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June 10, 2009

Review: Milk Chocolate Fling

I've been toying with a few things of late, trying to find something worth writing about. And I've found things worth writing about, but I just don't know what the heck to say about them. One of those items that I should probably talk about is the Americanized Fling Chocolate. But what to say? I can go on about the ill-conceived marketing campaign, but I don't want to go there. My opinion of it would drag my little blog places I just don't want to take it. I'd rather focus on the candy, no matter what the marketing is like. I've only got the milk chocolate variety (apparently there are dark chocolate and hazelnut as well) so that's what I'm going to hit tonight. And, since I totally forgot when first posting this, I should say that I got it for free at the All Candy Expo.

And, you know, I like to focus on packaging because it catches the eye and builds some anticipation for what's to come and all that, but this is just a bit pink for my taste. But that's all part of the master plan (whatever the heck it might be) of the Mars marketing people. Inside you get two fingers (real industry term) of Fling which have a truffle layer on top of a crispy meringue style crunch layer all wrapped in "shimmering" chocolate. And they mean that shimmering thing quite literally. The pink on the package carries over to the bar with pink sparklies all over the thing. On the top of the bar it's subtle and you almost have to look for it. On the bottom it's super pink sparkle town or something. I had to start searching the web to make sure it was supposed to look like that and was safe to eat. I've seen similar, but this was a weird shimmery thing and it kind of worried me. From what I could find it's safe to eat so I took a bite. The crunch is nice, but not entirely what I had been expecting not knowing it was a meringue thing going on. But it's got a nice milky milk chocolate thing going on with a nice crunch and a nice bit of malt as well. It's not a bad combo. I'm not a fan of a whole ton of malt in my chocolate, but this gives enough to enjoy and is balanced by the milk chocolate. Overall it's a nice combo, but I'm not in love with the texture of the crunch. But that's just me being picky.

So we've got a decent crunch, a little malt, and some decent milk chocolate. It works well together so I'm going to give it a 7.75 out of 10. It's good, but not something I'll be going back for a whole lot. I don't care how pink and girly they want their product to be (I'm not about to turn my nose up at chocolate just because it's targeted toward women), I just want a different crunch in my chocolate. Same reason I don't do Twix - I don't dig the cookie in my chocolate and with Fling I just don't dig the meringue. But even if it ain't my cup of tea it still delivers some decent taste and crunch.

June 2, 2009

Review: Coconut M&M's

Going into All Candy Expo I already knew about the Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M's and was hoping to get my hands on them there. It took all of one minute of the opening session to shift my focus away from them and firmly onto the Coconut M&M's that they announced (coming later this summer - got mine in the swag bag at the Mars press conference). I'm a fan of coconut and love the texture (and miss the heck out of the Bounty bar). During a stop at the Mars booth I asked about them what they were like and the frightening answer was that they had no coconut texture. Just smooth milk chocolate and the characteristic candy crunch. So I was left to wonder: without the texture I love would I still dig the coconut action?

In a word YES! This could have ended up being a distressingly short review because I just want to say how much I love them, but we're going to go ahead and try and focus in and say something constructive about them. The basic idea is a slightly larger than normal M&M with dose of coconut flavor. Simple enough, right? And the concept is exactly what they delivered. It's an M&M chock full of great coconut flavor. And the really weird thing is this - it is dead on perfect coconut flavor with no nasty aftertaste, but nowhere in the ingredients do you find anything even close to coconut, not even natural flavor! They have a perfect artificial coconut flavor going on here! I was forced to share them around the office to make sure that I wasn't imagining things and everybody confirmed it. It tastes real. More than that, everybody liked them. People who hate the texture of coconut found them great. People who normally don't like coconut liked them (wha?). People who love the texture and taste of coconut like I do also loved them. It's a great implementation of a simple idea.

So, how great are they? Well, I'm tempted to give them a 10 just because I love the heck out of them. I consider Peanut M&M's a 9 and I like these better! So I'm going to give it a big ol' 9.5 out of 10 and call it nearly perfect. Why isn't it perfect? Because it's a limited edition. How unfair of me is that? I'm terrible. Anyway, I'm hoping that people love this is much as it deserves and it gets granted a position in the normal lineup. As far as I'm concerned this is a true winner. And all the people I've asked agree with me. Whether it is eventually adopted full-time or not, I have to give it to Mars. Bravo, people. Bravo.

June 1, 2009

Review: Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M's

I love to hunt for candy. Love to. I've been to more than a dozen places looking for the M&M's and Snickers limited edition Transformers tie-ins and after weeks of searching I have finally found the Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M's in a store. Of course I got some at the All Candy Expo a couple of weeks back, but after all of the searching I had to keep trying to find it in store. It was a point of pride or some such stupidity. Not to mention as I look for it I'm also looking for the Snickers Nougabot which I still have not found anywhere. But frustrations aside, tonight I'm going to address the M&M's.

I have to admit that when I first read about the Strawberried Peanut Butter M&M's my immediate reaction was a little confusion and horror. Strawberry and Peanut Butter? Seriously? It took a moment for it to click in my mind - it's peanut butter and jelly! I felt kind of stupid after that, but most people I've presented it to have the same mental block so I'm not the only person who can't see the obvious. Confusion aside, lets take a look at what we've got here. It's a peanut butter M&M with a hit of strawberry flavor to go along with the chocolate and peanut butter (yeah, I sort of failed to even mention the chocolate originally - oops!). It's a simple enough concept so it all comes down to execution and this is where it shines. I expected the peanut butter to taste like peanut butter, but wasn't sure what the strawberry would taste like. Strangely, it tastes like strawberry! With the odd exception the flavor is more peanut butter than strawberry and I'm really wanting just a little more strawberry than I'm getting, but the flavors are good and go well together. It tastes good.

So while it's a flavor combination I really didn't see coming, it's one that works on a very traditional level and one that they pull off very well. It isn't the ideal balance of flavors in my eyes, but I'm really one of those people who likes a little peanut butter with their jelly so I can forgive them. At the end of the day it's still good and different and a fun limited edition and as such I'm going to give it an 8 out of 10. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Get 'em while you can or hit the bargain stores in a few months or look for it back in stores when the DVD hits.