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UPDATE: Rating a new cereal from Kellogg's; Graeter's Ice Cream coming to Price Chopper

The Kellogg Company celebrated National Caramel Day last week by debuting a new cereal in its Crunchy Nut line — this one called Caramel Nut.

It joins Roasted Nut & Honey and Golden Honey Nut in the Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut line now available nationally.

Here’s part of what the company said in the announcement:

“You say ‘car-a-mel,’ I say ‘car-mel.’ No matter how you pronounce it, April 5 is National Caramel Day and Kellogg’s is celebrating with the launch of the new Crunchy Nut Caramel Nut cereal. Featuring the deliciously-irresistible combination of sweet caramel flavor and real roasted peanuts on crunchy flakes, Crunchy Nut Caramel Nut gives cereal lovers everywhere reason to celebrate.”

Well, as it turns out, we’ll be the judge of that.

I made this offer to one of the brand’s promoters. Send me a box and we’ll do a taste test.

He thought that was a fine idea and, on Wednesday, I passed out samples of the cereal to seven newsroom staffers at The Daily Gazette.

I invited them to try the cereal. I didn’t identify it in any way other than to say it was “a new cereal.”

I asked them to send me a brief note telling me what they thought of it.

The results were interesting. A couple of the taste testers thought the cereal was maple-flavored. One spoke of the “vanilla” flavor. One of them thought the milk I added to the cereal was almond milk or soy milk or some other variation. It was just homogenized cow’s milk.

One thought it was “sort of nutty” and another suggested it would have been nice if there were nuts, like slivered almonds. (The box describes the cereal as “caramel flavored corn flakes topped with roasted peanuts” and, indeed, the illustration shows bits of peanuts on each corn flake.)

The demographic of the taste test was as follows: All except one were over 40, and at least three of them were over 50. The youngest was in her 30s. (The youngest newsroom staffer invited to participate is twentysomething, and he declined, saying, “I don’t eat cereal.”

Here is what the rest of the panel said:

1. “I liked it. Sweet and crunchy. Tasted sort of nutty. Yum.”

2. “I am not a cereal eater so probably not a good one for a taste test. The reason I don’t like cereal is that it all tastes like sugar. Pretty much the only cold cereal I eat is homemade granola. That being said, whatever you gave me was nice and crunchy but so overwhelmingly sugary it made my head spin. And then I threw it away. The milk tasted nice, though.”

3. “Flakes stay very crunchy in milk. Almond milk? Soy milk? The milk had its own taste, but is overwhelmed by sweetness. Not sure if the milk is sweetened or the cereal. Way too sweet for breakfast, but would probably make a good afternoon snack (better than a candy bar nutritionally, I would guess). In general, for my taste, way too sweet for anything, except maybe mixing the dry cereal flakes with unsweetened yogurt.”

4. “I thought the cereal had a nice crunch and it didn’t get soggy in the time it took me to eat it. I liked the vanilla taste. It was a little sweet for me. I prefer cereals with minimal sugar.”

5. “I loved the cereal. It was crunchy ... not too sweet ... and the maple syrup flavor gave it a warm and comforting taste.
It tasted like corn flakes with maple syrup. I would have loved it more if it had some nuts in it ... like slivered almonds to add texture.”

6. “Liked the sweet taste ... and can see buying it. Like it much better than, say, Frosted Flakes, which is far too sweet.”

7. “I love cereal, and I love maple, but I have never been a fan of the two together. The cereal was crunchy enough (not as tough as Product 19) not as crumbly as Special K, but the taste was too sweet for me. I also didn’t like the colored milk that was left; I felt like I was eating Cocoa Krispies again.”

What conclusions can we draw from all of this? Kellogg’s version of caramel tastes like maple, or maybe vanilla, which isn’t that far-fetched. There’s the possibility that Kellogg’s new cereal might be aimed at a younger demographic.

And on a related topic, a recent survey commissioned by Kellogg’s found out that how we say “caramel” — with three syllables or two, as in “car-mel,” — is affected by where we live.

In the Southern-Atlantic region, most people surveyed strongly prefer the “car-a-mel” pronounciation (69 percent). In the Midwest, there is a slight preference for the two-syllable pronunciation of “car-mel.”

In the West, the split is nearly even between “car-mel” (45 percent) and “car-a-mel” (55 percent), and along the East Coast, the preference is decidedly “car-a-mel” (69 percent).

Price Chopper to carry Graeter's Ice Cream

Graeter’s Ice Cream — perhaps better known as Oprah’s favorite ice cream — is coming to Price Chopper supermarkets, according to their Texas-based ad agency.

One of our newsroom colleagues assures us that Graeter’s — notably their Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip — is the best ice cream he’s ever sampled.

Other fans include celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay.

Graeter’s is based in Cincinnati and is family owned. Their ice cream production involves the French pot process in which only two gallons at a time are made and all-natural ingredients are used. The result is a dense, creamy texture.

Graeter’s Ice Cream also can be purchased online at the company’s website which is HERE.

Price varies, depending on where they ship to, and ranges from $60-$80 for six pints to $90-$120 for 12 pints.

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