Monday, 5 July 2010
I can remember when I was a kid (way way back in the 70's), muesli was a new-fangled thing favoured only by health freaks or people who lived in the Swiss mountains (judging by the adverts) ! One bowlful of the dusty, bland mueslis on offer at the time and it was easy to see why "normal" people didn't eat it. I'll stick to the Coco Pops thanks ! Since then, muesli has come a long way though. Big brands have come up with highly nutritious but above all tasty muesli recipes that are just as satisfying as the sugar-packed cereal alternatives.
One of the first names that springs to mind these days if you say muesli is Jordans. As their packaging proudly proclaims, Jordans have been family millers since 1855 and they've been producing wholegrain cereals since the 1970s so they've had plenty of time to perfect their recipes !
I was sent three varieties of their mueslis to test - Fruit & Nut, Nut & Seed and Organic - although there are a grand total of seven different recipes in all, the range being completed with Natural Muesli, Truly Fruity, Super Berry and Fruity Fibre.
I came to these mueslis expecting a high quality product, and that is exactly what Jordans delivers. The packaging advises you that "for the best bowlful, give this box a shake before pouring" but even if you forget, you don't get a nasty dusty muesli in the bottom third of the box (as with some lesser mueslis). The recipes are all very healthy but Jordans also gets the nutrition-taste balance right. As they explain on their website, "We have a passion for taste and believe in always using only the whole grain in our cereals. Our ingredients are grown to our own very high environmental standards and don’t go anywhere near artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Jordans’ sourcing manager, John O’Neill, scours the world for the sweetest, juiciest fruit & the crunchiest nuts. He looks at the colour, size & taste of every ingredient to make sure they pass his strict tests. The ones which get the thumbs up are the ones you’ll find in our products."
My one criticism would be that there is nothing that really leaps out as groundbreakingly different or exciting. The organic muesli contains "raw & toasted British wholegrains with hazelnuts, raisins, sultanas and sunflower seeds", the Fruit & Nut variety offers "raw & toasted British wholegrains with Flame raisins, crunchy nuts, banana, coconut & pumpkin seeds" and the Nut & Seed Muesli is made with "deliciously crunchy Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts & seeds with Flame raisins". When I lined the three boxes up side by side to decide which one to sample first, I found that they all looked more or less the same and the lists of ingredients often seemed similar, just with the fruits and nuts given in a different order ! Looking through the descriptions of the other varieties, other added ingredients include chunks of apple, apricot, dates, cranberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, morello cherries, pineapple, mango and papya pieces - so there is a lot of variation out there. I think maybe I got the three that most resemble each other and which most resemble the other now pretty much standard mueslis on the market !
Despite not finding the wow-factor or huge originality I was hoping for, I can't fault the muesli. It's tasty and satisfying, the very high concentration of fruit, nuts and seeds makes it lovely and sweet and crunchy and one bowlful will keep the hunger pangs at bay until you sit down for your next meal. As one 50g bowlful with 100ml semi-skimmed milk offers around 230 calories (with slight variations depending on the variety), that's great news for those watching their waistline who want to avoid the mid-morning munchies !
You can tell just by looking at the muesli that it is packed full of goodness, but Jordans go one step further and, as well as taking care of you, help take care of the environment too. The website explains : "Jordans’ nature-friendly oats are something special. They are grown by Conservation Grade farmers around Britain who are paid a premium to create nature-friendly habitats on 10% of their farmed land. So eating our products means you are helping bees, birds, butterflies and other species flourish in our countryside."
Whether you're a veteran muesli-muncher or you're yet to be tempted away from your highly processed sugary breakfast cereals, Jordans offer a range of recipes that will appeal to your taste buds. It's great to find a product where the sweetness comes from fruit rather than added sugar. To quote Jordans' slogan, their muesli is "grown by nature, crafted by Jordans".
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £3.18 (but check supermarkets for special offers, it's often cheaper than that !)