Cereal Review: Count Chocula
Every October, the timeless intersection of nostalgia and sugar are given new life with the arrival of General Mills’ seasonal Monster Cereals on grocery store shelves. A product of that glorious time we call the early 1970s, the trio of Count Chocula, Frankenberry, and Boo Berry have endeared themselves to cereal fanatics, and long since earned their status as a cult breakfast food item.
There’s only one problem. When it comes to most of the year, the Monster’s are nowhere to be found. Where they go I couldn’t tell you for sure. They could be out mashing or chilling out at the Diet Dr. Pepper round table with all those other “hard to believe” things. I guess it’s just as well, because when it comes to Count Chocula in particular, you’re looking at the epitome of what a chocolate flavored cereal should be. And if I had access to the epitome of a chocolate flavored cereal all 365 days of the year, I’d be 1000 pounds.
I would, however, be a very happy 1000 pounds. What makes this cereal so good, you ask? It’s a combination of factors, including a strong cocoa coating and chocolate-vanilla swirl marshmallow flavor. I wouldn’t call the taste of Count Chocula “rich” by any means, but I will say the degree of cocoa flavor surpasses all chocolate flavored cereals save Cocoa Puffs (which, according to both myself and the cereal experts at Serious Eats, has the highest degree of cocoa flavor). What sets it apart from say, a dud like Chocolatey Cap’n Crunch, is that there really aren’t any “off” flavors of a multi-grain cereal base. Instead, you’re getting the equivalent of Nesquik powder on neutral corn crunch with each and every bite.
And the bites are crunchy, including the marshmallows. Apparently they’re supposed to be spooky-shapes and such, but they look a lot more like concentrated clumps of corn syrup. No matter. I don’t need gimmicky shapes to impress me, and to be fair, the ‘mallows do pack a flavor beyond that of the proverbial Lucky Charms ‘mallow. Dehydrated as any good cereal marshmallows is (including, I should add, the ones I buy in bulk and eat plain as a snack) they have the aforementioned cocoa-vanilla swirl that lends a slightly softer bite than the average cereal ‘mallow. The result is something which, for a plain snacker, dissolves in your mouth with a lingering hit of cocoa, while also adding another dimension of milk absorption if you are so dairily inclined.
Of course, if you are “dairily” inclined, do yourself a favor and man-up to Count Chocula by giving it the attention a dessert commands. It is Halloween season after all, so skim and/or any “alternative” milks are out of the question. Personally, I find 1% to be a happy compromise, provided, of course, I swirl it into an ounce of melted semi-sweet chocolate. Not only does it provide the much-needed cocoa butter and milkfat to add richness to the cereal marshmallows, but it lends an over-the-top, only-on-Halloween sugary spike that’ll power you through a night of Trick-Or-Treating. And when you spend an entire year banking on hitting up every house within a 30 mile radius that offers King Size Payday bars… well yes, that kind of sugary spike is definitely needed.
Adam’s Cereal Ranking Index: Count Chocula
- Sweetness: 8.25/10
- Flavor: 8.50/10
- Snackability: 9.00/10
- Healthy Junk: N/A
- End Milk: 8.50/10
- Nostalgia: 9.75/10
Final Score: 8.80/10
Are you a Monster Cereal Fan? Which one is your favorite? And is there one “Halloween” food you just HAVE to have?