Sunday, March 13, 2016

Millville Apple Cinnamon Crispy Oats (Aldi)

Meh.
Cereal is one of my all-time favorite foods, because it’s so versatile: its use as a breakfast food, of course, is well-documented, but for me, it can also be a snack, a dessert, or even occasionally dinner.  I also love the stuff because it tends to provide many vitamins and minerals that you can‘t always get with just any food, but also not at the expense of flavor--even the sweetest of cereals still have a lot of health benefits to offer.  They might rot away your teeth, but at least the rest of you will be healthy!

Curiously, Millville’s Apple Cinnamon Crispy Oats are available only occasionally as a Special Buy from Aldi stores, along with a “chocolate“ variety.  I add “curiously” because they offer standard and honey nut versions all the time--back when I was a youngster, I always considered apple cinnamon to be a staple offering of the national brand, so I just think it’s a little weird that they don’t offer it all the time along with the other “crispy oats”, but I don’t work for Aldi, so they don’t tend to listen to me.  But they happened to be offering them during my last shopping trip, and so I grabbed them to make sure I got a box before they ran out!

I have to say that I’m completely underwhelmed.  I bought these because I remember them being absolutely fantastic in the past--a perfect combination of cinnamon with some decent apple flavoring, but they weren’t nearly as good as I remember.  The cinnamon stands front and center for a couple seconds, and things get off to a great start accordingly, but then the sweetness gives way to a real fakey, and understated, apple flavor that just didn’t do anything for me.  It also disappears before it really has any time to make a statement, giving way to a neutral aftertaste that has no sweetness to speak of.  I thought maybe my taste buds just needed to get acclimated to these, but sure enough, it was the same exact results throughout the entire bowl.  Come to think of it, the taste is very akin to a rice cake, with enough flavor at the beginning to make you think you’re actually eating something of substance, only to dissipate and leave you with the realization that what you’re eating is actually “healthy”.

This strikes me as odd, because I love their regular Crispy Oats, as well as their Honey Nut variety (which pack the perfect amount of honey flavor to balance out the boring oat flavor), so the big dip in quality from those to these was quite a bit of a letdown.  I’m just not sure of the demographics Millville was trying to cater to: I’d recommend it to those that don’t like their cereals very sweet, but the initial cinnamon blast might be too much for people like that.  Definitely not one of my favorite Millville offerings and, in retrospect, it makes sense why these are only a Special Buy and not otherwise offered all the time.

Overall: 5/10.  Contrary to my memories, this cereal just wasn’t very good.  It delivers wholeheartedly on the “cinnamon” part, with an initial shot of sweetness that manages to be just enough, without being too strong, but the “apple” flavor never really has the chance to materialize.  So by the end, all of the taste just kind of disappears into a disappointing, neutral finish that just doesn’t beg you to take any more bites.  It’s still way cheaper than the national brand, at $1.79 per box, so giving it a shot to see if you would like them more than I did doesn’t require a huge investment, but I’ll just stick to their regular or honey nut versions, which are a part of their permanent inventory.

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