What the heck ever happened to dark chocolate?
One day the internet is inundated with stories touting how amazingly healthy it is, the next day dark chocolate has taken a back seat to quinoa, sustainable fish, and something called freekeh. One day it’s at the peak of its foodie popularity and then the next day it’s just another “Eh, it’s all right” treat, relegated to head scratching and “what ever happened to” questions. Dark chocolate might just be the Barry Foster of pseudo healthy food fads.
I think that’s a pretty pathetic fate and I refuse to acknowledge that the rich, deep sweetness of dark chocolate should languish as a one-and-done star of healthy food. And yes, I’m really forcing this healthy food point, mostly in self-justification of the copious amounts of they-might-have-been dark chocolate cookies I ate throughout the holidays.
Thankfully, Cheerios seems to be in complete accordance and has added to their Multi Grain Cheerios line the new Dark Chocolate Crunch.
Multi Grain Cheerios Dark Chocolate Crunch, aside from having a title longer than that of most dissertations, contains the usual mix of multi grain Cheerios, as well as chocolate drenched Cheerios and crunchy chocolate oat clusters. Based on a semester’s worth of dummy level college statistics and 3-4 exhaustive readings of various editions of Where’s Waldo?, I’ve inferred that approximately 31.2 percent of the Cheerios pieces are covered in the dark chocolate coating.
Dark is the operative word; these rings have a deeper, more natural cocoa flavor than the rings in Chocolate Cheerios, and are much less sweet. It’s as if the chocolate taste is baked into them, as opposed as just covering the surface. At first I was turned off by the sheer cocoa-ness of the pieces, but as I slowly plucked a few of the Os out to munch on, the dark and bittersweet flavor really grew on me. The problem, as far as I’m concerned, is the other 68.8 percent of the Cheerios. The usual multi grain Cheerios mix normally isn’t bad on its own, but it really conflicts with the dark chocolate rings, which lose their exotic and floral appeal amidst the mingling flavors of corn, wheat, and honey.
Similarly, my hopes for the chocolate clusters fell short of expectations, although not nearly as short as Cade Foster’s disastrous field goal attempt against Auburn. Unlike the excellent, asteroid-like clusters in Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch, the clusters in the Dark Chocolate Crunch occur less frequently in proportion with the other ingredients, and are too small to lack a definitive punch or crunch in a given spoonful.
It’s a real shame because the little coal-like clusters have a very enjoyable chocolate flavor when eaten individually, and readily distribute cocoa powder and sugar into a bowl of milk. In that regard Dark Chocolate Crunch pull out a minor win amidst an otherwise disappointing showing, and are my favorite of the now three variations of Multi Grain Cheerios to have in milk.
But seriously, let’s get to the important stuff — mixology. But more specifically with Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter. I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that those hoping for a veritable Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in cereal form will only find the slightest hint of rich chocolate and salty peanut butter and instead will taste mostly (wait for it) the corn bran and wheat aftertaste of Multi Grain Cheerios.
The good news is that there’s nothing stopping you from just chopping up a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup into your morning bowl, although I suppose that would detract a bit from the whole “dark chocolate is healthy” ethos. It’s sort of a Catch 22. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t do well with Catch 22s at the breakfast table.
If there’s one phrase that sums up the new Multi Grain Cheerios Dark Chocolate Crunch, it’s definitely “what might have been.” There are excellent elements at play between the deep dark chocolate flavor of the chocolate rings and the crunchy burst of sweetness provided by the clusters, but both occur too infrequently to give the cereal that indulgent chocolate taste we’re all looking for. Alas, if dark chocolate is to make its comeback in the world of all-the-rage food, it won’t be through cereal.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 110 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 125 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 85 milligrams potassium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)
Item: Multi Grain Cheerios Dark Chocolate Crunch Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 12.1 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Chocolate Os taste stronger and darker than Chocolate Cheerios. Good sweetness and cocoa depth provided by the crunchy clusters. Healthy, as in not pseudo-healthy but actually good for you. Dissolves well in milk and creates tasty end-milk.
Cons: Not as good as some of the other new chocolate cereals. Aftertaste of the multi grain Os don’t work well with the cocoa taste. Not enough chocolate clusters to make a big impact. Didn’t create epic peanut butter and chocolate combination with Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter.