May 23rd: M&M's Chocolate / Dark Chocolate / Almond

Over the past few days - with a helping hand from my chums at CandyPirate I have been sampling some of the remaining M&M lines I had not reviewed. Those of you who have been reading Chocolate Mission may recall that I have previously reviewed the 'Peanut', 'Crispy' and 'Peanut Butter' variants already - all to relative success with them all scoring in the upper 7s or low 8s.

Today sees me review the UK original 'choco' version and both the 'Dark Chocolate' & 'Almond' variants both of which are from the US (to get hold of them yourselves pay CandyPirate a visit!)

Kcal 212 Fat 9.6g Carbs 30.6g

I picked up this 45g bag of original 'chocolate' flavoured M&M's in my local newsagent - to my knowledge this variant is the main seller of the M&M's brand here in the UK. This single serving bag was plentiful and was more than adequete doing a job curing my hunger.

The packet as you can see above is very friendly looking though unfortunately did not give the product an overly fresh I later found with the other variants aswell the aroma was an issue throughout with the M&M's line - with none of them being overly appertising.

In appearace these were varied and colourful - Im always impressed with the look of M&M's..I find the variety of colours intresting and appealing on the eye - the embossed 'M' found on each one also adds to what is already a classy look.

I found the shells on these suprisingly dense and they gave each M&M a resounding crunch. The chocolate inside was smooth in texture especially when melted in the mouth - the resulting combination of these two textures was a pleasant one though nothing amazingly luxurious.

This variant definately had the strongest tasting outer shells - the flavour was very sweet and gave an after taste that semmed slightly saccharine based... which wasnt the nicest. Luckily the chocolate element was the strongest flavour and masked the slightly over sweetened outer layer - the chocolate tasted very milk based which made for a smooth but slightly bland taste.

Overall though far from being bad these are probably the least favourite of the entire range I have sampled so far. If it came to an 'either/or ' situation between these and Smarties..the Smarties would win every time as they just seemed to have a better tasting sugar coated layer and also Smarties have the added 'orange' flavour variant going on. As I said these are hardly a bad product but just suffer due to their being better alternatives on the market.

7.0 out of 10

Kcal 240 Fat 11.0g Fat(sats) 7.0g Carbs 33.0g

As I said above these are currently only avalible in the US and came to me in a plentiful 47.9g packet. This was a larger serving size than any of the other single serving variants packets.. which was slighty suprising as you would expect with a dark chocolate product that the flavour would be richer - therefore meaning you would want slightly you can guess the large sized pack made for a hunger fufiling product.

I think we have established now that im a fan of the look of M&M's...these looked exactly the same as the original chocoate variant though with the slight edition of the word 'dark' which was printed under the familiar 'M'.

I found the smell of these disappointing in that it wasnt any different from the original M&Ms - a very faint sweet cocoa smell but that aside no noticeable 'dark chocolate' distinguishable aroma.

Though the ingredient list didnt specify a solids level the chocolate is described as 'semi sweet' and this was exaclty how it tasted. The chocolate was ever so slightly more bitter and when combined with the sugar coating had a slight nutty note. Texturewise the difference in chocolate type didnt affect the melting point of the inside chocolate and these still melted at a nice rate in the mouth.

Overall these wernt quite the dark chocolate experience I was quite hoping for. I personally would have preffered the flavour to be richer and more cocoa based, though I can understand to a certain extent to why this has been limited in this make a broader consumer based frendlier product...if it was darker in flavour it would probably be too niche for a mass market confectionary product. These are a nice variation from the original...which I personally prefer...they are a different proposition and worth a look at it.

7.5 out of 10

Kcal 200 Fat 11.0g Fat(sats) 3.5g Carbs 21.0g

Another imported variant from the US and one that came in a 37.1g single serving packet. Compared to the rest of the range (especially the nut variants) these were the lowest in calories and saturated I guess if your going to have M&M's on a diet these are the ones to have.

As you can see above these were similar in look to the 'peanut' variant - though they were relatively bigger in size....with some even being about the size of 5/6 standard M&M's (or one mini creme egg if you would rather!).

Although still not overly impressive these had the best aroma of the range to date and offered a slight nutty smell. As you will probably be aware by now the smell really is something that let down the M&M's range as a whole.

The relative difference in size of these was accountable by the fact these contained whole almonds. Despite this the chocolate layer was still relatively thick - the flavour was still substantial enough to provide a nice smooth milky flavour. Of course the main focus of this product is the almond element...and it dosent let it down. The nuts provide a distinct crunchyness to the texture. They have a very pleasant nutty taste which has a slightly buttery flavour that differentiaties it from other nut containing bars which are normally all hazelnut.

Overall these are the best I have tasted in the M&M's range so far. The almond element is executed brilliantly..they taste fantastic and fresh and add a nice crunchy texture. The almonds definately benefit from being implemented in a 'whole nut' manner rather than a chopped/crushed manner that you find in alot of other bars that contain nuts. I whole heartedly recommend these to any M&M's or nuts fans.

8.3 out of 10

Want to try the delcious Dark Chocolate M&M's or tasty Almond M&M's for yourself? Head over to CandyPirate....Buy American Candy & Foods in the UK!!