There seem to be two distinctive enthusiasts of cereal in this world. The first, of which I consider myself a member, is the kind of serial cereal eater who is captivated by the sheer size and scope by the options arrayed in the catalogue of an cereal aisle. Like the kids in the candy store, we want to try every single cereal, and vacillate daily in our choices. Today Reese’s Puffs. Tomorrow, Frosted Mini Wheats.
On the other end of the spectrum you have the zealots. No less enthusiastic in always having to have a morning bowl, they nevertheless cling to a dogmatic precept of cereal supremacy. More often than not, you know them by other names. Your health freak friend who won’t touch something with high fructose corn syrup or your picky little sister with a singular fixation on a certain fruity rabbit. It’s Cap’n Crunch or take a hike, and don’t try passing off that grocery-store brand imitator for the genuine article.
My mom is one of these people. She insists on cereal and cold skim milk every morning, but despite what usually amounts to about a dozen or so options in our cupboard, she’ll only bother eating one or two.
One of those cereals is Chocolate Chex.
I don’t dislike the Chex brand, and when I really consider it, I think the Honey Nut version is perhaps second only to Honey Nut Cheerios in the spectrum of Honey Nut cereals. But Chocolate Chex is a different story. I put mom’s favorite to the test last week, and despite her enthusiasm for the mascotless cocoa-powder and rice based cereal, I still find it only O.K., at best
As a snacking cereal it lacks the sweetness and density that I crave. The rice base is almost as boring as regular rice, and even though the non-chocolate Chex pieces have a clean taste, the chocolate pieces seem too salty and lack depth of cocoa flavor. The coating is finger-licking in application and midly sweet, but I can’t get past the relatively mundane chocolate taste once I get past the initial coating. It’s neither bittersweet like Cocoa Puffs nor rich and supersweet like Krave, and I find myself wanting some kind of sheen or faux-smoothness to savor. Alas, the pieces are devoid of any kind of glaze to latch onto, and provide little excitement as a dry snack.
To be fair, Chocolate Chex would be good if all the pieces were covered in the cocoa and sugar coating, but as it stands, the plain rice pieces just don’t seem to add anything. Maybe it’s just me, but the salty-sweet combination of chocolate and corn just strikes me as more natural than chocolate and “whole grain rice.” Whatever the case, I much prefer the Chocolate-Caramel Chex 100 calorie packs if I’m going to be snacking dry. At least those provide a glazed feature with much more pronounced sweet-saltiness and depth.
Oddly enough, I find Chocolate Chex to be one of the few cereals I like better in milk than plain. A lot better. The chocolate coating turns the milk to a sweet and enjoyable brown, while both kinds of chex pieces get a semi-mushy but pleasing quality about them. Even in skim milk I can rush through a bowl, slurping the milk down like I was on the verge of Osteoporosis of something.
Still, it’s not enough to save this cereal from just middle of the pack status. Rarely on sale in my area, it’s not something I’d spring for if mom didn’t have to have it. But she does. So even though I routinely try to “sneak” alternative and in my view much tastier chocolate cereals into our pantry, I find myself constantly returning to Target to reload the shelves.
- Price: $2.99 (Target)
- Rating: 5/10
- Chances I’d Buy Again: 100% (Mom’s gotta get her kicks)