Ah, one of my favorite annual traditions, Cereal Night.
For those of you who don’t know, once (if not twice) a year, my grown-A adult friends and I get together to try the
best and brightest saddest abominations that the cereal aisle has to offer.
You can read more about our process in last year’s cereal rundown here.
In short, each couple brings two new/trendy/seasonal/potentially-and-hopefully disgusting cereals and submits them for consideration. We taste, score and critique each cereal in a round table discussion that weighs the merits of each breakfast concoction.
Wine tasting? P-shaw, that’s so gauche.
THIS IS CEREAL NIGHT!
Let’s meet this year’s contenders:
From left to right: Cap N’ Crunch Halloween Crunch, Pumpkin Spice Mini Wheats, Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, Chocolate Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams, Chocolate Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows.
As you can see, for the most part, we took full advantage of every brand’s attempt to capitalize on Fall-obsessed marketing by releasing seasonal versions of their cereals.
A little inside baseball: most cereal nights start with one of us texting a picture of some ridiculous-looking cereal to the group, which spawns responses from everyone of, “Cereal NIGHT!!” I believe the impetus of this most recent gathering was that box the Cap’n’s Halloween Crunch.
Enough lollygaggin. Let’s get to the reviews!
Cereal Night, 2016 Edition
Contestant 1: Cap N’ Crunch’s Halloween Crunch
We were initially drawn to this cereal as a result of one Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch’s claims to turn our milk green with his pink, Crunch Berry-esque ghosts.
As far as taste and texture goes, it’s exactly what you’d expect of the Captain: pleasant classic corn and berry taste with maximum mouth-cutting capabilities.
But what of the spooky green milk?! Everyone was pretty disappointed when their milk was tinted with just the slightest whisper of mint green kind of maybe. That was until we compared with my bowl.
Side note: After years of experience, we’ve discovered that to streamline the tasting process, it’s best if everyone has their own container of milk in front of them to do one simultaneous pour and taste rather than waiting for one carton to be passed around. My personal container included rice milk due to my adult-onset dairy intolerance and its super power of turning me into a bloated fart monster.
Anyway, rice milk is apparently the key that unlocks the green milk magic because my bowl looked like a bowl of neon green sludge that inspired me to ask, “Am I going to die if I eat this?”
High five, Captain! Way to deliver.
Texture: 3/5 (cuz mouth cutting)
Resilience in milk: 5/5
Contestant 2: Kellogg’s Pumpkin Spice Mini Wheats
When you sit down with a bowl of Mini Wheats, you know you’re challenging yourself to a race against time to consume this food that somehow goes from being the barely-edible texture of rolled twigs to a sopping, soupy mess in a matter of seconds.
We were prepared for that. We were not, however, prepared for the additional flavor profile of what the manufacturers of this “cereal” deemed appropriate to call pumpkin spice.
I believe the consensus of this cereal was, “It really tastes like Fall in that it’s like you’re eating dried leaves and twigs covered in Autumn-scented candle wax.”
Mini Wheats, you’re adequate on your best day. Why would you unleash this fresh hell on an unsuspecting public?
Resilience in milk: (please) 1/5
Contestant 3: Pumpkin Spice Cheerios
I was really hopeful about this cereal based on the deluge of basic girls blanketing social media with pics of this box in their Target shopping carts. #pumpkinspiceeverything
All the ingredients are there: our old friends Cheerios (I’m never mad at Cheerios), pumpkin spice, cinnamon.
At first bite, you’re on board. The spice factor comes through, and you think, “Okay, Cheerios. I’m along for this ride with you. You took a chance, we’ve been friends for a long time. Ima support you.”
But then, it takes a sharp left turn into straight-up Pumpkinville. Not like pumpkin spice or pumpkin pie.
Like, the gourd.
The flavor that slaps you in the face and reminds you that, no matter how you dress it up, pumpkin is plant.
Essentially, this cereal tastes like you took great-tasting cinnamon Cheerios and mixed them with a jar full of squash-flavored baby food and poured milk on top. Enjoy!
Resilience in milk: 3/5
Contestants 4 & 5: Chocolate Lucky Charms and Golden Grahams
This combo was born out of a discussion between my husband and I positing what would be the next good cereal invention.
I noted that I couldn’t believe there’s never been a version of Golden Grahams that included chocolate marshmallows effectively turning it into a great s’mores cereal.
Originally, we theorized that a mix of Golden Grahams and Count Chocula would be good, but that was before the recipe changed and Count was reduced to its current inferior state (but that’s a rant for another time.)
So we figured Cereal Night would be a perfect arena to test out this cereal theory.
It’s exactly as amazing as you hope it would be. A perfect, delicious combo of crunchy chocolate and graham cereals delightfully balanced with tried-and-true Lucky Charms marshmallows.
What about Smorz cereal, you ask? And I will say to you, shut your mouth, sir. Smorz cereal ran the gauntlet on a former cereal night and lost horribly. It cannot compare to this combo.
Resilience in milk: 4/5
Contestant 6: Frosted Flakes Chocolate with Marshmallows
Last, and certainly least, we have Frosted Flakes Chocolate with Marshmallows.
This cereal is wracked with issues.
For starters, notice that it’s not called “Chocolate Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows”? That’s because contrary to the fact that the box makes it look like it contains chocolate flakes, what tumbles into your bowl are flakes sort of sprayed with chocolate dust.
P.S. They look like scabs.
While the marshmallows theoretically contain all the pieces to make a skeleton, what stands out are the skull bits, which look like fried eggs.
So, what resides before you appears to be a bowl of scabs and egg marshmallows……which I guess could be considered spooky/horrifying?
Aside from the aesthetic aspect of this cereal, texturally, it’s a challenge. Never have two mouth feels been so disparate as flakes and marshmallows, causing you to have to reconcile the two as you chew.
And, the taste was meh. Not chocolatey enough to be satisfying or worth the work of navigating the emotionally-challenging texture.
Resilience in Milk: 2/5
This was pretty much the clear winner of the night, and members of the group have subsequently added it to their regular pantry rotation.
Do yourself a favor and do the same.
Never before in Cereal Night history has there been such an upset in trying to determine a loser.
The group was equally divided between Pumpkin Spice Mini Wheats and Frosted Flakes Chocolate Scabs n’ Eggs.
Scores were compared, cases were made, facts were calmly presented. In the end, Mini Wheats ultimately lost because the flavor made it pretty inedible.