I love M&M’s. I think that’s because, when I was growing up, I hated Skittles with a passion and therefore needed to find a luridly coloured sweet to fill that void. Peanut M&M’s obviously passed the ‘E number test’ and therefore became a crucial component of my ‘athlete’s diet’ which provided the energy to run amok around the family house between the ages of 7 and 13, and make my parents’ life an abject misery . Sorry Mum. Sorry Dad. If it makes you feel any better, ming vases are overrated anyway.
As I say, I loved chocolate M&M’s, but especially Peanut M&M’s as a kid. I really liked the Crispy variety which was out in the UK until a while ago when they were discontinued I think. On top of that, the Peanut Butter M&M’s are amongst my favourite snacks of all time. So hopes were pretty high for these Pretzel M&M’s to say the least.
I’m not really sure that I need to explain what Pretzel M&M’s are, but for any readers who are soft in the head, (brace yourselves for the excitement) these Pretzel M&M’s are M&M’s with pretzels inside them. Shocking I know. The tag line of ‘crunchy, salty, sweet’ on the bag sounded lush; I’m a huge fan of sweet and savoury fusion products so these fitted the bill.
The wrapper was just a very standard M&M look from Mars. Not really too much to waffle on about so I won’t! It was clear exactly what they were, and the bag was sealed; job done.
The key aesthetical comment here obviously needs to be made on the M&M’ themselves. It was the colours that undoubtedly drew me in as an 8 year old seeking a sugary, chemically high. Now that I’ve grown up a wee bit and can cross the road without holding someone else’s hand, I should hate the horribly fake colours. But you know what? I don’t- not one bit. They’re fun. Sure, they’re probably packed with a lot of ingredients that I can’t spell, and words that are so long I get tired reading them, but the colours improve the snack. If these were all brown, they’d suck.
They smelt exactly like normal M&M’s. If you’ve eaten M&M’s before (and I’m guessing you probably have; I think nearly everybody in the western world has at some time or another) you might know what I’m referring to when I say that. It’s quite a distinctive combination of sugary and milky notes. The thing is though, there is more than a hint of cocoa here as well; it isn’t genuine chocolate by any stretch of the imagination, but there is something a bit chocolatey in the air as well.
There is absolutely no smell whatsoever of pretzels. Not that I really care about that; the M&M’s still have a gorgeous aroma about them as described in the paragraph above. They’re probably full of all sorts of crap, the chocolate is fairly low-grade, but I love it.
Before I elaborate on the actual flavour, I’l just explain exactly what is going on in the photo below- it’s is the three layers of the Pretzel M&M, stage by stage. Kind of like an onion. A really tasty and fluorescently coloured yellow onion that is. On the left we have the whole M&M, then the chocolate layer with shell removed, and finally on the right you’ll see the pale pretzel centre itself.
First up when biting in, you crack the shell. It cracks (just like when you try and eat a Magnum ice cream and the chocolate layer bloody splits all over you) tastes very sweet…not a lot else to it really. But nobody eats M&M’s for the shells. The next layer is where it gets interesting; the chocolate layer isn’t that thick but still has plentiful flavour, with a real milky quality akin to Dairy Milk. It isn’t as creamy as Cadbury’s offering but it has the same dairy notes to it. I liked it. The emphasis of the chocolate needs to be sweet and light rather than very cocoa dominated for the next layer of the M&M.
My brain got a little confused when my tongue hit the pretzel. That’s probably because so far, the M&M has gone 1) sweet, 2) sweet. Pretzels obviously ain’t sweet. So there is a moment when things don’t add up. Basically, I think my brain contacted my tongue with the message “are you sure this is right mate? Why isn’t layer three sweet?”
It works though. The pretzel is drier and obviously much more savoury than the chocolate, and that contrast is really effective. I’ve read that the body craves sweet and salty foods, and that is possibly why these were so enjoyable.
I’d actually prefer the pretzel to be even saltier. It’s already quite salty, but the flavour contrast between the sweet and savoury could be even more blatant and extreme here.
The Pretzel M&M’s from Mars are nice. The slightly ‘baked’ taste of the salty pretzel is a little odd for the first bite, but in combination with the sweetness of the crispy coating and the milky, slightly chocolatey middle layer, it simply works.
I’d really recommend them. Remarkably, there are also only 150 calories per bag, which is half of what some chocolate bars contain. But despite the relatively low calorie count, these also deliver on flavour and have a fair (15-20) portion size.
Bring them out in the UK Mars you blighters.