You know when you're walking down the seemingly never-ending breakfast aisle at the supermarket trying to decide what to buy and your brain just goes into meltdown at all the different options there are - porridge, muesli, cereal, cereal bars ... In the end, I always just grab a box of something familiar-looking and get out of there before my head explodes !
Well, that's the only reason I can possibly think of to explain why I've never tasted Country Crisp before. Jordans is a brand I know and trust, it looks tasty on the box, it gets the yumminess/healthiness balance about right - so why did I never get round to tasting it ?
Well, after reviewing their muesli recently, the lovely people at Jordans contacted me to ask if I'd like to test out their Country Crisp. Sure, I thought, why not ? A few days later, the postman dropped off FIVE big boxes of different flavours of Country Crisp to try. Wow ! Well, I'm not sure I can fit that many boxes in the kitchen cupboard so I called the kids to help me start taste-testing immediately.
For some reason - probably because I was most familiar with the chocolate Country Crisp variety, having seen the adverts - I thought this was going to come out of the box looking a bit like Special K with chocolate or one of those other low-calorie healthy options that target women watching their waistlines who promise that a bowl of their cereal will be as tasty as a bar of chocolate (it never is !). The kids unsurprisingly decided they wanted to try the chocolate one, whereas I opted for the raspberry one (but still said I'd have to pinch a spoonful of theirs to see what it was like, just for reviewing purposes !). Well, the first thing that caught my eye as I shook it into bowls was the huge golden clusters of ... well, I'm not quite sure what but they looked very tempting. I was also impressed by the quantity of chocolate/raspberry pieces in each bowl.
I splashed on some cold milk and we settled down to munch. After a few "yummm that's really nice"-type comments, the whole table went silent, which is always a sign that whatever is being consumed has got the Madhouse Family seal of approval. I loved the texture - crunchy, crispy clusters blended with oaty creaminess contrasting with tangy raspberries - and, for once, I genuinely did feel like I was eating something decadent and moreish, as well as being relatively good for me. It's so tasty I was convinced it must be packed full of sugar or really high in fat - well, off to the box I go to find out.
Well, looking at the Raspberries variety, one 50g serving with 100ml of semi-skimmed milk delivers 266 calories, which isn't as bad as I expected. It contains 7.2g of protein, 38g of carbohydrates of which 16g sugars (but some of that must come from the raspberries), 9.5g of fat and 3.2g of fibre. Again, that sounds quite reasonable to me - definitely better than a lot of the kid-oriented sugary brands. The box also proudly tells us that Country Crisp is a source of fibre, offers wholegrain goodness, contains no artificial flavourings, colourings, preservatives or GM ingredient, is suitable for vegetarians and very low salt.
Oh, and those tasty crispy, chewy golden clusters I mentioned ? The packaging says that the Raspberries recipe contains "A generous handful of tangy raspberries blended with wholesome golden clusters of baked British wholegrains, crispy rice & chopped hazelnuts to give an irresistably oaty bite with a sweet vanilla and coconut finish". Yummm that explains why they're so delicious and moreish.
Country Crisp is available in six flavours and they all sound delicious - real strawberries, real raspberries, chunky nuts, flame raisins, honey clusters and chocolate (with amazingly luxurious Belgian dark chocolate curls). That just leaves one day a week to finish off my muesli then. I think I need a bigger kitchen cupboard !
There's just one other thing left for me to do - go online and join up the Country Crisp Appreciation Society ! As well as competition and feedback opportunities, you can suggest new Country Crisp flavours and join their pool of taste testers who are picked to receive free samples of Country Crisp to try. Definitely at the top of my "to do" list as soon as I've finished this review then !
star rating : a totally unexpected 5/5
RRP : £2.28 for 500g
for more information : http://www.jordanscereals.co.uk/products/cereals/country-crisp
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