REVIEW: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal

This autumn, tens of thousands of students will head back to school with great expectations for their upcoming social and academic year. By the end of their first week, though, they’ll have those expectations checked; or as I like to say, completely and miserably crushed.

Such is also the case for millions of Americans, who’ll be reminded that eating something labeled “pumpkin spice” in August or September does not always equate with being served a rich and indulgent slice of pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving table. But that doesn’t mean all pumpkin spice products are the equivalent of your 11th hour essay for which you received (and deserved) a D-minus. As a matter of fact, some of these pumpkin spice products are actually pretty good, even good enough to disguise the fact that there’s no actual pumpkin in the product.

Take the new Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal. When I first heard a mainstream cereal company was doing a pumpkin spice (and not pepita) flavored cereal, I pretty much decided my life was complete. I mean, we’re talking about my two great loves here, and combining them had the potential to answer the “what do you want for breakfast” question for the rest of my life.

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal 2

But when I finally bought the Mini Wheats and realized there was no pumpkin in their eight layers of whole grains and fiber, I realized I may have fallen into the yearly trap of getting my pumpkin hopes set too high. Sure, there’s cinnamon, allspice, and ginger, but the lack of pumpkin puree gave me second thoughts. Experience tells us the pumpkin spice spectrum ranges are pretty wide with just as many misses as hits. Would this be the pumpkin spice of the excellent Pumpkin Spice Oreo Cookies? Or, as I suddenly feared, a repeat of the Pumpkin Spice M&M’s?

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal 4

Much to my taste buds’ delight but my guts’ chagrin, those eight layers of fiber coated in pumpkin spice tasted much more like the former. The pumpkin spice is sweet, loud, floral, nutty, and hardly resigned to being the proverbial afterthought of vague cinnamon flavor and orange hue that some products hide behind. I thought the spices complemented each other nicely and tasted extremely fresh when eaten as a dry snack. When I sampled them against an industrial-sized bag of pumpkin spice (eh, like I said, pumpkin is one of my great loves), it compared favorably.

The downside of the cereal is that, like so many other cereals, it just has no way to convey a sense of richness. This is definitely a must for any product trying to capture some of the seasonal synergy of pumpkin, and it would have distracted my taste buds from the much-too-healthy wheat-y underside of each biscuit.

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal 3

This wheat-y taste was actually more apparent when I ate the cereal in, go figure, whole milk. Unfortunately, the “frosting” of the biscuits is very one-note in sweetness. Unfortunately, the “frosting” of the biscuits is very one-note in sweetness, and it’s not the kind of brown sugar and cream sweetness which, for lack of a better explanation, transforms a squash into the most iconic of fall sweets. Knowing that Frosted Mini Wheats has nailed Cinnamon Roll and Maple flavors before makes accepting the sweetness’ lack of depth all the more disappointing.

Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal is a reminder that it’s easy to get caught up in unrealistic expectations during pumpkin season, and in hindsight, expecting a pumpkin spice cereal to taste like pumpkin pie is like expecting to graduate summa cum laude while also being an All-American on the football team and Homecoming King.

Possible? Yeah, but no worse for wear if you only nail one of the three honors. Because in capturing the multifaceted spices that make up “pumpkin spice,” Frosted Mini Wheats breaks new ground in a seasonal cereal realm usually reserved for Apple Cinnamon, and kicks off pumpkin spice season with a worthy addition in a saturated market.

(Nutrition Facts – 25 Biscuits – 190 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Frosted Mini Wheats Pumpkin Spice Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 15.5 oz box
Purchased at: Giant Food
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Very good representation of pumpkin spice flavor. Doesn’t taste too heavily of cloves, which everyone knows is the most heavy and distracting of fall spices. Crunchy, sweet biscuits with mock icing. Eight layers of fiber and whole grains.
Cons: Getting a B when you’re expecting an A+. Doesn’t taste like pumpkin pie. Lacks richness of cream and maple flavors in milk. Binging on cereal. Back to school.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes Cereal

Kellogg's Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes Cereal

It can be said that the less excited you are about something, the greater the opportunity it has to pleasantly surprise you. That’s the optimistic view, anyway. So when a product’s name contains the words “Rice” and “Multi-Grain,” well, it has a pretty good chance to impress you by being even halfway decent.

Fair or not, I tried to temper my expectations to reasonable levels when buying Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Multi-grain Shapes. I like regular Rice Krispies just fine, but they don’t top the list of my absolute favorite cereals, and multi-grain bread and I are historically not friends. (Actually, thanks to my younger daughter’s allergies, ANY store-bought bread and I aren’t friends, but that’s another story.)

That said, the box itself mitigates this a bit, offering hope via Pop’s sign proclaiming the cereal to be “lightly sweetened graham flavored.” That’s promising, and though it carries a hint of trying to have their cake and eat it too (“Hey parents, we’re healthy, buy us… wait, kids, come back, we also taste like graham crackers and have fun shapes!”), they’re certainly not the only cereal to try that tactic. Frosted Mini-Wheats, anyone?

Moving on, the rest of the box is rather bland, swapping out the classic blue Rice Krispies palette for bright yellow. On the plus side, the elves remain in their classic form; Kellogg’s hasn’t tried to youthanize them with baggy shorts, earrings, and baller shades.

The back of the box is surprisingly busy, combining bad jokes, a recipe for Popcorn Munchie Mix, and myriad reasons to buy this product. One touts that buying this cereal is a “Smart Move, Mom,” so as far as Kellogg’s is concerned, all you stay-at-home dads and men who do the grocery shopping can go fuck yourselves.

Opening up the plastic bag immediately wafts a strong smell into your nostrils, and I’m sorry to report it isn’t pleasant. Describing aromas is always hard, but just know that it smells slightly musty and not at all sweet, like your grandmother’s attic minus the slim chance of finding a copy of Action Comics #1. Not ideal, but then the taste is ultimately the only thing that really matters. So here we are: spoon in hand, milk in bowl, do-or-die time. Will the taste send Multi-Grain Shapes home in ignominious defeat?

But no! Far from it, that first bite is the equivalent of, if not a home run, at least a line drive past a diving shortstop for extra bases. This may actually be the only product I’ve ever tasted where the multi-grain version is more flavorful than the “regular” edition. Which is both surprising and terrific, frankly.

Oddly enough — because this is maybe the last cereal in the world I’d have expected to compare multi-grain Rice Krispies to — the taste isn’t entirely dissimilar to Waffle Crisp. I know, it sounds crazy and/or blasphemous, but the texture is very similar and the graham flavor of the Krispies shapes is somehow akin to the faux syrup flavor of the WC.

Honestly, if you’re a regular patron of Waffle Crisp, consider Multi-Grain Shapes as a viable alternative, if only because they’re a smidge healthier. (Only a smidge, though, in case you thought this was the breakfast equivalent of eating celery.)

Kellogg's Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes Cereal Closeup

I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the shapes because they sort of morph a bit in milk, plus I’m ostensibly an adult. They’re not the most interesting of shapes, really — nothing like little C-3PO heads or ghosts. There are four in total: a stick figure, a tree, a Star of David, and a (Jesus?) fish. Which makes them pretty welcome in our dual faith household, and since the tree obviously represents Wiccans, it’s almost a shame the stick figure isn’t (as far as I know) a recognized symbol of Islam, or we’d have a damn progressive cereal on our hands here. Or maybe I’m looking at it the wrong way and it’s supposed to be a Wicker Man. Got to throw those pagans a bone too. (Lucky Charms don’t count.)

Okay, I’m getting weird, which generally means it’s time to wrap things up. Bottom line: don’t let the “multi-grain” part turn you off if you demand taste over healthiness. Conversely, if you ARE concerned with good nutrition first and foremost, you get a nice bonus of some delicious cereal to nom nom. Whether tempered expectations helped or not, I can honestly report that this is a pretty darn good breakfast option. Enjoy!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Cup – 110 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 50 milligrams of potassium, 24 grams of total carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 10.8 oz box
Purchased at: Acme
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Tastes better paired with a beer than you’d expect. The price is right. Religiously inclusive breakfast cereal. Who ever thought a Rice Krispies affiliate would ever evoke Waffle Crisp? Reasonably healthy.
Cons: Smells like a mummy’s tomb. Distinct lack of any snap, crackle, and/or pop sound. I lied that none of the elves have been modernized, Crackle actually is wearing sneakers and jeans… you watch your ass, son. Now I’m going to expect ALL healthy cereals to taste good.

REVIEW: General Mills Chocolate Toast Crunch Cereal

General Mills Chocolate Toast Crunch Cereal

Hear that? That’s the dead echo of all the New Year’s resolutions I’ve fulfilled.

Indeed, aside from taking a multi-vitamin, my plans for non-stop, full-throttle self-improvement don’t seem to always follow through, and what starts in January as, “I’m going to plant a window garden and read Plato’s The Republic and stop a forest fire with my mind!” translates in May to, “Maybe I’ll take out the trash. But it’s raining. So I’ll do it later. Maybe.” What is it that gets my bedraggled mind so trampled in this mellifluous maelstrom of mediocrity?

After decades of research, I have uncovered that its motion begins right here at the breakfast table. Yes, America, it is at this temple of Early Risers and Eager Minds, where caffeine, cholesterol, and morning cohesion come together to form a somewhat put-together portion of myself, and yet I’ve recently cast the breakfast table aside, trading it in for those five extra minutes of sleep before I hop out the door trying to put on my left shoe, looking as coordinated as an intoxicated platypus. But 2014’s a new year and I’m going fuel my brain with more than Nutri-Grain. Just in the nick of time, General Mills is handing out one more Big G cereal for 2013: Chocolate Toast Crunch.

General Mills Chocolate Toast Crunch Cereal The Chocolate Cereal Proposal

“Naturally flavored chocolate”? Hmmm… sounds shady. I can see we may be headed into precarious territory. We better put on our Danger Pants.

Danger Pants buckled and spoon in-hand, I burst open the bag and am met with a familiar scent. A scent of cocoa power and sugar and cereal-saturated chocolate milks of yore, whispering secrets of Cocoa Puffs into my nostalgia-seeking nose. While I’m a little freaked out that a cereal can whisper, I reach down shovel in the first spoonful.

Starting off on a solid foundation, I’m pleased to find that the texture of these 1/2-inch bites holds the same half-crispy, half-crunchy experience as its Crunch Toast counterparts. The surface of each 4-sided geometric shape is crosshatched with small ridges, allowing for an excellent play on texture while also making your bowl look like its filled with dollhouse-sized textured wallpaper samples.

General Mills Chocolate Toast Crunch Cereal Cocoa bits right out of the bag

Fortunately, these taste nothing of wallpaper. Living up to the old slogan, each shrunken bit of toast holds a thick, brown-tinged, sugary crust of “the taste you can see.” The pleasant grit from this cinnamon-cocoa sugar is like an edible hug: full of a cocoa burst and a slightly warm cinnamon end, it harkens back to memories of a cinnamon sugar doughnut, only thinner, crispier, and generously dunked in cocoa. The cocoa is of a lighter, alkali-processed sort. The bitterness from a darker, Dutch cocoa might have added a nice bitter, coffee-ish contrast to the sugar, but to nitpick over what could’ve been is about as useful as making a workout video for Santa Claus. (He has a “bowl full of jelly.” That’s just how it is. Says so in a poem.)

Not only do these crunchy wheat-and-rice bits prove themselves of high quality in their dry form, but they also hold up admirably when saturated with leche, the sugared cocoa generously dispersing itself as it colors the milk with its chocolatey, cerealy-ness while still leaving enough of the coating clinging to the cereal itself. The resulting milk brew has a cocoa level on par with Cocoa Puffs/Pebbles, yet the cereal’s shape is notably sturdier, allowing you to choose whether you want to slurp or spoon the last of your bowl. Either way, you’ll have cocoa to the final gulp.

And that reminds me: since the cocoa isn’t shy here, it has the power to play well with other flavors. Maybe try it with some almond milk, or, if you’re feeling zesty, reach for the strawberry milk or Espresso Gelato. It’s okay. Go wild. You have your Danger Pants on, remember?

General Mills Chocolate Toast Crunch Cereal The Taste You Can See!

On my list of things to improve in the world: diesel fuel, laptop speakers, standard-issue toilet paper. I never imagined cocoa cereal would or could be on this list, let alone that it may stand up against my all-time-favorite, discontinued-in-America Oreo O’s, and yet General Mills, being the daring lunatics they are, gave it their best heave-ho. While not surpassing the O’s, the risk paid off. It may not be the first time I’ve have cocoa for breakfast, but somehow the crunch of the wee little rectangles combined with the cinnamon-cocoa sugar reminds me of a churro and made this one of the more successful pairing of grains and chocolate I’ve had the fortune to scarf down. Some may call the General crazy for bringing out such a fantastic new Toast Crunch on the cusp of the New Year, but what is “crazy”?

Well, if these toasty squares have anything to do with it, it’s a different way to see ourselves, be ourselves, to go out and live in a new and exciting way, and these cocoa-cinnamon squares? They inspire me to do just that.

So, who’s crazy now?

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup (31 g) – 130 calories, 35 calories from fat, 4 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 85 milligrams of potassium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: General Mills Chocolate Toast Crunch Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 12.7 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Crispy-crunchy. Nifty ridges. Crusty cocoa-cinnamon coating. Taste you can see. Churro in cereal form. Makes good chocolatey cereal milk. Encourages breakfast-related resolutions. Reason to eat more gelato. Brave lunatics. Danger Pants.
Cons: Reminds me how I miss Oreo O’s. Laptop speakers. Standard-issue toilet paper. Delusions of whispering cereal.

REVIEW: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch Cereal

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch Cereal

Because I’m not one myself, I can’t be absolutely certain what kind of cereal Power Rangers go shopping for. That being said, I’d imagine they’d probably be among the first to buy the new Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch.

Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch has all the nutritional components that allow Powers Rangers to summon Megazords and head-butt endless armies of Putty Patrollers. Each serving has important, energizing vitamins and minerals in addition to 2/3 of your daily dose of whole grains, not to mention six grams of protein to help fit into those slim-fit leotards for another busy morning battling a golden-armored lion people thing in the streets below Beverly Hills.

I won’t lie—that kind of energy supply is usually beyond the scope of what I look for in a cereal. Given that the most activity I get on an average morning comes from carefully timed strolls to the reception desk’s candy jar at the office, you might even say a cereal with 220 calories a serving is a bit overkill for someone who couldn’t execute a round-house kick in Mortal Kombat 3, much less morph into the Red Ranger.

Still, I’m not going to discriminate when it comes to adding chocolate to the hugely popular Honey Bunches of Oats line, especially since its been three or four years since Post pulled the plug on Honey Bunches of Oats with Real Chocolate Clusters, which before its discontinuation was one of my most loved “adult” cereals.

At first, I was skeptical. I may have loved the “real chocolate” clusters in the original chocolate rendition of Honey Bunches of Oats, but if there’s a synonym for “half-ass” in the cereal world, it might just be “chocolatey.”

At best the chocolatey pieces of partially hydrogenated oil and corn syrup in cereals like Special K Chocolatey Delight are a distraction; at worst, they’re enough to make Willy Wonka think about getting into the plastics industry. Styrofoamy, flat-tasting, and about as rich as the hobo you give your spare change to, those imitation squares of “chocolate” thankfully don’t show up in the new Chocolatey Almond Crunch flavor. Instead the tiny pieces of not-quite chocolate “chocolate” have a firm texture and semi-sweet flavor. It might not be Godiva or even Hershey’s quality, but for a cereal the substitute does the trick, even taking on an element of richness when eaten with whole milk.

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch Cereal Wet

The small “chocolatey” bricks are only a supporting element to the cereal, however, which brings together the classic, slightly malty honeyed glaze of whole grain flakes with the superior crunch of oat clusters the size of asteroids. And yes, these free-falling bricks of cocoa powder and toasted oats are definitely asteroid like. I encountered several large clusters in a random pour, and enjoyed the distinctive crunch and deep cocoa powder flavor both with and without milk.

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch Cereal Dry

There’s a brown sugar taste to them, but the cocoa powder is what dominates, blending in smoothly with the buttery anise undertones of slivered almonds. In that respect, the cereal reminded me a lot of Fiber One’s Nutty Clusters & Almonds, except with a much pronounced and irregularly shaped cluster and a cocoa flavor. Bits of crisped rice, barley, and wheat germ make an appearance as well, giving each spoonful a slightly exotic and toasted multigrain note that balances the 12 grams of sugar per serving.

Clearly, I’m very high on this cereal, although not nearly as high as Bulk and Skull were on a regular basis during the first three seasons of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Not only does the Morning Energy variety pack more cocoa and chocolate flavor than the old Honey Bunches of Oats with Real Chocolate Clusters, but they have a seriously “mealtime” feel to them which actually backs up the overt nutritional marketing ploys.

That being the case, you’ve been warned; as a granola-type cereal, there’s definitely a health halo involved here. Before I knew it I had munched my way through half a box, and all I had to show for this supposed influx of energy was three trips to the office candy jar and not a single withering Putty Patroller to my name. Still, I figure cereal sales can’t be upheld by a band of five ridiculously good-looking multicultural karate experts and faux superheroes.

So even though I may not be actively stopping the imminent takeover of the planet earth by Rita Repulsa, I like to think my newfound brand loyalty to the Morning Energy line might just keep Post from discontinuing their Chocolatey Almond Crunch flavor, thus ensuring that when future generations of Power Rangers head to the supermarket, they won’t be made to settle for the empty sugar crashes inspired by all the usual suspects.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 220 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 150 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams potassium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 5 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and 6 grams of protein.)

Item: Post Honey Bunches of Oats Morning Energy Chocolatey Almond Crunch Cereal
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 12.5 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Great “meal” cereal. Classic Honey Bunches of Oats taste with malted cocoa and chocolate flavor. Oat clusters the size of asteroids. Buttery almonds. Actually enjoyable multigrain element. Actively supporting your local Power Rangers.
Cons: “Granola” effect kills health appeal. Chocolate pieces still not as good as actual chocolate chips. Searching for Bulk and Skull on YouTube.

REVIEW: Special K Nourish Maple Brown Sugar Crunch Hot Cereal

Kellogg's Special K Maple Brown Sugar Crunch Nourish Hot Cereal

You may be asking: Why in all the magical golden coins of Super Mario would I want to buy two bowls of portable oatmeal with some mix-ins?

Well, that just brings up a slew of other questions: Why fry a Snickers? Why make your own piñata? Why learn to surf in a pool of whale sharks? Why, in fact, should you do anything? I’ll tell you why: because you are a great human. You want to reach higher. To be all you can be. To walk into work not only with your shoes on the right feet, but with a little kick that says “I am a great human and I am here to change the world.” And how, with a 1:30 bedtime and a 4:30 wake-up call, can you have the consciousness to do that?

Kellogg's Special K Maple Brown Sugar Crunch Nourish Hot Cereal Cup

Breakfast.

Preparing to fully bank on this need for early morning sustenance, Special K’s kicked out this new line of oatmeal so you can microwave a bowl of whole grains in your office, dorm, or as you brush your hair before dashing out the door, spooning mouthfuls as you swerve through the 7:30 traffic, without even grabbing a bowl. And this spurs the next question: Is it worth it?

That depends.

Kellogg's Special K Maple Brown Sugar Crunch Nourish Hot Cereal Closeup

On first glance, I figured there’s nothing revolutionary going on here. It’s just a mushy, but oddly comforting bowl of cooked oats, right? Oh how wrong I was. Underneath the goopy exterior rests an amalgam of grains that stretches the vocabulary of Kansas agriculture: there’s oats, some wheat, barley, and even quinoa, which I appreciate because it has a “Q” in it. Q words are so hard to come by these days.

While there were four grains in there, the sweet, malty oats still stand at the forefront of flavor. I was quite pleased that Special K opted for whole oats rather than the puny chopped up instant ones, which often make me feel underappreciated and begging for more like a character in a Dickens novel.

The accompanying mix-ins include two packets of toasted almonds, which, while a bit flavorless in their unsalted way, serve as quality crunch nubbins, and the separated dual packets of almonds allowed me to plop one segment in the top half of the oatmeal while saving some for the bottom, thus preventing Boring Bottom Half of Oatmeal Syndrome.

Unfortunately, there’s no actual maple syrup involved here. Instead, the oatmeal is swirled with what I imagine are little dehydrated maple crystals that, when looked at under a microscope, might be mistaken for those frightening rhinestones people put on their cell phones that blind you on a sunny day. While the maple bits add a nice smell of maple to the air, the sugar-y-ness of maple is subdued after preparation, but let’s face it: dehydrated maple bits are no substitute for the Grade-B Vermont liquid gold.

Otherwise, this is pretty successful in that straightforward, no frills way, even if there were only two bowls. The almonds stay fresh in their little compartments and the single serving allows me to stuff the bowl in my bag in the morning while running out the door. It can be prepared in the microwave or, if you wanna get fancy, the bowl provides directions for steeping.

As with all microwave oatmeal, you can whip it up with your liquid of choice, be it water, milk, coffee (and excellent choice), or, depending on the time of day and your mood, maple syrup’s best friend: bourbon. If you’re passing by a McDonald’s or keep a slab of pork belly in your employer’s mini fridge (not that I do…), a side of crispy bacon would make an excellent pairing.

As fall whisks its merciless wind through the tethers of my flimsy cardigan, this oatmeal seems perfectly timed. It’s warm, hearty brain food that I can grab on the way out the door. I don’t see myself buying this all the time, but it makes me feel cozy enough to wear footie pajamas to work. In fact, perhaps I will! Tomorrow! If you see me in my footie pajamas on the subway, know that I am not committing an act of defiance. It is merely a symptom of being filled with hot cereal.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 container– 190 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 170 milligrams of potassium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 5 gram of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugars, and 8 grams of protein.)

Item: Special K Nourish Maple Brown Sugar Crunch Hot Cereal
Purchased Price: $2.78
Size: 2 pack
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: No frills. Easy to prepare. Big whole oats. Crunchy almonds. Magically dissolving maple-y bits. Slabs of pork belly. The option of preparing with bourbon. Making a piñata. Wearing footie pajamas to work.
Cons: Only 2 bowls. No actual maple syrup. 4:30 wake-up calls. Feeling like a character in a Dickens novel. Endangered “Q” words. Being blinded by cell phone bling.

REVIEW: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry Cereal

Kellogg's Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry

Do you know what’s romantic?

Chocolate-covered strawberries.

Awww yeah! You can take one and lightly stroke it on various parts of your lover’s body, letting body heat melt the chocolate, which leaves behind a gooey mess your tongue will have to clean up while your lover eats the juicy strawberry and whatever chocolate didn’t end up on his or her body.

Do you know what also has chocolate and strawberries but is significantly less romantic than chocolate-covered strawberries?

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry cereal.

Awww yeah! Nothing says the opposite of sensual than scratchy rice and wheat flakes on your lover’s skin. Sure, some of the freeze-dried strawberries look like areolae, but the brittle, dried fruit and firm chocolatey hyphens will have her or him begging for less.

Kellogg’s Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry cereal looks special because it’s labeled “limited edition,” but it’s not so remarkable because it’s basically two other Special K cereals mixed together — Special K Red Berries and Special K Chocolatey Delight.

It’s that kind of innovation that makes me look forward to other possible Special K limited edition cereal varieties, like Chocolatey Blueberry Special K or Granola, Fruit, Yogurt, Oats & Honey Special K.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog who has been following it since it began in 2004, you might remember me saying some harsh things about Special K Red Berries cereal in another review. I probably used profanity and the adjective “junky” when sharing my thoughts about the cereal with freeze-dried strawberries. My issue with the cereal was its fruit, which got horribly soggy within moments of sitting in milk. As for Special K Chocolatey Delight, I gave it a positive review in 2007.

Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry cereal had a noticeable chocolatey aroma, but my nose didn’t really detect the strawberries. However, while I was shoveling the cereal into my mouth, my taste buds could mostly taste the strawberries, while the chocolatey pieces were muted.

Freaky Friday!

Kellogg's Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry Closeup

I last tried Special K Red Berries cereal in 2005 and it seems freeze-dried strawberry technology has improved because the ones in this limited edition cereal didn’t absorb milk as quickly as a National Spelling Bee favorite absorbs a dictionary. As for the chocolatey pieces, they’re solid so there’s no need to worry about them getting milk logged.

In the box I purchased, there were significantly more chocolatey bits than freeze-dried strawberries, but you’re almost guaranteed to get one or the other in each spoonful.

I keep saying “chocolatey” because the chocolatey bits in the cereal aren’t made with real chocolate, like the stuff Hershey bars are made of. They lack what makes real chocolate awesome, like cocoa butter. Instead they’re waxy, less sweet, and they taste Tootsie Roll-ish.

Of course, if Kellogg’s used real chocolate, this cereal wouldn’t have Special K-like nutrition facts. But for what they are, they’re not bad. However, I wish they had a stronger flavor. Heck, the crispy flakes overpower the chocolatey flavor. As for the strawberries they’re more tart than sweet and I enjoyed their flavor, but my box needed a lot more of them.

Special K’s Limited Edition Chocolatey Strawberry Cereal was a bit disappointing and strange. I liked it for what I thought I wouldn’t enjoy and disliked it for what I thought I would love. It’s also not an inventive limited edition cereal variety. So if you’re one of those people who regularly eats all the Special K cereals, this one will probably not seem special to you.

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 110 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 80 milligrams of potassium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, and fortified with vitamins and minerals to make us awesome.)

Item: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Special K Chocolatey Strawberry Cereal
Purchased Price: $3.99 (on sale)
Size: 11 ounce box
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Freeze-dried strawberries don’t absorb milk as quickly as a college kid absorbs alcohol at a frat party. Pleasant strawberry flavor. Feeding the one you love chocolate-covered strawberries.
Cons: It’s basically Special K Chocolatey Delight and Red Berries combined. Weak chocolatey flavor. Needs more strawberry. Cereal ruins romance.