Thursday, January 17, 2013

The New Pop-Tarts Oatmeal Delights!

Are they Pop-Tarts, Oatmeal, or Something in Between? Plus, HEART-SHAPED Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Just Because!

I often find myself writing about Pop-Tarts, which is pretty peculiar, since I don’t necessarily like them all that much. Even so, I find myself picking up a box at least every other month, because Kellogg’s releases some newfangled, limited-time only toaster pastry virtually every thirty days. I keep telling myself I can resist the temptation, but without fail, those criminal geniuses out of Battle Creek ALWAYS find a way to get me to pry my wallet upon yet again.

Case in point; these newfangled OATMEAL Pop-Tarts.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Are these things Pop-Tarts that TASTE like oatmeal, or are they actually Pop-Tarts FILLED with oatmeal? One glance at the box, and that’s the immediate question I think just about any consumer would have. And perhaps trying to instigate some curiosity buys, the wording on the box itself doesn’t really tell you whether these are traditional, sugary goo filled pastries or some experimental breakfast item that’s loaded with oats. I think I was able to walk by the gigantic display at the local super market twice before I realized the enigma was too great, so on my third visit, you best believe I waltzed home with a bag filled with el Nuevo Tart-os.

First things first, we need to know what flavors we’re talking about here, and for the initial Oatmeal-Tart goods, Kellogg’s decided to go with two fairly safe choices - brown maple sugar and strawberry. The designs of the tarts seem to be pretty much identical, with each pastry speckled with oats and given this zig-zagging frosting stripe. Much to my disappointment, the interior goo of the products seems to be your standard artificial fruit flavoring. And yes, I actually was kinda’ excited to find out what liquefied oatmeal filling would have tasted like.

There’s nothing too exciting about the packages, which are identical, except for a few photographs of the Pop-Tarts themselves. I am particularly awed by the insanely lengthy toaster oven directions on the back of the boxes, which seem to contain about 956,000 more words than necessary to tell the general public to just push them sumbitches down until they pop back up again.

And with that in mind, there’s nothing at all exciting about the pseudo-aluminum foil sleeves the individual Tarts come wrapped in. Unless of course, you have a thing for silvery packages and bad breakfast food puns, which considering you’re reading this, might just be the case.

I reckon the best way to address the products is to give you a thorough review of both flavors. I’ll start with the brown maple stuff first, because come on, we’ve all had artificial strawberry stuff wedged down our throat holes before.

The very first thing I thought when I saw the Tarts up close was, “wow, these things look kinda’…naked.” Usually, Pop-Tarts are just lacquered with multi-colored frosting, but these, more or less, resemble oversized Graham crackers. Yeah, you get a teeny bit of frosting, the afore-mentioned icing racing stripe and a couple of oat flakes, but beyond that, you’re basically staring at a bare-ass nude ’Tart.

The toasted product ended up looking, well, just like an untoasted Pop-Tart. It’s impossible to know this from looking at the picture, but one of the huge positives about this one is the smell. I mean, it really smells like someone just poured a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth’s on the kitchen floor, and if you touch ANY portion of the pastry, your hand will smell like the bottom of an IHOP mixing bowl for the rest of the day. Sure, that can be construed as a negative by some people, but like I’ll ever complain about smelling like a pancake for any prolonged period of time.

The interior goop looks sort of like jelly, but it tastes like practically every other kind of pseudo-fruit filling you’ve ever tasted before. I love the fact that in this photo, you’re probably bearing witness to at least ten or twelve different shades of brown. The russet icing on top of that sorrel filling, not to mention the natural burnt sienna hue of the pastry itself, makes for one hell of a mahogany-hued hootenanny.

As for the strawberry version, I suppose there’s even less to say than there is about the brown maple iteration. Like it’s maple kin, the Tart looks especially bare, with only that ‘80s-esque, neon pink zigzag making it look like anything other than a really, really big saltine.

The smell of a fully toasted strawberry-oat Tart isn’t as appealing as a brown maple sugar one, and I was honestly a little nauseated by this one’s scent. I guess that’s more or less because I spent an entire year eating NOTHING but strawberry Pop-Tarts, so that’s probably some bias creeping in, but whatever. If you’ve ever smelled something strawberry and burny, than you’ve smelled what this thing smells like before.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the taste, either. Granted, it wasn’t bad, and the oat flakes made it taste a little bit different, but all in all, it’s the same thing you’ve been begrudgingly chowing down on for the last twenty years of your life. Hopefully, the suits at Battle Creek will opt for a more experimental flavor come round two. I, for one, would love to see a mozzarella-flavored one on store shelves.

So, are these new oatmeal-themed Pop-Tarts worth going out of your way to experience? Eh, probably not, but if you are a regular toaster-pastry enthusiast, I suppose you could pick up a box or two as a viable substitute for your regular S'mores or Hot Cocoa flavored breakfast items. I highly doubt consumer reaction to these things are going to be overwhelmingly positive, so for once, we might actually be dealing with some limited-time Pop-Tarts that actually REMAIN limited-time only goods...

Reese’s HEART-SHAPED Peanut Butter Cups!

While we’re on the subject of limited-time only foodstuffs, you’ve probably encountered these babies on your ambles around the candies section of your favorite grocer or big box mart. There’s not a whole lot to say about them, but I think there’s enough here to elicit at least two or three paragraphs of impressions.

Reese’s, as we all know by now, are no strangers to holiday-themed variations, having released peanut butter and chocolate Jack O Lanterns, Christmas trees and Easter Eggs to in the last few years. I guess introducing heart-shaped candies for Valentine’s Day was inevitable, especially considering how much easier it is to bend chocolate into fat “V” shape as opposed to pointed firs and peanut butter-stemmed pumpkins.

Anybody that can write more than 300 words about these are much better penmen than I, so I'll just leave you with the obvious here. The new Reese's hearts are delicious, they actually resemble what they're supposed to, and if you get particularly bored, you can pretend you're eating a giant chocolate tooth or even a peanut butter-filled tongue. And if these things aren't harbingers of 4th of July candies shaped like the head of Abraham Lincoln, I think I might be ready to stage a coup at The Hershey Company.

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