Millville Rice Krispies Treats (Aldi)

Our four year old son, like many kids, enjoys a good Rice Krispies treat. I’ve never really been a big fan, but when he wanted me to get some for him on a recent trip to Aldi, I decided I would be supportive and at least pretend to like them for his sake. And then, when he asked me to eat one with him, I knew I had to take my feigned interest one step further by forcing one down my throat. Hey, maybe they’d be better than I remembered them.

These certainly look like regular crisped rice treats, a resemblance that is just as strong on the packaging as it is inside of it. There’s that trademark bright blue foil wrapper that gives way to that familiar brick of marshmallow-glazed cereal. These are a little smaller than I was expecting but it’s been so long since I’ve had them and everything seems to be shrinking in today’s economy, so it’s probably about the same size as other knockoffs, and quite possibly even the name brand.

The first sign that something might not be quite right is in the scent: It smells weird, in a way that I can’t really explain. Almost like there is mold in it? There are notes of the sweet marshmallow, but those weird notes immediately counterbalance it and turn it into something that’s not really all that appetizing. It was enough for me to second-guess the idea of putting it anywhere near my mouth, a thought that lasted for longer than it should for any type of food product.

But dig in I did.These taste…rather bizarre right off the bat. I can’t really describe it, but it doesn’t even taste like the name brand, let alone homemade ones. My wife says they taste like glue which, come to think of it, is a pretty appropriate analysis. I still maintain that there’s a flavor kind of similar to mold; like they taste expired (however, no matter how many times I checked, they were well within their “fresh by” dates). It’s a weird explanation – and one that might be just throwing words to the wind, because I can’t say with any sort of definitive certainty what mold tastes like – but I don’t know how else to convey just how bizarre the experience is of eating one. It’s like there’s that marshmallow sweetness in there somewhere, but it’s just overpowered by some kind of ominous ghost flavor that shouldn’t be there.

Unfortunately, the weirdness isn’t just relegated to the smell and the flavor: there’s also something weird in the texture. A few bites have a rather hard bit to them almost like biting down on a popcorn kernel. Is this “feature” a staple of homemade Rice Krispies treats? It’s been forever since I’ve had one, but I have to think that’s not the case: multiple times there are hard little pieces that threaten to get stuck in your teeth, or even worse, knock them right out of your mouth. I thought this was just something weird in one of them, but it happened in all three that I tried…clearly, something that consistent can’t be considered a fluke.

The one area where these things get it right is in the appearance: they’re pretty soft to chew and bite into with the exception of those pesky popcorn kernel bites. Really, it’s just a shame that more of a typical Rice Krispies treat experience couldn’t be translated into this disappointing effort from Millville.

Overall: 3.5/10. There’s something missing in this Aldi translation of a beloved snack classic…well, actually a few things missing (and one thing added). They taste expired, with a weird ghost flavor sneaking its way in amongst the sweet marshmallow. There are also hard bits in each bar (or at least the ones I ate) that are reminiscent of popcorn kernels; they come out of nowhere and threaten to get stuck in your teeth.

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