Lucky Charms are an American delicacy, allegedly once banned in Britain due to the extortionate amounts of sugar, e-numbers, GMOs, and other generally disgusting ingredients. Slowly, they’ve seemed to reappear and become a bit of a cult item, available only in expensive high street stores and quirky American food shops.
Now, even the mainstream supermarkets have cottoned on to their success, and as such, Tesco sells Lucky Charms in their larger superstores, and the discounters like B&M and Poundland have Lucky Charms appear sporadically.
The only drawback is the price. The individual pots rarely sell for less than £1.00 and the large boxes can clock in at over £4.00. So whilst they’re becoming more widely available, they’re still an expensive treat.
Until now, it seems! During a trawl of the B&M aisles, I stumbled across Marshmallow Mateys, sitting neatly beside Lucky Charms. The boxes were near identical, the photograph of the cereal on the front practically the same, but the difference in price was admirable- Marshmallow Mateys £1.99 compared to Lucky Charms £3.49.
So in an entirely selfless act, and as part of ‘Review Week’, an entirely made-up thing I’ve just decided to celebrate this week, I’ve reviewed both cereals to see whether there is a difference between these remarkably similar products, aside from £1.50.
(Behold the world’s largest cup of tea on the right there.)
The cereals in Marshmallow Mateys are a slightly ‘puffier’ cereal, and as a result they aren’t quite as crunchy. The also went soggier quicker- the soggy cereal is the great divide in most friendships- so whether this is a good thing depends on your preference. The marshmallows were more ambiguous in shape (are they flowers? Mushrooms? Clouds? Who knows.) and the colours, unsurprisingly, were toned down. They also didn’t taste as sweet, with Lucky Charms I find that the marshmallow pieces are so sugary that it can make them a bit grainy and far too sweet when you’re eating them. This sort of worked to their advantage, and I actually preferred the not-so-sweet marshmallows and the soggier cereal.
Over in the ‘Brand Name’ camp, the marshmallows are plentiful and sugar rich. The colours, as you can see from the photos, are vibrant and eye-watering, and the cereal is crunchier, and stays crunchy without getting that too-long-in-the-milk sogginess. The milk turned a peculiar, steel colour, which I think is now an association many make of the Lucky Charms cereal. In the Lucky Charms, there is a marked difference between the super sweet marshmallows and the crunchy cereal. If that sort of thing is your jam, then great, but for me, I just find the marshmallows a bit jarring, like you’re chewing sugar cubes.
Overall (wasn’t this just the most thrilling review you’ve ever read? Full of excitement, so many twists. Like a rollercoaster ride.) I’d say that in this case, looks are not deceiving; these are two similar products, but with minor differences. At £1.50 cheaper, Marshmallow Mateys are certainly the more purse-friendly option and if you’re looking for an everyday breakfast cereal, then these are the ones for you. If you want it for a treat on a Sunday morning, lazing with tea and Netflix, then I’d say splurge on the brand name. Marshmallow Mateys are a worthy alternative, but they just don’t reach those dizzy heights of Lucky Charms; the originals, sugar drips from each spoonful of Lucky Charms, and there’s something overall about them that make them a bit more brand name.
And since I’m now stuck with two boxes of basically the same, sickly sugar cereal, I decided to make this sugar laced, teeth-rotting, diabetes-inducing snack. It’s sticky, crunchy, and super sweet, and perfect for parties or just scoffing by yourself- but whether you’ll still be alive afterwards or lying in a sugar-coma somewhere is another matter.
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MAKES 10 bars
PREP 10 mins, plus 2 hours setting time
▪ Will keep for 5 days in airtight container
1 tablespoon golden syrup
125g white chocolate
100g marshmallow cereal of your choice (I used Marshmallow Mateys)
Candy food colouring (optional)
1 Over a low heat, melt the butter, golden syrup, and 75g of the white chocolate in a saucepan.
2 Remove from the heat, then stir in the cereal and the marshmallows.
3 Once coated evenly with the melted butter mixture, pour into a swiss roll tin lined with baking parchment, and press out into the edges of the tin.
4 Melt the remaining chocolate, and dye with the candy colouring if using. Drizzle over the cereal, then place into the fridge for about two hours to set. To serve, cut into about 10 bars. ▪