Crunchy Nut has kind of flown under the radar for me. I knew it was popular overseas (actually the second most popular cereal in the UK after Special K), but just this year it was released in the United States.
First, an Homage to Honey Crunch Cornflakes
The sweet, nutty flakes (they also come in O's) reminded me of the awesome and short-lived cereal Honey Crunch Cornflakes. Could Crunchy Nut be its replacement?
Any cereal lover knows that discontinued cereals are a hot topic among the community. Long before this column existed I stared in awe at these , amazing lists, marveling at cereals I had never seen before. Ice Cream Cones and Sprinkle Spangles. And then there the cereals we'd never see again: Oreo O's and Hidden Treasures.
But the ill-fated Honey Crunch Cornflakes appear on neither of these lists. Only the incredibly comprehensive Cereal Project on Mr. Breakfast gives them some cred. (Side note: this project is unbelievably AWESOME.) They came out in the mid 1990s and then, just as quietly they came, they left. And I didn't realize how much I missed them until now.
Honey Crunch Cornflakes was another cereal that mysteriously slipped under my mom's radar. I think it's because Kellogg's tricked her by using the word "honey" as cereal brands often do. Are honey cereals "healthier" though? I'm guessing the sugars and calorie content weren't all that far off from Frosted Flakes. Either way, Honey Crunch Cornflakes was a dream cereal. Perfect crunch, natural slightly sweet "toasted" flavor, with the sturdy constitution of cornflakes, even having that nice corniness coming through. Good grief what I wouldn't give for just one bite of those guys....
Welcome to America, Crunchy Nut
But on to the matter at hand. I bought both versions of Crunchy Nut and returned to the office with high hopes. The two versions are different shapes but the boxes only make reference to the flavor differences, which is a little strange. Golden Honey Nut consists of flakes of corn drizzled with honey and topped with peanuts, while the Roasted Nut & Honey version is corn and nut O's with roasted peanuts and honey.
Let's be honest. In general, honey cereals are pretty superior. I mean think about top-notch cereals like Honey Bunches of Oats (one of my favorites, more on that in another post), and Honey Nut Cheerios. Honey is a very favorable term in the cereal world. Unfortunately, in the case of Crunchy Nut's Golden Honey Nut flakes, the honey flavor is a bit strong and a bit odd.
The nut flavor is there, and I guess if you really like the taste of peanuts in cereal, it's good. However, whatever flaws this cereal has in a dry handful are pretty much erased when milk enters the picture. Crunchy as the name promises, pleasantly sweet and hearty, this is a tasty and satisfying cereal.
The Roasted Nut & Honey version sort of does the opposite. While the O-shaped cereal has a delicious taste and great texture when dry, its porous construction softens and becomes soggy in milk. Still, it's a good cereal; just don't expect a Cheerio-like experience. Non-cereal-mixers, cover your ears. I actually had a huge bowl of the cereals combined and deeply enjoyed it. I guess my only complaint would be the eerie orange color of the cereal milk. That, and its extremely sweet flavor turned me off a bit.
U.S. vs U.K. Crunchy Nut
Several people at SEHQ were excited to see Crunchy Nut in the house, being fans of the UK version. But the general consensus was that the UK version is far superior. No one could quite articulate it, but there was a weird flavor, which left fans longing for the original across the pond. Another complaint was that this one lacks clusters.
I have to say, both versions of Crunchy Nut are pretty tasty and I would probably buy them again. But the flake version just didn't quite fill that void left by Honey Crunch Cornflakes. Why it disappeared, I'll never know. I think I have to come to terms with it and accept that I'll never taste its sweet crunch again. Sure, there are thousands of cereals out there, but like snowflakes, each is intricate and unique, special and delicious in its own way. I just have to accept that some cereals disappear forever, but then again, new cereals always appear, with the opportunity for greatness. Hello Crunchy Nut, Farewell Honey Crunch Cornflakes.
Does anyone else remember Honey Crunch Cornflakes? Any Crunchy Nut fans out there?