Friday, September 19, 2008

Taste Test: M&M's Premiums

Just like I have my neurotic chocolate-related rituals (see Trader Joe's Dark and Milk Chocolate Cashews), my mom suffers from her own ritualistic behavior. As long as I can remember, she always caps off her night with a mint-flavored chocolate. While her favorite version is made by Abdallah Candies in Burnsville, Minnesota, she often has to resort to other sources to get her fix.

A few weekends ago when I was homing visiting my parents, she pulled out a plastic bag filled with pretty green gem-like candies. She gleefully extracted a small handful and began munching on the odd-looking chocolates that somewhat resembled the rock candy she used to put on our birthday cakes when we were children.

"What are those?" I asked, my curiosity (and appetite) officially peaked.

"The new mint M&M's Premiums. I got them at Pavilions this week."

"Are they good?" I pressed her, slightly skeptical about just how premium M&Ms could be.

Her eyes bulged with appreciation. "Yes." She moaned. "Try some."

I reached my hand into her precious supply of after dinner treats and carefully selected two pieces. I admired the exotically colored shell before popping one into my mouth. My initial hesitation was immediately silenced as I savored the creamy mint chocolate. It was perfectly balanced, and I loved that the M&M was larger than the ones in their ordinary line. My hand wandered over to the bag again -- unable to keep myself from stopping at two. Or even four. Or even...

After my positive experience with the mint M&M's Premiums, I was eager to try the other flavors in the line which include chocolate almond, mocha, triple chocolate, and raspberry almond. Because I fear that anything containing coffee will keep me up at night and have other ways of getting my share of chocolate covered nuts, I selected the triple chocolate variety. I bristled a little at the cost of $4.99 a box (though I purchased mine on sale for $3.99 at Rite Aid), but since the package does come with more than just a bag of old school M&Ms, I figured it was a worthy investment. Plus how could I go wrong with something called "triple chocolate?"

Note to future chocolate-buying self: A fancy box and fancy name and fancy price do not necessarily equate to a fancy product.

Despite my favorable reaction to the mint M&M's Premiums, I feel somewhat "meh" about the triple chocolate variety. The package purports each M&M to contain rich layers of milk, dark and white chocolate, but the flavors are fairly indistinguishable. It essentially tastes like an extra-large M&M without the crunchy coating. While the chocolate is smoother than the chocolate in a regular M&M, I found it a bit chalky and non-descript. I don't dislike it, but it's been six weeks since I bought the box, and I still haven't finished it. I tried adding some chopped up pieces to my Ben & Jerry's Lighten Up! Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt last night, but when frozen, the M&M becomes even more like it's less premium cousin. As the chocolate pieces hardened in my bowl of yogurt, I felt like I was eating an M&M Blizzard from the Dairy Queen.

I may be inclined to hit up my mom for some more mint premiums the next time I'm in the OC, but I think I've reached my premium of purchasing my own supply of upscale M&Ms.

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