Friday, 19 April 2013

What is life without cereal? | MEGA-POST!

I feel like I have gone through a rite of passage with regards to the type of cereal which I eat.

Before coming to London, if someone mentioned 'cereal', I would think of NestlĂ©'s Honey Stars, Cookie Crisp, or something sweet and crunchy which involves chocolate. (Click here for my first post, in which this mindset is demonstrated perfectly.) In my household, the normal cereal in the main cupboard was for my third brother and I, while the wheat-nut-leaves-whatever-stuff-grown-in-a-field-sort-of-thing cereal in the corner cupboard was eaten by mum and my second brother. I never cared to find out the difference between 'muesli' and 'granola' – I was happy with the Honey Stars.

This whole cereal business has become a different story ever since I came to London. The supermarkets' cereal aisles are filled with so many boxes of different brands and varieties, with font sizes getting bigger and bigger as they boast about their health benefits and energy releasing-powers.

There are choices of granola, muesli, oats, shredded wheat, puffed rice, cornflakes, porridge, bran, pillows – and half of them come in grab & go sizes, such as cereal bars, and even biscuits.

This post is going to be as long as the cereal aisle in a Tesco Extra.

These White Chocolate and Strawberry Cereal Bars from Tesco is an awesome buy, at 76p per box. Although each bar is relatively small, (20.8g) they taste fantastic. The bar is more chewy than crunchy, and sweet, with strawberry-flavoured bits, plus white chocolate chips – delightful.

This Kellogg's Special K Red Berry Cereal Bar tastes great too, and is slightly bigger than the previous one, but costs a lot more, at £2 for 5 bars (Tesco), and has a drizzle of yogurt for a topping instead of white chocolate chips, which doesn't do much for the bar, when you can really enjoy the white chocolate chips in the other one. It may be Special K, but doesn't have much calorific difference from the 76p option offered by Tesco.

While the cereal bar is yummy and sweet, I could not stand having more after the first serving of Kellogg's Special K 'Red Berries' cereal, which is made of rice and wheat flakes, with added dried red berries.

I had the impression that the cereal was going to be really good, because it is famous, and, gosh, just look at those generous, dried fruits. I had this cereal with milk, and all I tasted was the sourness of the dried berries, together with the bland cereal – needless to say, I did not like it at all. It would probably be edible with yoghurt, but it was just so unsatisfying with milk. I gave the rest of the box to a friend, in exchange for this:

Jordans Country Crisp with Chunky Nuts is probably one of the best cereals around.

This box of sweetened granola with hazelnuts, pecans, brazil nuts and almonds flakes just makes the world go round. They stay crunchy in milk, and the combined nutty flavours, with the perfect level of sweetness, make the cereal extremely moreish. 

It took me a while to realize and register that 'porridge' in this country does not refer to rice cooked in broth with meat, ginger, peanuts and sesame oil, but oats soaked in warm milk or water, until it all becomes creamy mush.

I have the impression that oats are pretty bland things, so I was a tad sceptical about Quaker's Oat So Simple porridge with Golden Syrup, but I trusted the promise of a Golden Syrup flavour.

I ended up really liking this porridge pot by Quaker Oats. After pouring boiling water into the pot, an aroma of golden syrup causes those nearby to turn their noses curiously. The taste isn't strong, but the porridge is satisfyingly creamy and yummy, and also very filling!

Weetabix is barely edible until you know what to surround it with. Made from wheat, they come in "biscuits" which are basically round blocks which soften and separate in liquid. I have this in the mornings, as they warm me up in the ridiculous "spring" weather of two degrees celsius. After microwaving half a bowl of milk, I stir in two tablespoons of hot chocolate powder (Waitrose's own brand – my favourite so far), then drop in the biscuits and mush them around, making a warm, delicious chocolatey porridge. Golden syrup, honey, or sugar is also a popular choice of topping.

Tesco's Maple and Pecan Crisp is more in crumb-form than it is in cluster-form, and the pecans are barely distinguishable, but they're there among the crisped rice.

But mother of god, this is one good box of cereal. The maple and pecan flavours are so perfect and satisfying, you really can't help but want ten more spoonfuls.

Sainsbury's sells the same kind of cereal, and although it looks more promising, with whole pecans, solid clusters and all, its taste pales in comparison to the awesomeness of Tesco's version. There's just something in the fragrance of Tesco's Maple and Pecan Crisp which ruins it for the rest of the supermarkets' own brands.

I used to take horseback riding lessons when I was 10, so when I see the word 'bran', the first thing that comes to mind are the plain, brown pallets which serve as horse food. Needless to say, I was sceptical of anything on the shelves which call themselves 'bran'.

However, these snack packs of Kellogg's All-Bran Golden Crunch was on offer at Tesco, so I decided to give it a go. Boy, were they good. These were honey-coated or something, and each bite was sweet and yummy.

Kellogg's 'Krave' shouldn't even be classified as a type of cereal. They're more like chocolate-filled biscuit pillows, really.

They're not actually florescent yellow. Lighting issue!

Each biscuit pillow is filled with chocolate hazelnut cream which provides a nice burst of flavour when bitten into. The cream is more of a solid than a liquid, but that can be solved with the use of a microwave. Once you pop a Krave into your mouth, it's impossible to resist a second one. And a third.

Kellogg's Crunchy Nut is apparently voted the best-tasting cereal by, uh, some people, and rightfully so.

The nut in mention is the peanut. Its smell dances under your nose when you open the bag of cereal. Each cornflake is infused with peanut bits, and coated with sugar or something, which goes off into the milk and creates the best after-cereal milk result ever. I often find myself eating Crunchy Nut straight from the bag, unable to stop.
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