Like a coffee snob who thinks cream ruins roasted perfection or a hipster doughnut shop that only sells original and glazed, Tony the Tiger is an artisan.
While other cereal brands let their wacky flavor flags fly with any number of peanut buttery, gingerbready, or orange ice creamy variants, Anthony the Large Jungle Cat keeps it pretty minimalistic, preferring to perfect each flavor he introduces rather than rushing to meet some pumpkin spiced fad. After all, it took him 64 years to introduce a Cinnamon kind. And now, after the length of about 6–8 of Tony’s 9 feline lives, we finally get Chocolate Frosted Flakes.
What’s that you say, with your raised pitchfork pilfered from the clearance section of a Spirit Halloween? Chocolate Frosted Flakes already existed 20 years ago? Well those were Cocoa Frosted Flakes, not true-blue (or brown?) chocolate.
Oh, but you also say, holding a rudimentary torch made from back issues of the National Enquirer, “There are already two different kinds of Chocolate Frosted Flakes in my grocery store right now”? Well there are Frosted Flakes Choco Zucaritas made for Latin American markets, and Chocolate Frosted Flakes with Skeleton Marshmallows, made for Halloween, which are…uh…from a seasonal spin-off and therefore aren’t canon.
Phew. Through arbitrary technicalities, I’ve confirmed that 2017 Chocolate Frosted Flakes are the first of their kind. After all, Kellogg’s has made a big fuss about these ones are made differently. Like their much-hyped cinnamon-infusing process from 2016, the chocolatey frosting on these flakes is proprietarily designed to meet American tastes for milk chocolate, as opposed to Choco Zucaritas, which are supposed to be more dark chocolatey.
— Cerealously (@cerealouslynet) October 18, 2017
Maybe this is all choco hokum, but that’s not going to stop this American from indulging his sweet tooth. After Tony himself sent me this elaborate care package to try the stuff, I’d be remiss not to use his big metallic head to scoop shards of well-browned gold into my mouth like an emperor of the Nile.
Despite that buildup, I have to say the distinction between 2017’s Chocolate Frosted Flakes and every other Zucarita or marshmallowy xiphoid process Frosted Flake is pretty subtle. The most obvious difference is the corniness factor. While every other Frosted Flake boasts strong, savory notes of toasted maize, the corn in Chocolate Frosted Flakes is very subdued. I think this works to the cereal’s benefit, as it allows the chocolate to truly shine like never before.
“Alright, Mr. Goodbar, I’m ready for my closeup!”
Because it is the most prominent taste note, the chocolate frosting appropriately makes this Frosted Flakes cereal more chocolatey than its fudged ancestors. The choco-taste is definitely more milky than dark, with a lightly candied creaminess that’ll be inoffensive to tastebuds of any age, but it’s also super cocoa buttery and malty, an interesting blend of light and dark sweetnesses that ends on a surprisingly salty note. While the fragility of each flake means it disintegrates in your mouth in no time, the brief stint each piece plays on your palate is a whirlwind series of chocolate amusements unseen outside of Hershey Park, PA.
While it’s a fun series of sensory novelties, every bite of Chocolate Frosted Flakes also feels like a jack of all trades and master of none: slightly inconsistent and without reliable flavor integrity. It’s kind of like cracking open a box of Valentine’s chocolates and cramming them all into your gaping maw at the same time. Dear heavens, Tony, think of the inevitable coconut meringue!
Chocolate Frosted Flakes don’t hold up in milk as well as Cinnamon, either. While the thick, fudgy glaze offers prolonged sogginess insurance. A lot of the chocolate taste nuances wash away into the milk. This is a double-edged spoon, as the milky pieces become lightly cocoa-powdered corn husks, while the end milk below begins to smack of delicious, melted chocolate soft serve ice cream.
What remains when the flakes have been munched and the milk has been slurped through the custom bowl straw sent by Tony himself is a very solid chocolate cereal, if not one of the best. It transcends the “overwhelming base” problems of cereals like Cocoa Puffs or Cocoa Krispies, as well as the “divisive chocolate flavor” of Krave or Keebler Cereal. While Chocolate Frosted Flakes aren’t revolutionary enough for Tony to quit his day job and open a trendy cacao café noueveau, I foresee many chocoholic breakfasters making this their new go-to.
Now let’s hope by this time in 2018, we finally get Strawberry Frosted Flakes—or maybe Steak ‘n Shake-infused Strawberry Milkshake Frosted Flakes.
The Bowl: New Chocolate Frosted Flakes Cereal
The Breakdown: From milky and malty to oiled and salty, Chocolate Frosted Flakes run a gastronomical gamut of chocolate experiences (except dark chocolate, who’s conspicuously absent). Though it has a chocolate taste for everyone, and none of that out-of-place corniness, sub-par milk integrity and flavor consistency leaves something to be hungered for.
The Bottom Line: 8 inaugural uses of the word “xiphoid” on this blog out of 10
***Though Kellogg’s sent me this box, the cereal officially hits shelves on November 17th.***