Ladies and gentlemen, in the BLUE corner, hailing from POST and loaded with TEN ESSENTIAL VITAMINS & MINERALS (including IRON AND ZINC FOR GROWTH), we have MARSHMALLOW MANIA PEBBLES:
And in the BROWN corner, all the way from GENERAL MILLS and weighing in at 120 CALORIES OF WHOLE GRAIN GOODNESS PER SERVING, give a warm welcome to CHOCOLATE LUCKY CHARMS:
Yes, it’s round one of the GREAT CEREAL GROSS-OFF, wherein we objectively and scientifically test the merits of the new and exciting products offered by the breakfast cereal industry by letting them duke it out side-by-side and bowl-by-bowl!
I have to say that going in, I fully expected Chocolate Lucky Charms to be the grosser of the two. I mean, both of them definitely looked like something you wouldn’t want your children or loved ones eating, but I could at least sort of understand the motivation behind adding marshmallows to Pebbles. And they aren’t Marshmallow Fruity Pebblesâ€”that would be too much. Post knows its limits. Yeah, the “Mania” part of the name smacks of hyperbole, but that’s probably the Great Gazoo’s faultâ€”anyone who can shoot word balloons out of his fingers is probably given to wild overexaggeration. Chocolate Lucky Charms, on the other hand? I have to think that drugs were involved in the boardroom meeting that produced this idea. It’s like, I don’t know, Marshmallow Cocoa Puffsâ€”General Mills might as well come to your house with a shotgun loaded with sugar pellets, stick it in your mouth, and pull the trigger.
My expectations were reinforced after pouring a bowl of each cereal and sitting them next to one another:
Marshmallow Mania Pebbles look like marginally healthy cereal with marshmallows added for a little extra pep. Like the kind of cereal you could maybe con your mom into buying if you nagged her enough. You know, old-school fake healthy cerealâ€”like original Lucky Charms. Chocolate Lucky Charms, by comparison, look creepy. That is not the color of chocolate.
Upon closer inspection, we see that Marshmallow Mania Pebbles actually do have something called “marshmallow-flavored sprinkles” (what the hell?) baked on:
Post tells us that this is so we get “double the marshmallow fun”:
In my opinion, however, it’s just overkill. It reminds me of those really gross-looking McGriddle sandwiches at McDonald’sâ€”the ones that boast “the great taste of syrup baked in” or whatever. I submit that these people are testing the limits of science in all the wrong directionsâ€”we should not be trying to figure out just how much marshmallow we can pack into a piece of cereal. The cereal marshmallow (or “marshmallow crouton” as I like to call it) is supposed to be an occasional burst of flavor. It isn’t supposed to be the cereal. This is why today’s kids don’t know the value of a dollar or an honest day’s work: they don’t have to earn their marshmallows.
I ate the Chocolate Lucky Charms first. Regular Lucky Charms look (and, I imagine, sort of taste) like frosted cat food and stale marshmallows. As a kid, I tended to stuff each spoonful with marshmallows to mask the taste of the cereal itself. As I dove into Chocolate Lucky Charms, I realized the genius of the conceptâ€”General Mills is taking the part of Lucky Charms that nobody likes and injecting it with chocolatey goodness. It works, tooâ€”I mean, it still looks like cat food, but tastes vaguely enough like chocolate to keep me from leaving Lucky detritus in the bowl:
(Notice the color of the milk, which turned brown less than one minute after it was poured. The speed with which the color changed scared me a little, but I feel fine now.)
VERDICT: Magically delicious!
Marshmallow Mania Pebbles, on the other hand, are simply awful. They aren’t Pebbles, first of all. If you’ve ever eaten Fruity or Cocoa Pebbles, you know that Post achieves Pebbledom by taking grain, mashing the holy bejeezus out of it, and frosting it to death. These new Pebbles are not like the others, and I don’t know how to describe them other than to say that if there are children in Hell, this is what they’re being made to eat every morning. They don’t crunch, exactly. They sort of break, then spread their foul essence around your mouth, leaving a thick coating of something that tastes like shame and requires repeated brushing to remove. The marshmallows don’t help. I couldn’t finish the bowl. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say couldn’t, because I didn’t really try that hard.
So there you have it: in round one of the GREAT CEREAL GROSS-OFF, Marshmallow Mania Pebbles defeats Chocolate Lucky Charms with a TKO!