The world of cereal is so wide and vast and imaginative that occasionally new flavors pass by unnoticed. I'm embarrassed to say that my finger isn't as firmly on the cereal world pulse as it should be. I might be the last to this Cheerios party, but nonetheless, I was excited to try two new just released flavors: Multi Grain Peanut Butter and Dulce de Leche.
Cheerios are sort of the quintessential cereal. There's a comforting, all-American quality to Cheerios that has stood the test of time. According to Wikipedia, Cheerios was introduced by General Mills in 1941, as the first oat-based, cold cereal. Since then, flavor varieties have abounded, but the original version remains a favorite.
I'm a Cheerios fan. They may have been the boring "healthy" cereal in other households but they weren't really even allowed in our kitchen. Probably because they weren't made out of pulverized fibers by a peasant woman in a burlap apron. Or maybe the box was too bright against the grays and tans of the health food brands. Or some other reason my mom came up with.
Anyway, back to our new friends, both of the same honey-brown color variety. Let's start with the good news.
Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter
Why would they alter Multi Grain Cheerios and not just create a Peanut Butter Cheerios on its own? Now, in my opinion Multi Grain Cheerios is one of the tastiest, most well-rounded cereals in existence but that's just me. Perhaps the slightly sweet and glazed feature of Multigrain lent itself to peanut butter over of the coarse simplicity of regular cheerios.
The first thing that struck me was their odd shape and texture. They look a bit skinny. The holes in the center of the O's seem larger than regular Cheerios.
In keeping with original Multi Grain Cheerios, there are three distinct colors: dark-brownish, cream, and a color I can only describe as light tangerine. The O's have a light coating (as a peanut butter cereal should have). My first taste was salt. Pleasant, satisfying, peanut-buttery salt. Impressive for a cereal.
The peanut butter flavor is slight but not artificial or candy-tasting. Unfortunately, the peanut butter flavor disappears a good bit in milk, but they retain a very nice crunch. A very nice addition to the Cheerios family and peanut butter cereals community.
Dulce de Leche Cheerios
Before we go any further, I need to come clean and make a statement that may cause you to question my judgment of this cereal. I don't like Dulce de Leche. (Horrified gasps, yes, go ahead I can hear you.) Among my strange food dislikes, this one ostracizes me the most. Even worse, I studied abroad in Argentina for (the best) six months (of my life) and that still didn't make me like the stuff. I'm not much of a caramel fan to begin with, and the milky Latin version hasn't swayed me.
But I went into this cereal with an open mind. And still didn't care for it.
To begin, when you open the box you are fairly assaulted with a sickly sweet waft of cereal breath. The O's are pudgy and more aerated with a light glaze. The flavor is akin to Quaker caramel rice cakes, which makes sense. Overly sweet with a bit of off/artificial notes.
Milk helped, but not a whole lot. I passed these around SEHQ to make sure it wasn't my dislike alone of Dulce de Leche; my suspicions were confirmed. Even for those who love it, this cereal isn't cutting it.
If I'm in the mood for a Latin-dessert-inspired cereal, it's going to be Mini Cinnamon Churros. Though I do give them points for creativity, it's a "no, gracias" for me.
Let's pause for a moment to contemplate cereal varieties. I imagine that long ago, cereals were simple. Corn Flakes, Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, just as candy bars used to be Reese's Cups, Kit Kats, M&Ms. These days, we find all sorts of additions: peanut butter, caramel, fruit, nuts, and chocolate, which are running wild in variations that present us with an overwhelming array of snack choices. Some are welcome additions; others gravely miss the mark.
Has anyone tried these? Looking forward to trying these? What's your favorite Cheerios variety?
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.