For those of you with obscene amounts of liquid assets, a work schedule of a spring break college student, and/or actual friends (read: not of the imaginary variety) we are coming perilously close to that time again. No, not the NHL Stanley Cup (although that is right around the corner) but the annual flock to beaches and altogether “islandy” places as the weather goes from just warm to oppressively hot.
Having neither obscene amounts of straight cash money (homey) nor the time or company to indulge in these seasonal sojourns, I delight myself in vacationing through the cereal aisle. So what better way to mock the start to my summer to remember than with a little island spice, courtesy of the healthy folks at Kashi!
I’ve had this box of Island Vanilla sitting in my cupboard for awhile. I’m not sure exactly why I bought it given my pronounced love for Frosted Mini Wheats, although I suspect it was done impulsively after a serene experience involving an artisan vanilla ice cream cone.
Vanilla, if you ask me, is a really underrated flavor if done right. Unfortunately it’s a mute point when it comes to Kashi’s Island Vanilla, with notes of vanilla bean overwhelmed by the singular taste of whole wheat. Oh, pardon me, organic whole wheat. In either case the vanilla taste is far from rich, and fails to get a boost of an acceptable level of sweetness. The cereal’s 9 grams of sugar are deceptive, for while tiny grains of raw sugar crystals like the inside of the patchwork biscuits like turbolasers lined the Death Star’s trenches, these sugar crystals aren’t constructed in the same way of Mini Wheats. That’s to say they don’t form a crunchy glaze on one side, and they don’t hit you in full force. There were times I felt like I was eating a completely unsweetened cereal, and for the serial snacker, that’s just a complete no-no.
In milk it’s much the same. While the slowly disintegrating wheat blocks lend a bit of wholesome morning glory that the epicurean in my can appreciate, the cereal’s lack of discernible sweetness and glaze renders it unable to tempt me into a full bowl. Likewise, I can’t definitively pick out a pronounced vanilla aspect to the cereal, and if not for the label on the box, I’d just as soon guess I was only moderating tolerating a lightly sweetened bran square.
Let me be real with y’all: my life is difficult enough to only moderately tolerate an unsweetned bran square, and cereal which doesn’t allow me to live vicariously through incomplete nutrition and fun back-of-the-box games isn’t worth my money.
I’m disappointed in Kashi. Granted, I don’t expect all natural to be able to match taste with industrial food science chemistry and corporate dollars, but really, I’ve come to expect some kind of “x” factor in subtle but distinct flavors like vanilla. Given that carbs are carbs and Kashi tends to be more expensive than “regular” Frosted Mini Wheats, I don’t see myself deviating from any one of the actually enjoyable Mini Wheats currently sold. I suggest, in an effort to avoid the chains of a compunctions morning bowl, that you do the same.
Kashi Island Vanilla
- Price: $3.00 (On sale at Giant)
- Rating: 4/10
- Chances I’ll Buy Again: 0%