I have a complicated relationship with fall. It will always remind me of back to school, which used to be sort of depressing but now just makes me think of sweeter, simpler times. Sometimes I'm clinging onto summer with my teeth, other times, late summer frustrates me, when I'm tired of sweating and eating mealy stone fruit.
This year I'm ready to move on.
I want that chill in the air, I want those colored leaves, I want that panic rising in my chest when I walk through the city thinking when did you all get the time and money to buy a fall wardrobe?! But most importantly, I want the flavors of fall.
You can't go far in the food world these day without talking about seasonality and fall is a damn good season for eating. Goodies are flavored and filled with pumpkin, cranberry and apple, cinnamon and spice. So, should we cereal lovers get in on the action? Oh we most certainly should!
There is a very small but important group of apple cereals out there. I guess we should get right to the point and say that we have Apple Jacks to thank for bringing this strange cereal flavor into the mainstream. I mean, if you think about it, there are plenty of other assorted fruit flavors of cereal (Fruity Pebbles, Froot Loops, Trix, etc) but rarely has one single fruit flavor been celebrated in cereal form like the classic apple.
Note: I'm sure there are plenty of healthy apple cereals out there, I just wasn't able to find them. A quick search resulted in a mysterious Kashi cereal called Apple Orchard but I couldn't find it at my local supermarket. So looks like I'll just have to stick with the sweeter ones for now. Oh, and of course we can't forget Apple Cinnamon oatmeal. (This is outside of my area of expertise, so check out our taste test!)
The undisputed king of apple cereal, I'm just going to say that Apple Jacks are pretty freaking awesome.
Sugary O's with those strange little pink bumps we can only assume are seeds. Do I know why some of them are orange? No. (Clearly the green ones are the freshest of Granny Smiths.) Do they taste anything like apples? Not in the slightest.
But as far back as I can remember, Apple Jacks have been among the in-crowd of sugary cereals. It times it may seem they play the brown-haired Theresa to Froot Loops' blonde Barbie: never anyone's first choice but when you look closer, they are far more attractive and intelligent. And by that, I mean, their flavor is totally unique and delicious in its own right.
In 2010, Apple Jacks Clones were released as a limited edition cereal. I was skeptical at first, but addition is cosmetic only. And I'll be darned if that little "apple shaped" neon red guy didn't win me over.
Apple Cinnamon Cheerios
Though they may be the same shape and "flavor," there is no sense in comparing Apple Cinnamon Cheerios to Apple Jacks. They're just totally different breeds of cereal.
They are hard and crunchy, more spicy than sugary. Cheerios are a pretty superior cereal, and I find most of their varieties to be fairly awesome as well. But we'll discuss that in a later post. (Extensively.) There is a warm, cinnamon flavor and a nice crunchy, bit-of-sugar coating that brings these babies to the next level of tasty.
"They taste like fall!" claimed Jessica. Indeed, they do. An underrated Cheerios variety that I will certainly be paying more attention to in the future.
Caramel Apple Pebbles Boulders
When the lovely folks from Post dropped by last week to do a tasting, I was thrilled to see a variety of Pebbles unfamiliar to me: Boulders.
This limited edition variety has arrived just in time for the season with Caramel Apple flavor. I was extremely intrigued by such a rare flavor occurrence in the cereal world. They are a fun mixture of brownish"boulders" shapes and little green dog bones. If you like apple candy flavored things, this is the cereal for you.
It's caramel-y but not overly sweet with a distinct tartness of apple Jolly Ranchers. I'm looking forward to seeing what flavors emerge next.
So maybe none of these cereals taste anything like real apples. But even though my taste buds say, "I'm tasting sugar and grain and a hint of cinnamon," in my heart I'm strolling through apple orchards biting into crisp, freshly picked apples, the most perfect of cool breezes blowing through my hair. I gotta give these cereals credit for stepping outside the ordinary.
So, grab one in celebration of fall. And the best part is they are never mealy; because nothing on this sweet earth is more repulsive and disappointing than a mealy apple.
What do you think? Any real die hard Apple Jack lovers out there? What about some healthy apple cereals?
About the author: Aside from doing an awesome job with her role as Advertising Sales Manager, Leandra Palermo secretly harbors a lifelong passion with all things crunchy and served with icy cold skim milk. This column represents the culmination of that love affair.