“Put maple in everything. Do it.”
Picture me saying that in my best Sheev Palpatine voice, because I really am serious about syrup. Maple is tied with gingerbread and second only to PB&J on my list of favorite sweet flavors, so while the news about General Mills’s new Maple Cheerios, released in Canada to celebrate the country’s 150th birthday, excited me, the syrup-sucking greedy child in me wanted more.
Maple Cookie Crisp. Waffles & Syrup Oreo O’s. Pancake-flavored Waffle Crisp—I don’t care how redundant that sounds, just prop my mouth open with a french toast stick and keep piling it in.
But I’m getting ahead of myself—and sweating what I believe to be a mix of perspiration and whipped butter just thinking about it. I should enjoy Maple Cheerios while I can, because you know what they say: you only turn 150 once!
Is it bad that my first reaction to seeing Maple Cheerios was, “These don’t look nearly sticky enough”?
Seriously, I expected glitteringly goldenrod rings, glazed with such a thick patina of maple that they resemble Cheerios inside one of those inflatable human hamster balls. But instead, we get dull, pale brown, and slightly flatter than usual O’s with a mild coating that isn’t even up to snuff with Honey Nut Cheerios’ almond oil sheen.
And speaking of the flavor, it seems extremely derivative of America’s favorite cereal, too. You could’ve told me this was Diet Honey Nut Cheerios, and I would’ve believed you.Worse yet, it’s a far, far, keep going, I’ll tell you when cry from anything I’d call maple syrup.
Instead, this cereal leads with the savory toasted oat flavor of plain Cheerios, and finishes with the thick, golden, yet ultimately empty sweetness of every other generic sugar syrup on the market. This makes sense once you read the ingredients list and see Refiner’s Syrup above Maple Syrup. There’s a faint twist of delicate maple in the aftertaste, but it’s more sappily malted than mouthwateringly syrupy.
I call it “Grade F Amber.”
Milk makes things a little better, as the endmilk does a good job of capturing the previously subtle maple notes in its creamy riptides. But the Cheerios themselves are still just too uninspired. They need a little…something…to make them memorable.
And of course that lil somethin’ somethin’ is an aerial payload of real maple syrup. Truth be told, I was probably going to do this anyway, since I have a habit of putting maple syrup on even the weirdest cereals out of addiction that I self-justify as raw curiosity.
Just hear me out: maple syrup on Froot Loops.
But it works pretty well here, since the combo of Maple Cheerios’ roasted malt flavor and the maple syrup’s, well, maple flavor tastes close enough to a gingerbread pancake that I’ll let this otherwise disappointing cereal off easy for good behavior. Despite my saintly syrup pardoning, I still expected so much more from Maple Cheerios. Other than the commemorative box and Canadian goodwill, there’s no experience here you can’t already get from Honey Nut Cheerios.
Except for the stressful experience of foreign cereal importing, of course.
The Bowl: Canadian Cheerios Maple Cereal
The Breakdown: Not maple-y enough: plain and simple. This stuff is Honey Nut Cheerios Lite with an additional coating of saccharine sugar sauce and requires both milk and a drizzle of syrupy hedonism to make it worthwhile.
The Bottom Line: 4.5 buttery pores out of 10
(Quick Nutrition Facts: 110 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein per 3/4 cup serving)
***HUGE thanks to my Canadian pal Stephen B. for sending these over, along with Birthday Cake Froot Loops!***