November 29th: Matchmakers Cool Mint / Zingy Orange

Matchmakers are one of those brands that seem to have been around since the beginning of time. Well looking at the Nestle website that doesn't seem to be an entirely accurate statement - they were in fact first launched in 1968. Their name was derived around the premise that these were meant to be given as a 'token of love' .... hence ...'match making' .... hence Matchmakers. They also used to be about a third of the size they are today - that was back in the day when they resembled matches far more closely.  
Today the brand sits under the Quality Street umbrella and is available in two different variants - Cool Mint and Zingy Orange. On pack the products were described as 'mint/orange flavoured chocolates with skimmed milk chocolate, plain chocolate and boiled sugar pieces'. Hmmm boiled sugar pieces?? ... not the most appetising sounding thing ever eh!? 

I was reasonably impressed by the presentation of both the variants. Both came packaged in small cardboard boxes, which as you can see by the pictures adopted the Quality Street purple colour scheme. Inside the product was contained within a plastic tray, with extra protection offered by a cushioned paper layer. The only thing that I thought could really have been improved was that the Matchmakers could have been contained within plastic/foil packets for freshness .... they were just loosely rolling around which meant that after a few days of being left opened they were not all that fresh looking or tasting. 

Cool Mint:
Kcal 81 Fat 3.5g Fat(sats) 2.3g Carbs 11.6g (per 4 sticks)

A sweet, minty smell was instantly striking once the box was opened - it was quite enticing and provided a very indicative insight to the taste of the product.

As the smell so strongly suggested the mint was very much the dominant flavour. Each stick had a very strong peppermint taste - for me this had its upside and its downside. On one hand I enjoyed the fresh and intense flavouring, though on the flipside it truly diminished the presence of the chocolate. To be honest I could hardly taste the chocolate at all, the mint element was just so amplified and dominant. The sugar pieces did bring a pleasant enough crunchy element to the texture, however they did unnecessarily further sweeten the product. Due to the nature of the very sweet and intense flavours I could only eat a few of these at a time - they were not the most fulfilling of products ever.

Overall the influence of the chocolate on the taste was very minimal, this definitely isn't a product for chocolate connoisseurs. Saying that if your a fan of mint products it is a pretty safe assumption you will get some enjoyment from these.  

7.4 out of 10  

Zingy Orange:
Kcal 81 Fat 3.5g Fat(sats) 2.2g Carbs 11.7g (per 4 sticks)

Much like the mint variant these had a very forthcoming aroma. The orange flavouring was very evident, with the product radiating a pretty nice fruity smell. 

The flavour progression of this variant was more developed than the mint version. The chocolate had far more of a bearing on the initial taste - it was not until the aftertaste where the orange flavouring was truly dominant. The chocolate quality was not the highest, but was passable - it had a largely milky taste that was made increasingly sweet by the added sugar pieces.  The flavouring of the orange was a welcome addition, it reminded me a lot of Terry's chocolate orange in that it had a nice long fruity taste. As with the mint variant I found the added sugar pieces an unwelcome addition to the taste, though I again could note their added benefits to the texture.  

Overall these were the variant I marginally preferred mainly due to the slightly less intense, sweet taste delivered by the orange flavour. This meant that not only was the chocolate more prevalent in the taste, but I was also able to enjoy more of these at a time, making them a more fulfilling product. 

7.6 out of 10

I think it is a fair conclusion that Matchmakers are pretty far from being a high quality chocolate offering, though saying that I don't think they have ever claimed to be. Matchmakers certainly deliver one thing - and that is flavour! Both mint and orange variants deliver in respect to their stated flavours, although their prominence does come at detriment to the actual bearing of the chocolate on the overall taste.  Matchmakers aren't a product I would say you should go out your way to try, but at the same time I definitely wouldn't say avoid them ...  after all they must be doing something right to have stood the test of time!