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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Nestle Cereal Mix

I wonder if Dr Kellogg could have imagined what the French would one day do to his beloved invention - the cereal flake.

Look at these - 'Nestle Mix' - a kind gift from France, home of the world's finest cuisine.

I cannot translate the name, but they would seem to be the French equivalent of our own 'Kelloggs Variety' - six mini-boxes of classic cereals each providing just enough for one bowl. The difference is, instead of the obligatory 'Rice Krispies' which would always be left 'til last in favour of the Coco-Pops, ALL the cereals in Nestle Mix are chocolate themed - there's not a dull selection among them.


A boring English man, used to compensating any tiny morsel of rich food with copious amounts of blandness, would baulk at the prospect of six chocolate flavoured cereals. 'Please sir, may I have some dry Wheat Biscuits?' he would say. So in the spirit of William the Conqueror, I will now attempt to eat all six in one sitting.

VIVE LA FRANCE!

BOWL ONE: Nesquik

These tough little chocolately balls are, of course, also available in the UK. I've never had them before, but as the simple-faced rabbit says: "Nouveau encore plus Chocolat" which translates as 'Looks and tastes a bit like my own droppings'. Gobble Monkey says: 2 out of seven.

BOWL TWO: Cookie Crisp
I've always avoided these when I've seen them in Tescos. At their most basic level, they are just biscuits in milk, or as the French say: "cereales au gout de biscuit avec des pepites saveur chocolat" - cereals that taste of biscuit with chocolate nuggets.

Quite tasty, but I in no way acknowledge this as a real cereal. You might as well put a Jaffa cake in a bowl of milk and call it CHOCO-ORANGE SPONGE FLAKES. Gobble Monkey says: 4 out of seven.

BOWL THREE: Crunch

Getting a bit sick of chocolate now. These are like little chocolate armadillos or hard shelled chocolate beetles. So tough, they're almost painful to eat, and bear little resemblance to their chocolate bar namesake. I imagine this is what it's like eating bark. Gobble Monkey says: 3 out of seven.

BOWL FOUR: Chocapic
Chocapic's slogan is: "C'est Fort En Choclat!" (It is strong in Chocolate!) spoken by a crazed dog brandishing a spoon. He may look like he's been driven completely insane be rabies, but that dog is not wrong - these chocolate flavoured toe nail clippings are rock hard with an extreme bitter chocolate taste. It's too much. Who started eating chocolate for breakfast anyway? I bet it was the French. Oh they j'adore their chocolat so much don't they? Who else would take something as plain and simple as bread and then stick chocolate in it and eat it for breakfast? Well they can take their Nestle Mix and shove it up their bums. Gobble Monkey says: 3 out of 7.

BOWL FIVE: Lion.
While the rest of the world rightly stopped even considering Lion bars as a viable chocolate bar in the mid-Nineties, the French have chosen to turn them into a cereal. AND THEY WERE RIGHT TO DO SO.

We know there is already Twix-Mix, but in the future ALL chocolate bars will be turned into cereals. In fact, you don't even need to wait until the future, just tip a packet of KitKat Pop-Chocs or Malteasers into a bowl of milk - instant chocolate cereal. TRY THAT ON FOR SIZE MONSIEUR DU LAIT.

Anyway, Cereales Lion mixes caramel flavoured flakes with chocolate flavoured flakes - and it is fantastic. Gobble Monkey says: 6 out of seven.

BOWL SIX: Chokella

Look at these - Chokella (translation: 'Chokella') - you can't get these in the so-called UK can you, you bowler-hat-wearing fish-and-chip eating fool? NO AND THEY ARE DELICIOUS. The slogan says it all: "MMMMM" which is the same when translated into English. I think it is the best slogan ever for anything - how could anyone resist MMMMM? Forget the smug-faced French child flying on a shiny paddle (LOOK CLOSELY IT IS A PADDLE) he is irrelevant. Instead concentrate on the toast shaped chocolate cereals. DO NOT PANIC they are not as nut-tasting as "cereales avec du ble complt gout CHOCO-NOISETTE" suggests. In fact, these are soft and dusty and among the greatest chocolate cereals ever made.
AND I LOVE CHOCOLATE CEREALS. AND THE FRENCH.
Gobble Monkey says: 7 out of seven.

BOWL SEVEN:


I MIXED THEM ALL TOGETHER MMMMM THE ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE CEREAL IT GETS 1 MILLIONS OUT OF SEVEN.

AU REVOIR DE LA SINGE GOBER MON PETIT FANS DE BONBONS!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Trip to the shops: Part Three - Kingdom of Sweets / Gobstoppers

In London's trendy "Oxford Street" two new speciality sweet shops have opened, just 200 yards from each other.


First up, Gobble Monkey visited The Kingdom of Sweets. And what a Kingdom it was! Literally three rows of Pick'n'Mix! And like all Kingdoms, they've had their own rug made for the entrance:


I think they have something similar at Buckingham Palace.

Anyway The Kingdom is full of the sort of rich delights you would expect to find in a magical realm of sweets. Where else would you find the delicious-looking "Orange Surprise"?


Want to know what the "surprise" is? Well it's revealed on the back of the packet in brackets:


Normally I love Orange Coloured Cocoa Butter Based Confectionery, but £3.99 this was a bit pricey.
(I was slightly confused by the Kingdom's exchange rate. They were charging 50p for a Wham bar.)

AND WAIT A SECOND - if this was a Kingdom, then where was the Queen, Barbara Windsor? I was beginning to doubt it was a real Kingdom at all. But then I remembered the carpet.

Oxford Street's second sweet shop is just a one minute walk down the road:


Gobstoppers has the same range of Pick'n'Mix and US imported sweets as the Kingdom, but they've also branched out into branded merchandise down in the basement. They haven't quite managed to out-do M&M's World though. (WHAT IS THROUGH THE ORANGE DOOR? no one knows.)


(I don't think they've sold many of those.)

Anyway, after a good look around, I was just about to leave when something caught my eye:


NO.

COULD IT BE?

A PERCY PIG HERE? I was at least 500 yards from the nearest Marks and Spencers. But with no identifying label, I could not be sure if these were Percys, Pig's Mugs, Animal Farm Pig Variants OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I had to buy one, so placed a single 'pig sweet' in one of the paper bags provided and took it to the kindly looking elderly gentleman at the counter. With his wispy grey hair and wizened old face, I theorized he was probably the owner, an eccentric Willy Wonka figure with a secret sweet factory was behind the orange door in the basement.

But when I handed over the paper bag, he looked me as if I had just handed him a chocolate covered dead kitten.

'You can't have just one,' he spat, refusing to place the bag on the weighing machine.

I was slightly taken aback at his pure disgust. But then I remembered - Willy Wonka was a bit evil until the end wasn't he? Surely this was just the sort of test Charlie Bucket had passed so winningly when he returned Wonka's Everlasting Gobstopper...

I was sure that, just like Wonka, this crumpled old miser would reveal his true jovial self the moment I had proved myself ready to receive the keys to the shop and a lifetime's supply of Jelly Belly beans.

Or maybe he just thought I was an undercover M&S operative, collating enough evidence to take him to the supreme court of justice.


'Why do you want just one?' he growled.

WELL. The true answer to this question would have taken at least one hour to explain, and by saying it out loud, could have crystallised the last three months of wasting hours writing nonsense about sweets bringing me weeping to my knees in the middle of the shop, ending the Gobble Monkey phenomenon immediately.

So instead I told him I just wanted to see what they tasted like.

Shoving it back in to my hand with a snarl, he didn't charge me a penny.

Had I passed the test? I waited a moment to see if he would lead me through the orange door into a glass elevator where he would handover the entire Gobstoppers franchise, and together, we'd march on the Kingdom of Sweets, dethrone their Queen and combine the shops via a secret tunnel. THEN RULE OXFORD ST SWEET SHOPS WITH A CANDY FIST! We'd have to get a new rug though.

But instead he just sat there looking bored. I had failed, and left the shop knowing I could never ever return. But at least I wasn't a giant blueberry.

Back home, I was able to study the 'Pig Sweet' more closely. Here it is:


See how it's much brighter in colour than a Percy Pig or a Pig's Mug. It's definitely not an Animal Farm either, as it lacks the distinctive jelly snout. And the taste? It's a lot tougher in texture, but this may be due to being left in the open air of Gobstoppers for months. It's fruity flavour matches the intensity of it's colours, but it's hard to tell which fruit, and ultimately it probably ranks as the worst Percy Imitation so far.

Here's the new line-up:



Fake Percy No.4, Gobstoppers, free
Gobble Monkey says: 3 out of 7

PART TWO here

Friday, 9 September 2011

Marks and Spencer: NEWFANGLED

I'm not sure which one of Marks and Spencer is responsible for their new Newfangled sweet range, but whoever had done it should be locked in a cage. Maybe they let Twiggy into one of the meetings.

Anyway M&S obviously feel they can no longer work with the basic concepts that Mother Nature has given us, and, eschewing her naive ideas, they've replaced them with these outlandish - probably drug induced - nonsensical sweets.

What would poor, sweet innocent Percy Pig think of these?

Take the egg - probably nature's most perfect creation, a seamless oval of goodness. Look what Marks and Spencer has done to it:


Ok, first up, the name "Scrambled Eggs" - they're plainly not scrambled, they're fried. Then, you know how with a normal egg born of God or a chicken, there's a 1007-to-1 chance of getting a double yolk? Well with these "Scrambled" eggs, you get about 12 'Double Yolkers' in every packet!

M&S one, Mother Nature nil.


Next, check out "Chineapple Punks". It took me 35 minutes to decode the name - it's a bastardisation of Pineapple Chunks - but when I got it I laughed for 36 minutes. Then I was quiet. I realised that it's not just eggs that M&S have shown their contempt for. They don't even respect words now. They just make them up and splice them together as if they were M&S Tear and Share Sun-Dried Tomato and Garlic Focaccia. FINE. But now get this: Chineapple Punks are not hard, like you A FOOL expected them to be - THEY ARE SOFT. M&S have bested you AGAIN. Idiot.



Not content with destroying our language, now M&S turn their crazed eyes on maths. "123" are a shameless Guzzle Puzzle rip off, but at least they actually work. If you eat all three individually flavoured numbers, they combine to make cola flavour. M&S sensibly jettisons the nonsense Guzzle Puzzle combos that didn't work and sticks with safe old cola. (Never mind that there are plenty of cola flavoured sweets available that don't require burrowing around the packet to identify three different gums).SO now 1 + 2 + 3 = COLA which has RUINED maths forever and no one will be able to do sums again using the number six.


These are "Fluke Pastilles". Yeah you read that right - not FRUIT pastilles, but FLUKE pastilles. (That one doesn't work quite as well as Chineapple Punks does it, M&S?) The packet proudly boasts that these "contain NONE of your five a day!" booting out fruit in favour of flavours like cheesecake, bubblegum and dinner mint. That's right they couldn't even leave Mother Nature's second most perfect creation - the dinner mint - alone either.

Now imagine a chocolate lollypop that tastes like a drink. NOW STOP IMAGINING IT. M&S have turned your imagination into a sick, sick reality.


LUCKILY, all the Newfangled sweets that I tried were DELICIOUS. I even have some extra ideas for the range:

1) Edible Crow - full sized crow made out of marshmallow
2) Salty Robots - not sure what they are
3) Cola Soup - eaten warm
4) Sultarants - sultanas that taste like currants
5) Pig's Mugs

I also hope this revolution of madness spreads to the other M&S departments like cardigans and Mylene Klass.



Marks and Spencers Newfangled Range:
Scrambled Eggs: Gobble Monkey says 5 out of 7
123: Gobble Monkey says 5 out of 7
Chineapple Punks: Gobble Monkey says 6 out of 7
Fluke Pastilles: Gobble Monkey says 6 out of 7
Cherryade/Orangeade Lollypop: Gobble Monkey says 6 out of 7
Mango Spaghetti: UNTESTED
Chocolate Flying Saucers: UNTESTED

M&S previously went crazy with Percy Pig Ice Cream AND Colin the Caterpillar lollies AND Veggie Percies. So they should know better.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

GOBBLE MONKEY CEREAL WINNERS!

The moment has arrived. Two weeks ago, Gobble Monkey offered up a bag of PIG'S MUGS to whoever could design the best Gobble Monkey themed cereal, and now, we can exclusively reveal the winners:

SEVENTH PLACE: Plum Bombs by Quilliam Brothers
SLOGAN: "BOOM! Crunchy Shell, Fruity Core, TASTE EXPLOSION!"
This bizarre plum-based cereal obviously floated into the mind of a genius in a dream, and upon wakening, they grabbed a pen and scribbled down the concept on the first thing they could find before  they forgot it. And thank God they did. Gobble Monkey says: 4 out of 7

SIXTH PLACE: NATURE-O'S (Apple) by Charlotte Hope
SLOGAN: "Totally Organic"
The mascot here seems to be a talking tree growing out of a cereal bowl. If a tree could talk, would anyone bother listening to it if all it said was "totally organic"? There are little clues as to the nature of Nature-o's here, so I don't know if they would be nice or not. BUT I WOULD NEVER EAT AN APPLE FLAVOURED CEREAL ORGANIC OR OTHERWISE.
Gobble Monkey says: 5 out of 7

FIFTH PLACE: Go Bananas! by @Mullies
SLOGAN: "The fruity brekkie treat kids will love to eat!"
Look at the size of that bowl! And yet it only contains four bits of cereal. And what is Gobble Monkey holding? A banana or a Go Bananas? Or a knife. We will never know. Sadly, the logistics of making banana shaped cereal means that we will probably never see Go Bananas in the supermarket. But at least they, unlike Coco Pops, apologise for the side effect of turning the milk bananay. Even though, sometimes, I have banana milkshake on my cereal instead of milk. It is true! Gobble Monkey says: 5 out of 7

FOURTH PLACE: Gobble-Os by Laura Bassett
SLOGAN: "Make Milk Nice"
Lovely minimalist design work here from Laura. Is she making a complex comment on the creationism vs evolution debate? Or does she believe Gobble Monkey has died and gone to heaven, content to sit in the empty wilderness of the afterlife with only a banana (or two) for company?
We will never know.

Laura says: "they could also be called Multigrain Gobble-oops, Gobble the Goodness, Gobblers Crunchy-gobble-able Boulders or Choco-Gobblers" all of which sound confusingly delicious. And if Gobble Monkey was an angel, his halo would DEFINITELY be a chocolate flavoured cereal hoop. Gobble Monkey says: 6 out of 7

THIRD PLACE: Gobble Charms by Florence Parrack
SLOGAN: "Nothing but marshmallows!"
Florence says: "while I was making this I found out you can buy big bags of just Lucky Charms marshmallows" which I will DEFINITELY be seeking out and eating for breakfast EVERY SINGLE DAY. Gobble Monkey says: 6 out of 7

SECOND PLACE: Monkey Nuts by @lizimina
SLOGAN: "Delicious banana flavour crispy cereal shells with a chocolate centre"
These actually sound and look better than 90% of real cereals on the market. If the mark of a good cereal is whether you can eat them 'raw' (sans milk), then these would DEFINITELY pass the test. Plus, they "do not contain nuts" so are safe for Gobble Monkey to eat. Gobble Monkey says: 6 out of 7

FIRST PLACE! Twix Mix by @wlnesfield
SLOGAN: "Get YOUR daily fix!"
Amazing. Imagine what you'd look like if you really did get YOUR daily fix of Twix Mix everyday. It doesn't bear thinking about. Does anyone drink tea and eat cereal at the same time though? Probably the same kind of mentalist that would eat Twix and milk for breakfast.

Brilliant work though (I especially like the cunning use of the upside down 'W'), and now all I have to do is persuade Mars Inc to relinquish the copyright so we can go into production. @wlnesfield has even correctly anticipated the the GM review of Twix Mix on the side of the box, and has won himself a packet of Pig's Mugs. Gobble Monkey says: 7 out of 7