I can’t really imagine any child striding towards this hint of a cute character here); I do think that it would also be suitable for slightly older kids, as it is not so bland and unflavoursome that it seems “boring”; in fact it’s got a lovely sweet flavour to it.

Alpen Apricot, Almond & Hazelnut Muesli

As always it’s important to see what is left lurking at the bottom of our bowl after a good old bowl of cereal..and I can report that this hits the mark perfectly; what you are left with is a gorgeous apricot almond “sludge” at the bottom of your bowl; creamy sweet and oh so heavenly!

We received a request for us to start placing nutritionals on each our reviews as I know many of you are health conscious out we will try to do this in future when possible!

Alpen Apricot, Almond & Hazelnut Muesli
per 100g

10.1g protein
64.7g carbs
22.2g sugar
5.4g fat (0.8g saturates)
7.6g fibre
0.27g salt

Tesco Hazelnut Crispy Pillows

It’s always nice to start off a review on a nasty note. This is a rip-off of the Kellogg’s Krave cereal. It’s a whole Pound cheaper than the Branded one (at 1.69 vs 2.69), and comes in a cardboard box that’s thicker as well. Not much in terms of a description – the box-art tells you pretty much all you need to know.

In fact, I think the pictures here are WAY more realistic than those used by the original: note how –

1) there aren’t any corny cereal “creatures” here.

2) You can actually SEE the texture of each piece

3)The shade of colour used is equivalent to the actual cereal specimen.

So with that – I’d say Tesco isn’t misrepresenting itself here (I apologize for going over this first – I am a Law student, after all)

THE SPECIMEN: The Pillows are large; about the size of the top digit of your thumb. Not as big as a Bite Size shredded wheat, but still enough to constitute a mouthful (together with milk) when you’re eating it.


Crispy, in a wafer-sort of way, airy as well. the insides are generously filled with a little dollop (I’d estimate 3ml worth) of filling. The cavity isn’t ENTIRELY filled though, I’d say about 3/4s filled. This bodes well – and doesn’t give such an empty bite to it.

Biting into this thing is a separate matter altogether. Thoughts of a confectionery pervade- this isn’t a breakfast cereal! It’s like a separate biscuit delight altogether, something you snack on as a guilty indulgence, something OVER-QUALIFIED as a breakfast cereal. How did Tesco achieve this?
It seems they outdid themselves on quality here. The taste is reminiscent of a cheaper variety of Nutella, yet it delivers the hazelnut message clearly. It isn’t as sweet as you’d expect – in fact it’s less calorific /100g than the typical Krave cereal.
Nutty whiffs amidst the wafer background; breaking into milky smooshiness if you eat this with milk. Oh dear – cereal-gasm there.


There IS one problem with this one. You either get through a bowl too quickly; with each mouthful collapsing and compressing so well in the milk, or, you get through a bowl too slowly, like me, eating them one by one, savouring the texture and subtlety of the hazelnut-wafer amalgam that each piece is so delicately made to resemble.

I do have one question, that I suppose can be posed to any complex cereal product out there – how in the world are these manufactured? I think some credit should be paid to not just he who came up with the concept of such “filled cereal puffs”, but also to he who devised the manufacturing process.

Gotta be some high-flying Food Engineer, or something.

-The Exercising Male.