This time of the year, as the thermometer plummets and stuffing your hands in your crotch becomes an essential component of keeping warm, it’s customary to crave traditional warm foods like chili, roasted root vegetables, and a whole host of things capable of giving your tongue a third-degree burn.
Also capable of giving your tongue a third-degree burn: s’mores. Granted, the combination of chocolate, graham cracker, and marshmallow isn’t exactly associated with comfort food for the winter, but cereal companies need something to sell us after the post Thanksgiving and Christmas blitz of all things pumpkin and gingerbread. Might as well be hot sounding, right?
I have absolutely no problem with this concept. In fact, I happen to practice a strict doctrine of non-discrimination when it comes to empty carbohydrates and the seasons, and applaud Kellogg’s attempts to do the same. I speak, of course, of S’more Krave Cereal. The new cereal has jumped the gun in invading grocery stores in front of the new cereal blitz we see each January, replacing the classic also-ran Smorz cereal that’s been slowly disappearing from shelves. It’s a sad day in my household when one cereal dies, but in the case of Smorz, I won’t be mourning too long.
With box art featuring what one imagines to be a completely unrealistic marketing image of chocolate and marshmallow bursting forth from an oversized graham cereal biscuit, I naturally assumed Krave’s rendition of the classic campfire dessert would be far superior to Smorz. And in case it wasn’t, well, at least there’s always the trusty S’mores Pop-Tart.
Frequent readers may know I have something of an infatuation with that initial moment when you open up a cereal box and are greeted by that wonderfully processed yet always nostalgic smell of unadulterated empty carbs and “natural and artificial” flavor. I wouldn’t go so far to label it a fetish, but I won’t hold it against you if you call it weird. I also won’t hold it against you if you find Krave S’mores to smell something like dog food dessert, if such a thing exists. That’s because it does smell off, and this is coming from the guy who would make Lucky Charms into a cologne if he could.
Notwithstanding this highly questionable aroma, each biscuit is engrained (ha, food group pun!) with a sturdy shell of graham flour which yields a crunchier bite than the standard Krave pieces. I like the initial dry crunch of each biscuit, but the graham flavor leaves a lot to be desired. If, like me, you enjoy a bit of honey crunch in your graham (think Golden Grahams) you’ll be disappointed. It’s more whole-grainy graham than anything else, and not really sweet.
The filling, on the other hand, tastes just like the insides of a S’mores Pop-Tart, with the welcomed addition of a slightly toasted flavor and viscosity you almost never see in cereals. The filling tastes and feels like a slightly melted marshmallow and milk chocolate square; in other words, a s’more.
If eating dozens of little S’mores Pop-Tarts for breakfast sound too good to be true, it is. See, the sheer logistical realities of Krave’s filling-to-shell ratio make delivering flavor in a single biscuit almost as impossible as lighting a fire in Siberia with nothing but two twigs and a prayer. I’m not saying it’s inconceivable, but the inconsistent filling ratio makes getting said s’more flavor really only possible by stuffing numerous biscuits in your mouth at one time.
However, there’s an enjoyable sweet fudgy quality to the biscuits in milk, but the biscuits do lose their toasted marshmallow and graham flavor. They also don’t leave very good end-milk, as the sturdy graham coating refuses to allow any of the scant chocolate and marshmallow filling to populate the lake of greying 2%.
Nevertheless, one could do much worse in attempting to recreate a s’more, especially this time of the year. Far be it for me to freeze my ass off trying to light a fire outside with nothing but two sticks and a prayer, it’s sometimes more practical to get one’s summertime dessert fix from the convenience of a cereal box than the genuine article.
While giving up my proverbial smoldering marshmallow on a cicada poop-laced twig is unfortunate, I must say that as a dry snack, I find S’mores Krave to be one of the more complete recreations of s’mores in prepackaged breakfast form to date. While I’d like the graham flavor to be more honey laced, crunchy, and basically like Golden Grahams, the truth is that it stills tastes better than the edgy crusts of a Pop-Tart. Not only that, but the filling more than makes up for the graham element.
Just be prepared to throw suggested serving sizes out the window, because to get the real flavor of s’mores, you’ll want to eat a lot of it, straight from the box.
(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup or 31 grams – 120 calories, 30 calories from fat, 3.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 105 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 3 gram of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)
Item: Kellogg’s S’mores Krave Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 11 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Authentic milk chocolate and toasted marshmallow flavor is breaking new ground for cereals. Crunchier than regular Krave. Better “crust” than S’mores Pop-Tarts. Doesn’t involve starting a fire in the snow. Actually kind of healthy when you think about it.
Cons: Graham flavor lags behind Golden Grahams. No honey glaze. Filling is really, really, really scarce in a single biscuit. Smells like dog food. Questionable winter warming strategies.