Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Here is a Comprehensive Review of the Getzlaf Triple Berry Waggle Saskatchewan Roughriders Breakfast Cereal

You thought I was kidding, didn't you? Man, you really don't know me at all.

Yes, the last time I was out Virden way, I saw this in the Co-Op for the first time; the idea of this being a real thing made me laugh, and its proceeds go to helping children not die, so I bought a box and brought it back with me. Why not, right? One can't help but be a little bit curious about what it might taste like, especially given a name like 'Waggle'.

Saskatchewan Roughrider-themed cereals are apparently an ongoing theme out west in Rider Nation (Virden, Manitoba being far enough west to count); this -- I am just learning all of this now -- this is the third straight annual player-branded Saskatchewan Roughrider cereal, behind Andy Fantuz's Fantuz Flakes in 2010 and Darian Durant's Dari-Os last year. With Fantuz having since moved to the Tiger-Cats, and with all three players expected to play in this week's upcoming Riders-Ticats game, media have dubbed the contest "the Cereal Bowl". Sports are great, man.

Interestingly, I've yet to encounter Winnipeg's franchise foodstuff while out and about around town; either the original product run wasn't a large one or the barbecue chips are just that popular, because they seem to have disappeared as quickly as (alas) their namesake did.

Amateur rebranding exercises aside, of course:

we're never winning a grey cup ever again, are we

But enough preamble! Let's get down to business, and by 'business' of course I mean 'looking at the box and then eating the cereal'.

As you might expect, the other side of the box is the exact same layout but in French.

Nutritional information, ingredients ("DRIED CANE SYRUP", mm-mmmm), copyright information, charity details, and apparently QR codes are still a thing. They should have tossed in a CueCat barcode in there, too, just for kicks.

(At some point I just figured, screw it, get the rest of the sides too. Why not! Why not.)

As you can tell from a glance or two at the bag, they're definitely not kidding about the Berry part.

So that's how it looks -- but how does it taste? This website's internationally recognized crack team of assembled experts (me, sitting around eating cereal, and my cat, lying around being adorable) put the product in question through rigorous testing with the finest in bleeding-edge tools of the trade:

To counteract any potential accusations of tester bias against the franchise, and in the interest of giving the cereal a fair chance at its peak readings, I chose a spoon of roughly the same colour as the box. Because, as we all know, that enhances the flavour. Yes, it does. Yes it does. Don't even try and argue with me about this, this is science.

The first round of testing is eating some of the cereal without milk -- a dry run, if you weeeeell -- because some people are into that, and because sometimes you're just out of milk and need to make do.

As you've seen above, the cereal is marketed as Triple Berry, but... well, here are the berries:

Yeah, you can sort of start to guess what this cereal tastes like. As for the cereal's flakes:

It's an oat-based cereal, which I gleamed from looking at the box, but what I hadn't realized until I popped them in my mouth -- something the box doesn't happen to mention anywhere on it -- is that the oat flakes are sugar-coated, like Frosted Flakes but for oats. That's weird. (Frosted Oat Flakes are a real thing in the States, but I've never seen any such thing up here.)

You can see that there are fractions of whole oat basically glued to the flakes by the coating, too; at least, I think they were oat, because it's sort of hard to discern under the (as written) "DRIED CANE SYRUP" listed as the second ingredient on the box. You taste a little of the oat, and a lot of the cane syrup, when you are eating the flakes by themselves. They're not bad, mind you; probably super bad for you, sure, but not unpleasant to eat.

Freeze-dried fruit creates some real what-hath-science-wrought moments sometimes, and I had a couple of those when trying the fruit dry. Freeze-dried strawberries I'm accustomed to, but they're still always a little weird; they almost sort of evaporate as they hit the tongue, dissolving into a sensation that feels like a strange wholly-natural equivalent of Pop Rocks.

Freeze-dried raspberries, on the other hand, are shockingly legit; they all look like Kurt Vonnegut's illustration of a sphincter, but damn if they don't legitimately taste like regular raspberries. They'd probably work really well on an angel food cake; in fact, they'd probably be healthier on it than that weird prepackaged frozen-raspberries-in-syrup stuff is.

And freeze-dried blueberries... holy crap, freeze-dried blueberries. I will tell you this once, and you must never forget it: do not put a freeze-dried blueberry in your mouth by itself. Do not, do not, do not, don't, never ever, do not do it. It is just the worst sensation in your mouth, like someone catastrophically flubbed a raisin, or like someone soaked a tiny styrofoam peanut in spoiled Dubonnet and stale urine. Blergh. Awful. Never again.

A mouthful of all ingredients eaten dry at once, with normal ratio distribution from a standard box pour, plays the dried fruit off of the sugar flakes nicely; the blend is sweet with a nice citrus tang, but has the aftertaste of those pressed fruit-leather things.

Let's see how it behaves in milk!

Okay, the milk turns purple immediately. Like I-wasn't-even-done-pouring-it-yet immediately. (I suppose they couldn't quite engineer a way for it to turn Rider green, not that green milk is something people would want to put in their mouths anyway.) And you can see here that freeze-dried fruit... kind of floats, but kind of doesn't, which is a little strange to watch.

The whole thing is actually sort of unappetizing to look at, isn't it? Isn't that weird? When the flakes are mostly submerged and the milk is all purplish and the fruit is just kind of bobbing around the bowl, it looks off-putting, like a six-year-old attempted to make a smoothie but wasn't allowed to use the blender.

Okay, there we go, that looks more balanced. That looks like food.

The oat flakes don't stay crunchy for long, maybe a minute tops; the fruit goes spongy immediately, but, yeah, duh, of course it would. ("Hey, let's add moisture to this dehyrated food, I wonder what will happen.")

This cereal is far, far better with milk than without it (as I suppose most cereals are, but humour me); the tang of the combined fruit is very pleasantly offset by the smooth base of the milk, and the regular pouring distribution of the cereal turns out a surprisingly generous smattering of fruit. If you've ever gone and tried to buy freeze-dried strawberries by themselves, you know they ain't cheap.

Unsurprisingly, there is a whole lot of strawberry flavour going on in here; the blueberry is almost nonexistent, to the point that one wonders why they even bothered. I mean, I guess "Double Berry Waggle" isn't as marketable a pitch, but -- well, you saw the comparison shot earlier; if you didn't know what this was called when you were eating it, I doubt that you'd be able to identify it as Triple Berry.

The Waggle really started to lose steam when I was about halfway through the bowl (and you saw the bowl I'm using, it isn't even a big bowl), so if you're eating this cereal, either stick to very small amounts of it or eat it really quickly. It's definitely better when it still has some crisp to it.

The milk at the end is delicious, I must note -- but I'll get to that in a second, because:

I had a second bowl of it to reconfirm my findings, in the interest of proper testing, and also because I was hungry.

Full disclosure: these two bowls of cereal were my supper last night. How Single Guys Cook, tonight at 8:00, on The Food Network.

The second bowl brought me to the same conclusions as the first: it dies off hard once it's soggy, this is the cereal for you if you really like strawberries, and the milk afterwards is really tasty despite the weird particle bits floatin' around in it.

That bowl is white, for comparative purposes. (It's not the best lighting, I'll grant you; I'm sitting between the window and the table in these pictures.) Post-cereal milk is always tasty (or it should be, rather -- if it isn't, you've bought a bad cereal), so I wonder sometimes why you don't see it as a standalone product. You know? Just sell people milk fortified with oat, or corn, or whatever flavour one expects to taste. Cereal milk on-the-go! Breakfast milk, any time!

Oh, man, how good would post-Cheerios milk be on Cheerios? EVERYONE TO THE LAB

wait, no wait, first things first

And there you have it! If you eat fast, enjoy strawberry cereal, and like the colour green, you'll enjoy Getzlaf Triple Berry Waggle. If you aren't big on frosted cereals, don't care for freeze-dried fruit, and aren't comfortable enough with yourself to joke about having a man's Waggle in your mouth, you'll want to give this one a pass.

One missed opportunity was not having a toy or a prize inside; I think it would have been really funny to have a little plastic thirteenth-man in there, but something like trading cards or a commemorative plastic whatever would have really enhanced the experience. Apparently there's always next year, though! So, hey, maybe next year.

That seems as good a place as any to conclude, so -- see you tomorrow for ManLinkWeek, true believers!


Anonymous said...

That was hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Looks suspiciously like Oatmeal Crisp Triple Berry from the good folks at General Mills.

Anonymous said...

Cereal milk for use in recipes has actually become a trend recently. Some places make ice cream out of it. Also seen recipes for making white russians with cereal milk... because when you are already combining vodka and milk in a drink you want to be sugary and berry flavoured too!

Anonymous said...

I was reading this and thinking, this is clearly not a married man. Then you confirmed that in the next sentence I read.

You are awesome James. Never get married!

Vanessa said...

Wow. This is awesome. :D