I am shocked that I haven't posted anything on cereal on Umamimart yet. Ever since living in Tokyo, I have not been able to live out the fantasies that I have as a self-proclaimed cereal addict. As a kid, I would always request 4-packs of Honey Bunches of Oats when my mother made a Costco (then Price Club) run. I also cried tears of joy in college when I would drive to Trader Joe's and stock up on bags of Vanilla Almond Granola. And I swear I was the happiest woman alive when faced with the vast row of bulk cereal and granola bins at the Berkeley Bowl.
So I was thrilled when I found a whole new selection of cereal available to me during my vacation in Italy. My first stop in Italy was Rome where I met up with my friend Jade (introduced to me by Kayoko). We stayed at Anni 50, a wonderful bed and breakfast run by an amazingly warm and hip couple Norma and Marco. Every morning we were greeted with delicious breads and foods. This is where my love affair with Italian cereal began. For the first two days Norma served us a type of chocolate curl cereal in a glass jar. On the first morning, Jade and I had gnawed our way through a substantial amount. It had just the right consistency and it was really chocolatey. Coco the monkey has nothing on these curls.
I decided I must find these at a supermarket.
My first box was purchased at Conad in Florence, a supermarket with its own house brand. There I found Petali Di Mais al Cacao. Since it was made by Conad, this box (375 grams) was very affordable at 2.05 euros.
Petali Di Mais was delicious. Although "chalky" doesn't really conjure up especially appetizing feelings, it was very appetizing in the context of these Petali Di Mais. The chalky crunch was so satisfying that I went through half a box while I was sitting at an internet cafe for one hour. It's a good thing I had enough water to sustain the constant box-grazing.
In addition to providing a satisfyingly muted crunch, the chalkiness also showcased the chocolate flavor of the product. Since it wasn't glazed with a layer of sugar, there was nothing to get in the way of my contact with the chocolatey taste. Petali Di Mais was quickly devoured and the empty box found a nice home in my hotel trash bin the next morning when I checked out. Lifespan: 1.5 days.
Anxious to compare and contrast, my next chocolate curl cereal purchase was Barilla's Pan di Stella Cereali. This type came in a bag (300 grams) and set me back 2.50 euros. The packaging seemed more sophisticated than the Conad version and the price reflected it.
Although the packaging made me feel more like my age, I was not very impressed by Barilla's version of chocolate curl cereal. It had a very thin glaze of sugar to make it look shiny. The sugar coating made it too crunchy and interfered with the taste, making the overall experience too sweet.
To further unnecessarily complicate things, there were little star rice-puffs in it. I didn't really find this as an asset to the cereal. I don't really know if these were thrown in for aesthetic reasons or for diffusing the sweetness of the chocolate curls. Either way, I felt they were just a distraction, and ultimately provided for a dissappointing finish (when I reached bottom and found that most of the stars had fallen through the curl cracks and I was stuck eating stars only). Pan di Stella Cereali was good, but not good enough to avoid lasting me until the end of my trip. Lifespan: 3.5 days.
You've got nothing on these curls, buddy...