Cereal Eats: Christmas Crunch
My search for holiday cereals has come up surprisingly short. Wouldn't you assume that cereal makers would capitalize on the holiday craze? Where are all the themed cereals and special editions? Alas, I could only find a few. And the only one I could actually acquire was Cap'n Crunch's Christmas Crunch.
The holidays always represent a time of great cereal goodness for me. It was one of the few times a year I was allowed to have a sugary cereal. And for a while, that was actually Cap'n Crunch. I was captivated by its malty, intensely sugary crunch, and the cheery slogan, "You and the Cap'n make it happen!"
It followed me to college, where the crusty golden squares were available by the tubful in the cafeteria. But after that, the Cap'n and I parted ways. I've only had casual brushes with his other offerings like Peanut Butter Crunch and Crunch Berries. A glance at Wikipedia showed me a lost world of the Cap'n's treasures like Deep Sea Crunch, Choco Donuts, Oops! Smashed Berries, Galactic Crunch and more.
And of course, we can't talk about Cap'n Crunch without discussing the fact that, it is, without contest, the most mouth-shredding cereal in existence.
I was amused to discover that once there existed a version called Soft Crunch, which Wikipedia says "was designed to prevent cuts in the roof of consumers' mouths." Haven't seen this on the shelves, so it appears it faded away. I guess true Cap'n Crunch lovers accept the pain as part of the experience.
My hunt for cereal Christmas cheer almost came up short, as I didn't see any Christmas Crunch on the shelves. Thankfully I stumbled onto a magical site called ShopFoodEx.com. I'm forever challenged by NYC grocery stores' lack of cereals (amidst the Citarellas and Dean & Delucas, it's nearly impossible to find a decent box of Reese's Puffs in this town) and this site seems to have a perfect virtual cereal aisle. I was excited to see Malt-O-Meal brands as many of you (ahem, Adam) speak so highly of them. (I still have never had the pleasure.)
The box of Christmas Crunch is as festive as they come, promising bright green and red shapes like trees and stars. I figured it would just taste like regular Cap'n Crunch, with just a little extra fun in the mix, though secretly I was hoping for some sort of "holiday" flavor.
Opening the box, I was fairly surprised to find some pale green and pinkish blobby shapes. I mean, I'm not expecting anything in the Red Razberry Zinger family (10 points to anyone who gets that reference), but the pale, washed-out colors were a bit of a disappointment. The taste? Peculiar. Vaguely fruity and alarmingly sweet. I found myself picking through the colored pieces to get to the original corn and oat pieces, which carried little trace of this strange flavor.
Since I don't have extensive experience with Crunch Berries, I asked intern Zoe if this was what they tasted like, and she said, indeed, it did not. Perhaps if I were a Berry Berry Kix lover, I would be a fan, but this cereal didn't do it for me.
This time Cap'n, we will not be making it happen.
A question on (the lack of) holiday cereals: why when coffee, baked goods, ice cream and more are coming out in all sort of gingerbread, mint, eggnog, maple and cranberry versions, why does cereal get the shaft? Do cereal makers think their target audiences are too young to appreciate the earthiness of pumpkin or the warmth of ginger? Cereal lovers need holiday cheer too. The Cap'n makes a valiant effort, but there's plenty of room for improvement.
This Christmas morning, I probably won't be digging into a box of sugary cereal. As a mature adult I can now buy it any time I please. If there were holiday flavors out there, however, it might be a different story.
Has anyone tried this cereal? Any holiday cereals that I'm missing? And while we're at it, any diehard Cap'n Crunch lovers out there?
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.