Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Gossip: New M&M's and Snickers flavours and Packaging Change

More M&M gossip!

Around September/October this year, we'll see Mars' new seasonal release for 2012/13 come into shops. This year's new flavour will be milk chocolate orange - yum!

In the same time period Mars will be introducing new packaging for their 180-200g M&Ms bags. The bags will have a gusseted bottom and stand upright on their own, plus be resealable (a la Cadbury Crunchie Rocks and the like - fold-over resealable, not zip-lock). Interestingly, the pack sizes, barcodes and images are not changing, just the packaging shape. I don't have pictures just yet, but will share as soon as I do.

There is also whispers of a new Snickers variety, Three Nut, but I don't have any more info besides the name just yet.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Mars Galaxy Minstrels Milk Chocolate

 Mars Galaxy Minstrels (previously known as just 'Minstrels') are a milk chocolate bite-sized product, similar to Smarties or M&Ms, but somewhat larger in size. They are a favourite product in the UK, but are also available in Spain, France, Ireland, Malta, South Africa and Cyprus. In May of this year, Mars decided to begin selling them to the Australian market.

My exposure to Minstrels is quite limited; a relative bought me a bag when they went to the UK some years ago. I remember enjoying them, but not enough to seek them out at an importer. We'll see if they've changed.

The bag is 150g, a decent size for a munchable bite-size chocolate. It's neatly gusseted to stand upright (nothing worse than opening a bag and then having its contents spill everywhere). The slogan on the front encourages you to 'surrender to smooth and creamy Galaxy milk chocolate  captured in crispy shells'. For the curious, Galaxy chocolate was known here in Australia for a while as Dove chocolate. Remember those silky-smooth bars? I miss them.

The bite-size pieces of chocolate are quite large, about 2cm wide, and 1cm thick at the centre. Each one is a small bite on its own. They are quite a dark brown in colour, almost black, and with a nice shine to the candy coating. Only the occasional Minstrel is scuffed - they are all in good condition, considering the bag has come all the way from Poland (!). They smell faintly of dark chocolate, but the scent isn't strong at all - I practically had to shove my nose in the pile before I could make a guess. A few were slightly deformed with a bent-in side.

Candy coatings on chocolate always give a great crunch to a bite, and the Minstrels are no exception. If you really enjoy the sound, for a chocolate with such a thin coating, it sure makes a lot of noise in your mouth! The bite is easy with only a little resistance to break through the candy coating, but the chocolate is easy to chew and not firm at all. The chocolate is very sweet, about on par with Cadbury Snack, and it's a good thing there's six servings (25g - about 8-9 pieces) in this bag, because I don't think I could eat more than that without a break.

The milk chocolate contains a minimum of 26% cocoa solids, and may contain traces of peanuts and treenuts.

Have you tried these? I'd love to know what you think!