Thursday, June 18, 2020

Millville Honey Grahams Cereal (Aldi)

It's a good knockoff.
Y'know, despite being one of my favorite cereals as a youngster, I don't have quite the same fondness for honey graham cereal as an adult. I mean, a honey-based cereal is one thing, but a cereal that's made to taste like graham crackers, one of the most boring of all things (on their own; s'mores are a different story) is just a very weird idea to me. I guess maybe it's a sweet “honey” cereal for those that don't typically like that kind of thing...I don't know, and I guess, come to think of it, I really don't give a shit, either.

But even though they lack the same appeal that they held throughout my childhood years, sometimes I still get a craving for them, particularly when I'm looking for a cereal that I haven't had a million times before. And thankfully, this is where my cereal-hating wife comes into play: she buys a box of this stuff a couple of times a year, before either forgetting about it, or completely losing interest in it a short while later. This means there is a box that's three-quarters full in our pantry for a few weeks at a time, ready for me to polish it off when I get in the mood. And that's what brings me here today.

It's been a long time since I've had the national brand, but I have to say that this tastes very similar to the taste I remember. There's a very slight hint of sweetness, but then it's overpowered by a “cracker” taste that would probably completely turn me off, if I didn't have the sweet air of nostalgia on my side. It doesn't fit my definition of a good cereal at all, especially since it tastes like the formula hasn't been changed since it debuted in the 1970s, but there's just something about it that's...edibly intriguing, and this version hits those same mysterious notes.

But there's one area where I've always been disappointed by even the national brand: sogginess factor. The individual cereal pieces are rather thick and heavy, making it seem like the perfect kind of cereal to resist the pull of milk for at least a little while. Instead, these seem to go limp almost immediately, absorbing in the white liquid and making the whole thing a soggy mess within a couple of minutes. Obviously, I get that all cereals are prone to this, but usually the thicker ones manage to last a little while longer, and that just doesn't seem to be the case here.

While every cereal is prone to breaking down in a bowl full of liquid, I do feel like the mushiness also affects another quality: flavor. As the cereal gets softer, it's like it also erodes the honey flavor off the cereal and into the milk, leaving just the underwhelming graham cracker taste on the remaining pieces...in other words, the cereal seems to get slightly worse—and maybe even a little more bitter—the soggier the cereal gets. Maybe that's just a mental thing for me, but I've always seemed to notice that, even as a youngster, which always lead me to down the bowl as quickly as possible.

After being relegated to "special buy" cycles for years, this cereal has since been upgraded to a part of the store's permanent inventory around the same time they remodeled our Aldi store in late, 2019. I can think of a dozen cereals more deserving of a constant spot on the shelf, especially considering the $2.19 price tag, which is certainly cheaper than the national brand, but not a value I'd really shout about from the mountaintops. At any rate, if you're a bigger fan of the national brand than I am, it's worth a look.

Overall: 6/10. If it weren't for the nostalgic memories of eating this as a youngster, I don't think I'd be even halfway impressed with Millville's Honey Grahams as an adult; nevertheless, it hits the same weird flavor profile of the national brand, serving up an unnecessary combination of slight honey sweetness, with strong notes of graham cracker that seems to get stronger the soggier the cereal gets. Meanwhile, the $2.19 price tag makes it one of the more expensive offerings in Aldi's cereal aisle although, to be fair, it's still a good chunk off of the national brand price. At any rate, it's a good knockoff, and one that should impress bigger fans of the original cereal more than it did me.

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