REVIEW: Maltesers

Maltesers

If you live in England or some other countries, you might be asking yourself, “Why is The Impulsive Buy reviewing Maltesers?” Presumably you’re asking yourself this question with an accent that those of us who live in the United States find utterly charming.

Well, my far-off friends, us Americans have just been gifted with the arrival of Maltesers, having had to settle for Whoppers to soothe our chocolate and malt-craving sweet tooth during movie viewings. Unless you’d prefer Raisinets, in which case, go sit in another aisle.

It’s impossible to eat these Maltesers without comparing them to Whoppers, so I just went ahead and did that.

First off, Maltesers, a name that gets weirder every time I type it, are made by the Mars Co. I was surprised to find “Made in Great Britain” on the package. Mars isn’t making them in the US, they’re just importing them here now. Whoppers are produced by Hershey’s, the great rival to Mars.

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As you can see, Whoppers are smaller and have a matte finish, while Maltesers are quite a bit larger and have a shiny, waxy finish to them.

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While Maltesers are bigger on the outside, they are decidedly less dense than Whoppers on the inside. Having been a Whopper consumer all my life, eating a mouthful for the purposes of comparison was a familiar sensation – weak chocolate flavor and a texture that briefly feels like it’s going to break your teeth before the inside breaks apart, gumming up but giving you that strong malt flavor.

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Despite both being chocolate-covered malted milk treats, Maltesers are basically the opposite. I popped a few in my mouth and there was little resistance when I chomped down – these candies are just as light and airy as they look. And, like their texture, the malt flavor is also light and airy.

The inside dissolves quickly, leaving you with more of a chocolate taste than anything. But, because this is chocolate made in Great Britain, the quality of it is much higher than that of Whoppers.

So, now you’ve got two malted milk chocolate candy options. Which one you choose is really up to you. I loved the light inner texture of Maltesers and the quality of the chocolate, but they were pretty light on the malt flavor, due to the filling dissolving so quickly. But it’s that airiness that makes them so poppable.

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When it comes down to it, Maltesers is simply a higher-quality product than Whoppers. It’s got good chocolate and a great texture, although it is light on the malt flavor. But, despite the name, the package doesn’t really play up the maltiness of the candy – it calls them “chocolatey candies” and their trademark is “playful crunch, chocolately delight.” So if that was the goal, Maltesers has delivered hands-down. I blew threw this single-serve bag in an alarmingly short amount of time. They’re dangerously good.

I’ll leave you with a fun fact from Wikipedia: “In the 1930s, advertisements claimed that the Maltesers honeycomb centre is seven times less fattening than ordinary chocolate centres; this led marketers to claim it was beneficial for weight loss.”

Cocaine used to be advertised for weight loss, too! I’d argue it had better results, though. (Just kidding, kids – don’t do drugs!)

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pack – 190 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, 8% calcium, 4% iron..)

Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: 1.30 oz. package
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Excellent chocolate quality. Light and airy filling. Doesn’t gum up in your mouth. Cocaine (Just kidding, again!)
Cons: Lacking the malted milk flavor of Whoppers. Silly 1930s weight loss campaigns. I’m no longer sure I’m spelling Maltesers right anymore.

REVIEW: Butterfinger Peanut Butter Crisp Bar

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Crisp Bar

If Bart Simpson were still slanging Butterfingers today, he’d most definitely say, “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger…Peanut Butter Crisp Bar!”

C’mon, you didn’t expect a Butterfinger review without a mention of Bart Simpson, right?!

But Nestle has moved on from Bart Simpson to Backstreet Boys covers with the Peanut Butter Crisp Bar.

Speaking of throwbacks like BSB, the latest version of this Butterfinger innovation is apparently a relaunch with “even more dose of Butterfinger” – whatever that means. However, they’ve added crunchy toffee pieces with the wafer layers and Butterfinger crème.

I think it’s interesting they’re now highlighting peanut butter on-pack because all Butterfingers have peanut butter in the first place. They now also tout that there are no artificial flavors or colors and that added colors are from natural sources. Well then, I don’t want to know what was in my Crisp Bar back in the day.

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I bought the Fun Size pack because I was greedy and raiding the Easter chocolate section. I also thought Fun Size would be a good way to portion control. But, I ate three Fun Size Crisp Bars in record time, so I really should have just purchased one 2-ounce package because it comes with three pieces anyway. Ugh.

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Visually, my borderline-OCD-self appreciated the perfect machine-laid layers of the wafer and crème. You can see the toffee only sits on the top, so as expected, it doesn’t really translate like it does when eating a non-Crisp Bar. Overall, there’s less crunchety (aka no toffee bits stuck in your teeth) than a regular Butterfinger but there’s still a satisfying crispiness as you can hear loud and clear in the BSB cover video.

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It tastes really similar to the Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups – maintaining that trademark Butterfinger taste but with a smoother finish. The last flavor is the creamy, sweet chocolate coating. But I think it’s less sweet because of the wafer addition and the lack of crystalized toffee sugar-bomb bits. I personally don’t like my chocolate leaving a sickly sweet back-of-throat aftertaste, so I was totally into the chocolate on the bar!

I didn’t expect to, but I really enjoyed these. I even thought to myself – if I was a kid at trick-or-treating age, I’d love to have a jack-o-lantern full of these. Wrong time of year, I know, but that’s how much I enjoyed them.

My only request though: I’d love for Nestle to make a 2 lb Butterfinger Peanut Butter Crisp Bar so I can indulge in my sweet-tooth-Butterfinger dreams. Who’s with me?!

(Nutrition Facts – 2 bars – 200 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 17 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.00
Size: 11 oz. Fun Size bag
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Perfect machine-laid layers of wafer and Butterfinger crème. Less crunchety but still satisfying. Less sweet than regular Butterfingers.
Cons: Where’s Bart Simpson at? Toffee doesn’t really translate.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M’s

Limited Edition Strawberry Nut M&M's

One of 2016’s biggest snack breakthroughs was the expansion of the Peanut M&M’s line. America voted between three new flavors, with Coffee Nut coming away the victor.

Coffee Nut got my vote, but really enjoyed Honey Nut, and even found Chili Nut to be a decent and novel idea. Coffee Nut has now become a candy rack mainstay, and it looks like Mars isn’t stopping there. Say hello to Strawberry Nut M&M’s.

I found it at my local Rite Aid. I was in there with intentions of buying a greeting card, which is the most tedious shopping experience known to man, so finding a new Peanut M&M’s flavor was a very pleasant surprise.

The store sold only a “Share Size” bag, which reminded me of my crippling loneliness. Hello darkness, my old friend.

I asked the first woman I saw if she would like to split the bag with me and she proceeded to mace me.

Once the sting wore off, I tore the glossy paper bag open and met a waft of that familiar stale, almost peppery chocolate scent you always get from M&M’s. This time, however, there was a nice underlying strawberry smell.

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I’m always fascinated by the color selection when a new M&M’s flavor comes out. With Strawberry Nut you get red for the outside of the strawberry, pink for the inside, and green for the stem. Way to sneak in there, Green. I’m not sure anyone would have felt bad if the stem and leaf of the strawberry weren’t represented in color form, but who knows, people complain about everything these days – present company included. On to the taste!

I’m torn of what I thought of the strawberry flavor here. On one hand, it wasn’t very powerful, so while tossing back a few at a time, it started to taste like I was eating normal Peanut M&M’s. On the other hand, if they did go overboard with the strawberry, it would have been way too sweet and artificial tasting. I guess I’ll never know. I found the strawberry to be quite subtle. It was noticeable, but don’t expect too much.

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I did some surgery on a piece with my teeth to isolate the chocolate because I thought the shell and peanut were masking the strawberry flavor, but even that wasn’t all that strawberry-ey(?).

Still, the flavor was nice. That’s the best I can tell ya. If these were in the running last year, I would have ranked them 3rd, just ahead of Chili Nut. I probably wanted more strawberry, but I love Peanut M&M’s, so it’s hard to complain when something tastes like slightly different Peanut M&M’s.

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So, while these weren’t a grand slam, I commend the fine people at Mars. I appreciate them branching out the peanut line, as Peanut M&M’s are FAR superior than regular ones. Instead of giving us twenty regular M&M’s flavors a year, keep pushing this peanut line.

It’s also great to see Mars dive more and more into the fruit world. I know they made Cherry M&M’s, so here’s hoping Cherry Nut isn’t too far off. As a lover of those chocolate oranges, I’d be all for an Orange Nut. (don’t say “go nuts,” don’t say “go nuts.”) Go Bananas!

Oh, Banana Nut!

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 pack (46 g) – 240 calories, 110 calories from fat, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 3.27 oz. bag
Purchased at: Rite Aid
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: The more Peanut M&M’s the better. Strawberry isn’t crazy powerful, but it’s there. M&M fruit flavors. A potential sign of more flavors to come? Gimmie Banana Nut!
Cons: I probably would have picked these third in the new flavor contest. No one to share your Share Size bag with. Limited Edition. Greeting cards are awful. Macing is no laughing matter.

REVIEW: Vanilla Cupcake M&M’s

Vanilla Cupcake M&M’s

The trouble with vanilla cupcake flavor is — just what IS it? Is it simply a marketing ploy because vanilla is “too boring” on its own? What exactly is added to a vanilla item to make it taste like a cupcake? If you asked me what a vanilla cupcake tastes like, I’d say vanilla – in which case, does it need any additions to make it taste like a cupcake? It feels like I’m lost in a hall of mirrors.

Enter Vanilla Cupcake M&M’s. I hoped they would solve this existential crisis for me, since Hershey’s Cupcake Kisses fell short on that task.

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The purple & polka dot theme of the packaging is attractive, but I’m not sure I would’ve chosen the Green M&M character for this bag. Cupcakes are fun and silly – the “sexy” M&M (insert eye roll here) vamping seems out of place here. Yellow’s goofy personality would be a better fit. And it would fill my head with J.K. Simmons’ voice saying “Beecher, want a vanilla cupcake?”

The aroma inside the bag was 80 percent vanilla, 20 percent…something else. Something I imagine is meant to remind one of frosting, but comes off as a chemical-y approximation.

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The intense pastel hues of these M&M’s made my eyes very happy. They definitely belong in a cute bowl on display next to a bouquet of spring flowers.

Inside, these are the white chocolate/candy coating base we’ve seen in other recent flavor releases like White Cheesecake and Boo-terscotch.

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If given a blind taste test of these M&M’s, I would swear they were vanilla milkshake flavored. I picked up on the strong vanilla flavor and I got the milky white chocolate, but the essence of “cupcake” evaded me. The frosting-esque smell didn’t carry over to the taste buds, either.

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So did these M&Ms fail at capturing that certain cupcake je ne sais quoi? Or were they right on target, since they tasted like vanilla – exactly as a vanilla cupcake would? I DON’T KNOW!

What I do know is they were delicious and I promptly ate the entire bag. If you like white chocolate M&M’s – and can ponder vanilla cupcake philosophy better than I – give these a go.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 oz – 210 calories, 100 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.55 (on sale)
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Beautiful, happy spring colors. Strong vanilla milk flavor.
Cons: A vanilla cupcake this is not. (Or is it?? My head hurts.)

REVIEW: Milka Oreo Choco-Mix

Milka Oreo Choco-Mix Snack Mix

For my entire adult life, I have maintained that the Spice Girls will forever be Europe’s greatest contribution to the United States. Let’s face it, “Wannabe” was the biggest radio hit in 1997. These days, I only hear it while sitting in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. And every time, I have to endure the subsequent joke from my dentist to open my mouth and say “zig-a-zig ahh.” Every. Single. Time.

While the only notable thing I’ve done lately is spend an entire day watching “Spice World,” the folks at Mondelez are making a splash by bringing another group of marquee stars from overseas. Milka Oreo Choco-Mix is the third part of the treat trifecta — treat-fecta? -— from the Milka and Oreo brands, the others being the Big Crunch Bar and Chocolate Candy Bar. It’s got mini Oreo and Golden Oreo cookies, Milka chocolate buttons, and candy coated chocolate pieces. Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and schedule my next dentist appointment now.

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?Opening the bag of Milka Oreo Choco-Mix to a visage of only Oreos brought a wave of conflicting feelings. On one hand, I’ll never complain about a surplus of Oreos. But on the other hand, what happened to the other stuff? I soon discovered that the lighter ingredients had settled to the bottom, and all I had to do was jostle the bag. The Spice Girls once exclaimed, “slam it to the left…shake it to the right!” Fun fact: they were actually singing about Choco-Mix.

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Let’s deconstruct Milka Oreo Choco-Mix for a minute. The mini Oreo sandwich cookies are the familiar Oreo flavors you know and love. The mini classic Oreos have a slightly bitter chocolate cookie, while the mini Golden Oreos use a sweeter, vanilla-flavored cookie. Both contain the same sweet, sugary creme. The candy coated chocolate pieces are identical to M&M’s: creamy milk chocolate, with a crunchy candy shell. If those pieces use higher quality Milka chocolate instead of Mars chocolate, I didn’t taste a significant difference.

Speaking of that higher quality Milka chocolate, it’s scattered throughout this Choco-Mix in the form of round, thin discs. The chocolate is rich and creamy, and hands down better than anything we have here in the United States. The discs are light and firm, providing a crisp bite that melts instantly in your mouth.

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To my surprise, the separate ingredients actually come together quite well. I was half-expecting a handful of Milka Oreo Choco-Mix to simply devolve into a mouthful of sugar, but the components manage to play off of each other without getting lost. The bitter classic Oreo cookie is a good counterpart to the sweeter chocolate candies and sugary Oreo creme. The golden Oreo cookie introduces a vanilla flavor to avoid going too heavy on the chocolate. The crunchy cookies, hard candy shells, and creamy chocolate create a nice variety in texture.

But even though Milka Oreo Choco-Mix works well, it seems one-dimensional after a handful or two. I found myself yearning for more variety—for example, through the addition of nuts (candy coated chocolate pieces with peanuts, perhaps) or different flavors of Oreos (cough mini Reese’s Oreos cough). And the proportion of the ingredients leans heavily toward the Milka discs, which can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t get an even handful.

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Milka Oreo Choco-Mix is a solid snack mix and a welcome addition to the candy aisle. I’m hoping that in the future, we’ll see new versions with even more ingredients and Oreo flavors. For now though, it’s worth the extra dentist appointment.

I can’t wait to hear “Wannabe” again.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/4 cup – 200 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 20 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein.).)

Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 6.17 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Good combination of flavors and fun textural variety. Excellent, high-quality chocolate. The Spice Girls are first-ballot Rock and Roll Hall of Fame candidates.
Cons: Taste becomes slightly redundant after a couple of handfuls. Might contain too many Milka discs. Could benefit from addition of new ingredients or Oreo flavors. Corny dentist jokes.