A post about cereal. Totally not boring!

I’ve discovered a few things about breakfast cereals here in Australia. Here, I’ll list them.

1) Yes, I will discriminate.

Foods branded the same in two different countries can be two very different cereals. Example: Cheerios. In the US, Cheerios are a dense, small circle of crunchy cereal with very little sugar. In Australia, Cheerios are larger and airier and sweeter, making them more like a pale brown fruit loop to my sensitive palate.

Aha. After delving further into this using the wonders of the futuristic filing cabinet called the internet, it appears that Cheerios here are made and branded by a company named Uncle Tobys which in turn is owned by Nestle, made possible because of an international partnership with General Mills, which produces the cereal in the US. Phew. Long sentence.

Damnit, Nestle. You’re ruining my cereal.*

2) You say dried grape, I say you’re saying it wrong.

Did you folks in the US know that we use the word “raisin” to apply to all different types of dried grape and that’s not necessarily how the rest of the world does it? Here in Oz there are supposedly different kinds of dried grapes which are given different names. I say supposedly because I haven’t seen any small dried fruits here that aren’t sultana (Seedless Thompson) raisins. And in the US’ defense, I don’t remember seeing any non-sultana raisins the US that weren’t labelled with the grape they came from.

I liked this bit from the Wikipedia article on sultanas: “Sultana grape juice was fraudulently sold as being of Chardonnay grapes in Australia for wine making, due to the lower cost of Sultana grapes. The fraud was discovered in 2003 by Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation. It was considered the largest case of wine deception in Australian history.” Hah.

Anyway, the point is that what I’m familiar with as Raisin Bran is here named Sultana Bran.

Back when we first got here and I didn’t actually know what sultanas were or how the name came about, I found this very charming in a sort of, “I don’t know why it’s named that, but I’m going to imagine to myself that it is very fancy and the king of cereals and all the other cereals send it tithes because it is the most delicious.”

Sultana bran

It might also be worth noting that the box pictured here was selling for over seven dollars. Don’t worry, I didn’t buy it.

3) The ACTUAL king of cereals.

Did you ever have Fruit Squares cereals? Man, they were my favorite.

Image credit: http://www.mrbreakfast.com

I miss them a lot. I remember plenty of times taking baggies of the dry cereal for breakfast or lunch or snacks and being quite happy with my meal experience. This isn’t going to help my “I’m not crazy” cred, but I even remember eating them with apple juice rather than milk and being in heaven… The apple squares were totally the best. Or maybe the raisin. Or the strawberry…

Anyway, every couple of years my longing for this discontinued cereal grows and I search online for a modern alternative. Or, even, a revival?

Well, here in Australia, I finally found it! Sort of!

Fruit Miniwheats

They were *on sale* even, so I bought them!

They’re a lot sweeter than I remember. They don’t so much taste of blackcurrents as they do mildly flavored sugar jelly. That was one of the things I loved about Fruit Squares – that they weren’t too sweet and really tasted like fruit. But I’ll take it, for now. Maybe if they get popular enough, they’ll bring back the old version… I can dream, ok?


*If you’re *really* interested in international cheerio differences, you can click on these thumbnails to see nutritional information. Daily recommended values are similar between US and AU, but you can ignore that and look simply at the grams. I only included this because I was curious and looked it up. The one in kilojoules is Australian.

Cheerios Oz nutritionCheerios US nutrition


In Australian supermarkets, the only garlic available is beautiful purple hard stemmed garlic. #YUM

Oz money has windows in it!

It’s also made of plastic, not cloth. We had a bank teller tell us that US money is hard to count, because it all sticks together.

In Australian parks, signs limit hours of alcohol consumption to between 8am and 7pm. Hah! That’s a change. Ben and I spent a recent evening before going to look at a couch on top of a play structure, eating pizza and sharing a pair of beers. It was dark out already (our days are starting to get longer, not shorter), and we had to stay safe from pirates!

Rain in sunny Sydney:

And a lovely sunset to follow:

The environment here is like nowhere I’ve been in the US. Mostly bright beautiful sun, cool rainy days, palm trees, lush foliage. But even when it rains, the air feels dry and I get thirsty quickly. It’s like a drier, sunnier San Francisco, I suppose. With way cooler bugs.