Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: Van's Cocoa Sensations Gluten Free Cereals

I am proud to say that I've never paid for a Van's product that I've reviewed on this blog.  Wait a minute...why am I proud of that?  I don't know that I should be ashamed of it, but I should be grateful that Van's has been so generous to me to keep sending me free samples to review.  Granted, they are getting some benefit by putting out word of mouth for their product, but they are also giving me content and saving me a few bucks.  Anyway, today's free sample is the first time I've tried one of their cereal products as I'll take a look at this ten ounce box of Van's Cocoa Sensations Gluten Free Cereals.  Not sure on the exact price, but I'm guessing each box could be priced anywhere from $3.00-$5.00 depending on the store.  Each of the nine servings in this box is three-quarters of a cup and comes in at 110 calories.  As the name would also point out, it's also gluten free.  The tagline states that this cereal is "Sweet Sensations by the Spoonful" but I think I'm going to have to be the judge of that!

Obviously the box gives away how these look.  They are basically chocolate Cheerios or Fruit Loops.  One thing of not other than that is that they definitely had a surprisingly strong smell of chocolate/cocoa, so that was an added bonus heading into this.  Other than that, there's nothing else notable.

So, I ate these dry first and the cocoa flavor was definitely prevalent.  It wasn't sweet, but it tasted as if someone handed me a spoonful of cocoa powder that somehow managed to be crunchy and have that flavor mixed with a grain taste.  I can't think of any other comparison to it other than that.  I then poured some skim milk over that and one thing I noticed immediately is that these took longer to soften than a typical bowl of Cheerios.  I like my cereal to be semi-soft (some might say that is weird), so waiting a little longer was somewhat irksome to me.  That really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things though.  Anyway, when doused with milk, the cocoa flavor in this was kind of tamed a bit.  It was still quite noticeable, but when mixed with milk, it went from tasting like cocoa powder to tasting like a cup of creamy chocolate milk that had a crunch.  Not overly rich or sweet, it was just plain cocoa.

Buy It or Fly By It?  I'm torn quite a bit with this one.  The flavor was fine.  Not good, not bad, just fine and definitely not a sensation as the product is named.  It didn't stand out in any way and when combined with what I assume to be a higher price due to this being a natural food, I'm not quite sure that I can give this a positive rating.  If the flavor was amazing, I'd say go for it.  But since the flavor was just fine, I'm going to give this a FLY BY IT rating due to the pricing.  Now, if you are on a gluten free diet or don't mind paying a bit extra for more natural foods, then this might be right up your alley because it's not too bad.  I'm a miser and tight-fisted though, so this one misses the mark for me.


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