I’ll never forget when I was first introduced to Honey Bunches of Oats. Although I don’t remember the exact day, I remember being taken aback by a cereal that was a legitimate bridge between the sweet technicolor bowls I always wanted and the boring brown clumps my dad tried to force feed me. Honey Bunches represented a turning of the tides, an exercise in compromise, and a cereal that was legitimately tasty without any marshmallows. I loved the original Honey flavor and Almond, and have dabbled in the various berry editions as well, but when Post dropped their latest creation I knew I had to try it. Honey Bunches of Oats Pecan and Maple Brown Sugar combines all of the best elements of breakfast (except donuts) and puts them into one crispy crunchy bowl.
The cereal is a tonal range of tan colors and has a relatively short list of ingredients to achieve this brown-bo of sorts. There’s straight ahead corn flakes, lightly sweetened corn flakes, some somehow crisped up looking whole oats, and those beautiful little pecan bunches. Some of the bunches are more granola-heavy and some of them have more visible pieces of pecans. The mixture carries a lovely sweet and nutty maple pecan scent with a cutting undercurrent of corn.
Tasting the cereal dry is everything I want it to be – crunchy, nutty, maple-y, and only slightly sweet. As with all Honey Bunches varieties the different elements compliment each other very well and balance each other out for consecutive cohesive bites that pop with the occasional big cluster. I’m not sure how they do it but I always felt there was a creaminess to Honey Bunches cereals that not many other had. Maybe it’s the inclusion of small pieces of nuts, but I get a wonderful smooth vanilla presence here that I also get in the original Almonds flavor and it’s a real treat.
Bringing milk to the party softens some of the sweet maple notes and drives up the corn-y flake flavors. While I feel like the sweetness was perfect in the dry cereal, with the additional moisture I could use just a touch more sweetness, especially in regards to the maple, to hold up to the sogg-ing effect of the milk. The corn flakes are very thin and soften pretty quickly, while the clusters hold their own and stand strong against the milk. The more that I eat the cereal the more I realize I want more pecans. The pecans are mostly in small pieces and end up getting lost in the flurry of milk and flakes. I wish they were bigger and I wish the corn flakes got less floppy but I also wish my bowl would refill itself automatically because I just love eating this stuff.
Honey Bunches of Oats are a classic cereal that should hypothetically please all palates at the breakfast table. I love the maple flavor in this new version but don’t think I would put it above the OG Almond because of the backseat the pecans take as compared to the prominent amount of almond slivers in the classic blue box . All in all you will not be disappointed putting this cereal into milk, onto ice cream, or simply into a ziplock bag for snacking all day long.
Found at: Safeway ($3.99)