Talkin' Snack: "Internationally inspired" M&M's | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Talkin' Snack: "Internationally inspired" M&M's

The first time I spotted these candies, they seemed unnecessary. But then I realized I could try them for this very necessary snack column.

click to enlarge M&M's: International
M&M's: International
The most notable landmark in all of New York City is M&M's World, a store devoted to the candy. But now, M&M's are taking a leap, by exploring the actual world!

In January, M&M's released three "internationally inspired" peanut M&M flavors as part of a promotion to raise awareness about the existence of other countries. The three flavors are English Toffee Peanut, Mexican Jalapeno Peanut, and Thai Coconut Peanut. It's unclear why they all had to have peanuts, but it's also unclear why they have to exist in the first place. It reminds me of the upcoming Men in Black reboot, inventively titled Men in Black: International because it's based in London.

The first time I spotted these candies in Rite Aid, I picked up the jalapeno flavor, intrigued, but eventually put them back because it seemed unnecessary. But then I realized I could try them for this very necessary snack column, so I went back and grabbed all three flavors. When I got to the register, I realized they were on sale for 50 cents each. Must be popular!

This packaging design is at least questionable. The jalapeno M&M's feature an image of the M&M mascot wearing a sombrero and holding a bundle of jalapeno peppers. The Thai coconut ones feature the M&M sipping out of a coconut through a silly straw with a tropical flower behind its "ear." The English toffee is somehow the laziest of all, with the M&M holding a stack of toffee and wearing a bowler hat with a British flag pinned in it. A coworker pointed out this should actually be an English flag, which is different. It reminds me of the "American" section of grocery stores in other countries that has like, peanut butter and Pop-tarts. 
click to enlarge Winston Churchill as an M&M
Winston Churchill as an M&M

Let's start with the toffee. Their smell is sickeningly sweet. They taste like a cavity with a hint of coffee. The best part of peanut M&M's is that the peanut adds a slightly savory flavor to cut through the chocolate, but the toffee ruins it.

Next up is the Thai coconut. This seems difficult to mess up because there are plenty of candies that combine chocolate and coconut. But these M&M's smell a bit like a foot, not a very stinky foot but one that's just begun to sweat. They taste—and not in a good way—like curry. Instead of using shredded coconut, or something like it, these M&M's taste like they were made with coconut milk (again, in a bad way).

Finally, the jalapeno, the flavor that kicked off the whole journey. It is arguably the only adventurous flavor in the bunch, but also the most confusing. Spicy chocolate exists, specifically in Mexican food, but usually cayenne or another pepper, not jalapeno. At first, they taste like a regular peanut M&M and then the heat comes in at the end and lingers in your throat like a party guest who's stayed too long.

It's hard to imagine what a better international M&M's flavor would be—maybe just better spicy chocolate? Or as one coworker suggested, Canadian maple flavor? Ultimately, it's an ill-conceived M&M concept that succeeded in making me spend $1.50, though it's not too late to save you.

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