Mr. Tidbit generally avoids making comments about the tastiness of the food products he mentions. He talks about their ingredients, how much more they cost than other versions of the same product, and perhaps just how silly they are. But, because taste is a very personal thing, he seldom suggests how much or how little you might enjoy some product.
He makes an exception today for Kellogg's Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory chocolatey almond cereal ("sweetened corn cereal with chocolatey pieces and sliced almonds"), available only at Target.
Mr. Tidbit's spidey-sense was activated by the box-front's word "chocolatey," which signals that what is present is not chocolate but chocolate flavoring, usually based on cocoa powder.
That isn't necessarily terrible. Some cocoa-flavored products, including some cereals, are perfectly nice. But when the cocoa powder is the flavor in "chocolatey" pieces or coating, with something like hydrogenated palm oil or some other fat substituted for the cocoa butter in real chocolate, that's seldom as successful. Cocoa butter, a comparatively costly fat, is what gives chocolate its particularly happy consistency and mouthfeel. "Chocolatey chunks," "fudge coating" and the like usually taste something like chocolate but don't feel right — they're often waxy or dry.
The "chocolatey pieces" in Kellogg's Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory cereal aren't even that good. Not only do they have a downright unpleasant texture, leaving a waxy coating in the mouth, but they also have no flavor. At all.
But don't blame Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Read on.
Mr. Tidbit knows that company makes some very nice chocolate candy. To be certain, he just bought some. (Mr. Tidbit's willingness to go to great lengths in researching such matters is unassailable.) The cereal box tells the candy company's heritage but doesn't describe its involvement in the product. Small type says that the name is used under license.
Responding to a phone inquiry, Kellogg's spokesperson Kris Charles sent Mr. Tidbit this e-mail: "The cereal is created in collaboration with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, but they do not provide ingredients."
The folks at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory didn't respond to Mr. Tidbit's inquiry. He suspects that they wish "They do not provide ingredients" appeared under their name on the cereal box.