REVIEW: White Chocolate Marshmallow M&M’s

White Chocolate Marshmallow M M s

What are White Chocolate Marshmallow M&M’s?

Because a bag of novelty-flavored M&M’s is easily stuffed into a bright plastic egg basket, Mars is dropping another installment of its special edition Easter flavors! This time, it’s white chocolate with marshmallow.

How are they?

You know how when you see cooking show contestants using the same batter/dough/base for multiple items, they are mostly likely not going to win? That’s what these M&M’s taste like. They’re essentially the same as the basic white chocolate M&M with the tiniest hint of another flavor zipping by at light speed.

White Chocolate Marshmallow M M s Plated

In this case, the flavor isn’t even the marshmallow advertised – it’s closer to fondant icing. You know how cooking show judges howl in disappointment when cakes or cookies get covered in fondant? It’s a polarizing flavor. Fondant is supposed to taste like marshmallow, but is more like what a replicator on the Enterprise that needs a tune-up would spit out.

The good news is there’s so little of it – and the white chocolate is dominant enough – that if you don’t know what fondant is, you might not even notice it here. I’ve been making cakes with it for 18 years, so I’d recognize that sugary dough anywhere.

White Chocolate Marshmallow M M s Pastels

While they taste perfectly pleasant (relying on the strength of their white chocolate base flavor), there’s a huge wasted opportunity here and I’m deducting points for that. Why didn’t they play around with texture? Swap out the crispy malted filling of the M&M’s Mini Eggs with a breakfast-cereal-style marshmallow center?

White Chocolate Marshmallow M M s Innards

Is there anything else you need to know?

The flesh-toned M&M’s are back in this mix, which is odd because they don’t seem to relate to the flavor here. As a color combination, I didn’t love it.

Conclusion:

If you love the white chocolate M&M’s, they’re not a bad purchase with lowered expectations. If you vehemently hate fondant and/or are a cooking show judge, proceed with caution.

Purchased Price: $3.19 (on sale)
Size: 8 oz. bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz./16 pieces) 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 15 grams of total sugars, 17 grams of added sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Oreo Music Box

Oreo Music Box 1

Oreo ended 2018 in peak novelty fashion with the release of the Oreo Music Box – a tiny turntable that “plays” Oreo cookies. Place any regulation-size Oreo on the disc and you’ll hear a selection of pre-loaded music. You can also record your own audio that subsequently gets tacked onto the start of the music. It comes in a tin with a selection of Oreos inside (as if anyone who would buy this doesn’t already have a stash?)

Oreo Music Box 2

I was really happy to see an Oreo holiday item that wasn’t flavor-related. I love the flavor releases, but I appreciate it when well-known brands go deep with imagination and whimsy. This product debuted in China in Fall of 2017. I was thrilled to hear it was landing on our shores and even more so to find one under my Christmas tree.

Oreo Music Box 3

The music box itself felt surprisingly sturdy, despite the cardboard and plastic exterior. When I placed an Oreo on and moved the stylus into place, it did “play” music. The volume was decent, and audio quality was exactly what I expected – not great, but not bad for what was essentially a novelty toy.

Oreo Music Box 4

As promised, as I bit chunks from the cookie, the music tracks changed. Each cut was a slightly different take on a vaguely familiar tune I think I’d heard in past Oreo campaigns. Adorable! I was a little disappointed there was no way to program your own music or audio beyond the 30-second record feature.

Oreo Music Box 5

The record feature also worked fine, although the volume was a notch lower than the pre-loaded music and the instructions had error in them. (The double red light never appeared – it went right to green and was recording.)

Oreo Music Box 6

I say “play” in quotes because this music box doesn’t work like a record player. It’s not reading information stored in the cookie. It’s reading the presence and position of an object on the turntable to trigger a programmed audio clip.

As best I can tell, it works based on five sensors on the turntable. As long as one of them is covered by a solid object, it will spin and “play.” I tried it with various objects – a Wheat Thin, a pat of butter, a quarter and a tiny slip of paper. The only one that didn’t work was the paper, I suspect because the light in the stylus could shine through to the sensor.

Oreo Music Box 7

This is a great gift for an Oreo-lover or toy for a child. It’s cute and does exactly what it says. I loved it. It’s well-made and could last, but the limited audio options make it something that may not hold attention long. The price point is a bit high for a novelty you use a handful of times, but possibly worth it in sheer delight.

Music Courtesy of Loyalty Freak Music.

Purchased Price: $19.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Amazon
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: N/A

REVIEW: Festive Limited Edition Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Cinnamon (United Kingdom)

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Cinnamon

What is the Festive Limited Edition Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Cinnamon?

Coca-Cola has introduced a new cinnamon-tinged variety of Coke Zero (excuse me – Coke Zero Sugar) – only during the holiday season and only in the UK.

How is it?

There was just a basic Coke aroma inside the bottle. No trace of cinnamon, which is unusual since I find most “flavored” items rely heavily on scent.

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Cinnamon 2

The first mouthful read “Coke Zero” for a good two seconds before the cinnamon announced itself. It was a good, middle-of-the-road cinnamon – present but not overbearing. I didn’t find it to be glaringly artificial, either. This wasn’t Pepsi Fire – it wasn’t bringing heat, just a mild spice, which I really appreciated.

Coke Zero Sugar Cinnamon would make a great party drink for teetotalers who want a little extra something besides the usual soft drinks, but it would also make a great base for cocktails. How about a rum and Coke Zero Cinnamon with a splash of orange liqueur? Call it a “Christmas Potpourri.” Or don’t, because that’s a terrible name for a beverage.

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Cinnamon 3

Is there anything else you need to know?

This might be a tough find. Released in October, it is only appearing until the end of December. It was already scarce in the city centers I visited in Scotland. I only saw it in one Tesco, after I’d half given up searching for it in about a dozen other groceries and convenience stores.

Editor’s Note: If you’re SUPER eager to try it, there are folks on eBay selling bottles for ten times the selling price, plus shipping.

Conclusion:

Coke Zero Cinnamon was a pretty good (temporary) addition to the Coke lineup – a mild and tasty cinnamon shot. I can’t see this as a year-round flavor, but I would certainly repurchase it during the holidays. It’s worth a try if you can get it. I hope it’s released stateside, but will we have to wait until next year?

Purchased Price: £1.25 (approximately $1.57 USD)
Size: 500 ml bottle
Purchased at: Tesco
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 250ml) 1 calorie, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of sugars, 0.03g salt
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QUICK REVIEW: Kit Kat Chocolatory Special Strawberry Maple (Japan)

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What is Kit Kat Chocolatory Special Strawberry Maple?

While in Tokyo recently, I made a stop at the Kit Kat Chocolatory store & café and brought home some goodies. Kit Kat, the king of novelty-flavored candy bars, has rolled out a Strawberry Maple variety for their Chocolatory retail outlets in Japan.

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How is it?

These Kit Kats have a strong, pleasant, but artificial, strawberry aroma. Like a bowl of Frankenberry doused in Strawberry Quik. No trace of maple yet.

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Strawberry was definitely in charge of the flavors. The taste was in line with the scent profile – nostalgic fake berry. I love this flavor, but it’s present everywhere – including multiple Kit Kats – so it didn’t excite me here.

2018 12 21 KKSM4

I only picked up the maple after the strawberry taste faded away, and even then it was subtle. If I wasn’t expecting maple, I don’t think I would have noticed it at all. The more I ate, the less I tasted it. This was disappointing since I’m a huge maple fan.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Google translate amuses me to no end. The translation of the text inside the box lid reads: “You can enjoy exquisite harmony with maple smelled faintly. With fresh strawberries.”

2018 12 21 KKSM5

Conclusion:

These are pleasant, but like the Ruby Kit Kats, they’re too familiar to feel special. If you’re a strawberry fanatic, seek them out. Otherwise, give them a try if they meander into your world, but don’t make an effort. If you’re a maple fan, pass on these – it’s just not there.

Purchased Price: 400 yen (approx. $3.52 US)
Size: 46.4 g box (4 mini bars)
Purchased at: Kit Kat Chocolatory main store, Ginza, Tokyo
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 11.6g bar) 64 calories, 3.7 grams of fat, 4-24 milligrams of sodium, 7.3 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.48 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Kit Kat Chocolatory Special Butter (Japan)

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What is Kit Kat Chocolatory Special Butter?

While in Tokyo recently, I made a stop at the Kit Kat Chocolatory store & café and brought home some goodies. Now, there’s always one errant flavor in the group that everyone raises an eyebrow at and this is it: butter.

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I’ll let the Google translation of the text inside the box describe them: “I kneaded butter powder between the layers of the wafers, making full use of the sweetness of chocolate, I finished it tastefully to feel the richness of butter.”

How is it?

The aroma inside the package reminded me of baking and raw dough. The taste was an instantly familiar one, yet novel to this format – creamed butter. When making cookies, you usually start by mixing sugar and butter together – creaming. Those of us with no willpower are very well-versed in the flavor of creamed butter, and this Kit Kat has captured it perfectly.

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I thought these would be less sweet and heavier on the butter, which is why I wasn’t sure about them at the start. I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed them. If you prefer your sweet/butter ratio on the savory side, you probably won’t like these. But if you’ve had your hand slapped by Mom or Grandma for dipping into the mixing bowl early, you’ll love them.

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Is there anything else you need to know?

I now regret only buying one box.

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Conclusion:

I’ll just say it – I loved Butter Kit Kats. If you’re buying gifts for a baking junkie, track these down. If you’re a novelty junkie, track them down. If you’re a butter junkie, they’ll still make you happy, but not as ecstatic as the baking freaks. But that’s probably OK since your heart might explode if they did.

Purchased Price: 400 yen (approx. $3.52 US)
Size: 46.4 g box (4 mini bars)
Purchased at: Kit Kat Chocolatory main store, Ginza, Tokyo
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 11.6 g bar) 65 calories, 3.8 grams of fat, 4-24 milligrams of sodium, 7.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.45 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Kit Kat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby (Japan)

Kit Kat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby

What is the Kit Kat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby?

While in Tokyo recently, I made a stop at the Kit Kat Chocolatory store & café and brought home some goodies. Ruby Kit Kats are a new type of chocolate made from unfermented cocoa beans (regular chocolate is fermented). There’s no coloring added, so the dusty mauve tint is the natural shade of the cocoa beans.

Kit Kat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby 2

How is it?

Ruby Kit Kats smell like white chocolate and taste like a blueberry or blackberry-flavored white chocolate. There’s a prominent cheesecake-style tang.

Kit Kat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby 3

It’s a tasty Kit Kat, but I expected something out of left field since it’s a whole new category of chocolate. However, it tasted like something I’ve had before. Without the press releases and special packaging, I would have figured it was just another novelty flavor.

The color is lovely. It gives the illusion that it’s more natural than the bright pink most berry items sport these days. Maybe it is since there’s no coloring added?

Kit Kat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby 4

Is there anything else you need to know?

Wanna know how to spend $42 in a Kit Kat store? This is it. These are ‘spensive – $3.50 for a tiny box. The packaging is so distinctly Japanese – graphically clean and minimalist, carefully wrapping a precious single stick of Kit Kat – as in 1/4 of a standard Kit Kat package here in the US. $3.50 for one finger of a Kit Kat! I was so disappointed, then nauseated by my American-sized gluttony. So I ate another one.

Conclusion:

These are interesting, but no more than any other random flavor variety of Kit Kat. I hope millions weren’t spent developing this new ruby chocolate, because it’s not all that. Try them if they’re easy to get and the price lowers, but don’t bend over backwards to find them.

Purchased Price: 400 yen (approx. $3.52 US)
Size: 12 g bar
Purchased at: Kit Kat Chocolatory main store, Ginza, Tokyo
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 g bar) 61 calories, 3.6 grams of fat, 2.4-11 milligrams of sodium, 6.5 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.61 grams of protein.