♫ Reunited, and it feeeels so gooood! ♫
These 6 words looped in my head approximately 1 gorillion (an enormous, gorilla-sized number, for the unaware) times as I finally managed to lay my quivering hands on a box of Chocolate Honey Bunches in the year 2016.
Those who have been following the blog should be familiar with my love for Honey Bunches of Oats with Chocolate Clusters, a cereal that was discontinued some 6 years ago in a decision by Post Foods that I’m still convinced was somehow a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
I won’t bore you with the details, but Chocolate Honey Bunches were a pivotal part of my personal cereal mythology back in their heyday. Let’s just say that without Honey Bunches of Oats with Chocolate Clusters, this site probably wouldn’t exist today.
But now, I no longer need to cry forlorn tears over faded Polaroids of the cereal, because it’s back. Does it live up to my own super high standards? I’m willing to undergo a sugar high to find out.
As you might have noticed in the above photo, I was so excited to munch these Bunches that I accidentally tore the box open with the grace of a drunken, dizzy Grizzly. I was a bit apprehensive about Post’s choice to make this cereal gluten free, but even that couldn’t sedate this bear’s growling stomach.
(Brief side note: did I miss the memo? Is light blue now the official color of gluten free? Alongside Kashi Vanilla Pepita, the pleasant baby blue hues seem too similar to be a coincidence.)
Speaking of color, this cereal has a gorgeous yin yang aesthetic of yellow and brown. And it tastes pretty gorgeous, too. The corn and cocoarn (yep, I just invented this portmanteau of “cocoa” and “corn.” Take note, Merriam-Webster.) flakes achieve a delicate balance of sweet cocoa, starchy corn, and even starchier rice. With their fragile, crispy crunch, each flake is a bit like a Cocoa Pebble that got injected with growth hormones.
But unlike Cocoa Pebbles, deep beneath the chocolaty exterior of these flakes is that sticky sweet, signature HBO finish of golden toasted honey. It’s almost like some poor honeybee flew a little too close to one of those chocolate fondue waterfalls.
Of course, any Honey Bunches flavor is only as good as…well…its bunches. The gluten free bunches here aren’t quite as crunchy as their gluten-nous brethren. Instead, they have a crumblier texture and a rich, bold dark chocolate flavor.
If you can imagine a wedding between a chocolate Teddy Graham and the cookie part of a Twix candy bar, then these clusters taste like their romantic, candlelit honeymoon.
And because I am incapable of explaining flavor except in terms of other junk food, when you eat the clusters and flakes of Chocolate Honey Bunches of Oats together, it ends up tasting like a giant, wonderful bowl of crushed-up Keebler Fudge Stripes.
I’ll give you a minute to wipe the drool from your keyboard.
As anyone who has ever had a Fudge Stripe could tell you, they’re even better when dipped in milk. That advice holds true for Chocolate Honey Bunches of Oats. In milk, all the dark chocolate notes become decadent fudge notes, while the crumbly clusters become miniature versions of moist, milk-soaked chocolate oat no-bake cookies.
Yep, the very same kind of deliciously simple cookie your little sister made for the church bake sale, year after year.
Chocolate Honey Bunches of Oats must have read all the nice things I wrote about Nature Valley Chocolate Oat Clusters, because it really stepped its game up for this 2016 revival. I’m having trouble finding anything bad to say about this cereal.
It probably seems like I’m influenced by nostalgia here, but even without my happy memories of Chocolate Honey Bunches, I’d highly recommend this cereal as a satisfying breakfast, dessert, or midnight cocktail (the chocolate syrup endmilk from this cereal puts Nesquik to shame).
I encourage everyone to head to their local grocery store and try a box, since you never know when Post might discontinue it again. Just make sure you get there before I do…
…because I plan to buy a gorillion boxes.
The Bowl: Chocolate Honey Bunches of Oats
The Breakdown: A triumphant blend of chocolate-graham-cookie clusters and “cocoarn” flakes makes for a triumphant cereal return. Welcome back, old friend.
The Bottom Line: 10 discarded, tear-stained Polaroids out of 10