Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Santos gave me a huge cache of Mentos a few months ago and I’ve been slowly going through them.
Mentos makes two different basic formats of Mentos. Their regular rolls and the Mentos Plus variety, which is fortified with Vitamin C and sold in boxes. As far as I know the Mentos Plus is for the Southeast Asia and Australia/New Zealand markets. (We have boxes of Mentos here in the US too, but they’re usually the sugar free variety.)
The one that caught my eye first was the box of Mentos Plus Tropical Mix. It features Pineapple, Watermelon and Mango.
Recently I had mango citrus and Pine Fresh from Japan, so I was curious how these compared.
The yellow one is Pineapple. It’s fresh, tangy and has that slightly pepperish tingle to it. One of my new favorite Mentos flavors. (I really hope they keep making the Japanese single-flavor rolls.)
Mango is the orange one and it has a mellow, melon flavor to it. It lacks that sort of pine sap taste but has some deeper notes that I couldn’t quite place ... and didn’t really belong in something mango flavored as far as I was concerned. It was more like a jam taste than a fresh fruit taste.
The pink one was Watermelon and I have to hand it to them, this was one of the better watermelon flavored candies I’ve had in a long time. It gets that floral melon flavor just right, only the slightest hint of tartness and then a finish that’s like cotton candy.
The box seems less necessary with single flavors like Mentos Plus Black Currant, I figure boxes are great for picking out just the flavor you want.
But Black Currant is pretty special, at least for Americans, since we don’t have that flavor here much. It’s rather like a combination of concord grape and pomegranate with some violets - a dark berry flavor with a musky flavor element to it.
They’re soft and chewy and a lovely lavender color. It’s taken me a while to get used to currant, but I’m enjoying this edition quite a bit. Not that I’d probably buy it over a citrus like Pink Grapefruit or Pine Fresh.
Though these are not marked Kosher or Halal, they do not contain gelatin or any other animal products.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Just yesterday at a newsstand I saw them selling Mini Mentos from a little tub. I love the tiny rolls, even if it means they have smaller pieces in them.
I didn’t pick any up then, instead I pulled out the Mini Mentos collection Santos brought me from the Pacific. These are by no means exotic, just your standard Mentos fruit fare. I had an assortment of Grape, Apple & Watermelon before as well.
The package design is simple and has no fruits on it, just a field of orange dragees.
Unlike some of the other specialty flavored Mentos like Pink Grapefruit or Fuji Apple, this one is rather bland. It’s a pleasant enough orange, but not terribly punchy. It’s like an orange-ade flavor instead of taking advantage of the sweet, tangy and zesty flavors of real oranges.
Orange can be found in the regular Fruits Mix Mentos rolls.
I was expecting the typical American green apple flavor.
Instead the flavor was very grassy at first. It tasted like green! Then they typical artificial apple kicked in, a little tangy and a little like apple juice.
It doesn’t hold a candle to the Japanese Fuji Apple Mentos, so it’s hard to find these exceptional.
Apple is also availble in single flavor large rolls, but not in the Fruit Mix Mentos.
These were delicately colored, almost peach. This was the first one of the set that actually had a scent, and it reminded me of lemon merignue pie (you know, that toasted smell of the meringue mixed with lemon zest).
The shell was sweet and fragrant, the chewy innards were slightly tangy and had a little wiff of zest that develops during the chew.
My favorite of the set.
Lemon are part of the Fruit Mix Mentos rolls.
It didn’t smell like much but one crunch of the shell and the perfumey strawberry was quite evident. Like summer, yellow jackets and cotton candy.
The chewy itself is quite tart, more than any of the others. It was the most flavorful and after the lemon one, another favorite. It also left a pleasant aftertaste and freshened my mouth (which is good for a candy called The Freshmaker.)
I’ll probably always prefer the larger format rolls, but the minis are certainly fun for a bit of variety and if you find them in the “changemaker” tubs, it’s a quick little cheap treat. I’d be all over these if I got them in my Trick-or-Treat bag.
Mentos have converted from using gelatin to gellan gum, so they are now considered vegan-safe (but keep an eye on the colors on other varieties, I’ve seen carmine crop up in the Strawberry Yoghurt).
Monday, June 16, 2008
After the recent Bananas n Cream Mentos, I figured the next on my list of dairy-inspired Mentos should be some of the yoghurt ones.
There are a few yoghurt flavored Mentos out there, including Lemon Yoghurt, but Santos was kind of to bring me a huge tube of 6 rolls of Strawberry Yoghurt Mentos last week.
The package is easily distinguished from the regular Strawberry (photo here) but could be mistaken for Pink Grapefruit Mentos (photo here) except for the blue dairy product wrapped around a strawberry at one end.
The dragees look like any other Mentos - a nice medium pink. They simply smell sweet.
The taste is, well, like Strawberry Yogurt. There’s the berry flavor, which is that mix of sweet and sour, slightly floral and then there’s the yogurt kick, which is a bit of a dark tangy bite. It reminds me a bit of the Berries & Cream Starburst.
They’re not particularly creamy (and have no dairy in the ingredients) but do feature 3% strawberry juice.
The new kinds of Mentos no longer use gelatin in them, so they’re safe for vegetarians ... in this case though this version uses the coloring Carmine, so it all depends on where you draw your lines.
A few years ago I got an assortment of Malaysian hard candies that included a couple called Barley Mint. I wasn’t sure what Barley Mint was, I thought it was barley sugar flavored with mint. It was nice, but not what I’d envisioned and I put it out of my head.
Years later, I spotted a version of Mentos made in Indonesia called Barley Mint and I was again intrigued to taste them. Luckily they were in the latest gaggle of Mentos (yes, that’s the term for a large group of Mentos) from Santos of Scent of Green Bananas.
I’ll have more on the rest of them later (including Strawberry Yoghurt, Spearmint, Tropical Mix & Black Currant).
The green package features images of the little chewy dragees and mint leaves. The mints themselves were less green, kind of a light celadon.
They didn’t smell like much, maybe like a box of TicTacs.
Biting into them is was quite apparent that Barley Mint is not any ordinary mint.
It’s like peppermint, cool and fresh, but then there’s a lingering flush of something ... something floral or fragrant. Roses? Soft Musk? Whatever it is, it’s not a minty flavor. It’s not orange blossom or any sort of blossom. It’s musk. Like the Australian Musk Sticks. Mixed with mint. And maybe a little touch of mellow and creamy banana. I know, it sounds weird, and it probably is.
It’s not that strong, not like the more intense Peppermint Mentos, but it’s certainly strange and for anyone who doesn’t like soapy flavors, it’s sure to be a turnoff. There’s a very clear reason that these aren’t distributed in the US and this roll is quite lucky to have found me. I’m eating them all.
They felt fresh without being too strong. The mint would linger for a bit, but the musky flavor stayed for at least a half hour after consumption.
I don’t know quite what the flavor has to do with barley, but maybe Musk Mint wouldn’t have sold as well even in Indonesia.
These are not Halal (or Kosher) but do not contain gelatin so are suitable for vegetarians.
Monday, April 28, 2008
I’ve had my eye out as I’ve been traveling for other versions of Mentos. Once I ran across the pink grapefruit at a gas station outside of Stockton, so you never know. The cool thing was that I knew that I had a package from Japan waiting for me when I returned from my Bay Area Confectionery Escapade (tm).
Japan has great Mentos. Fuji Apple & Pine Fresh have to be some of the best. But their Grape has some devoted followers. I wasn’t sure what Banana ‘n Cream would be like, but I enjoyed my Banana HiCHEW recently (sorry, I never wrote about them).
The packages doesn’t even say banana on it, it just has pictures of the fruit on it. Upon tasting it, there’s no mistaking it. The chews are at first a soft banana flavor, then after chewing for a bit a tangy, kind of yogurt flavor emerges. Not quite green banana, but maybe a little lemony (like yogurt can often taste).
I never got the ‘n Cream part, just the banana. A nice taste and an interesting change of pace from the tangier fruits. It doesn’t have that freaky artificial taste like Circus Peanuts (that may be a plus or a minus depending on where you fall on the whole Circus Peanuts as valid confectionery debate).
Rating: 6 out of 10
I found these Red Orange Mentos at Holland’s Best in San Jose. I’m unsure of their age. The code at the end of the wrapper says 2007 E50264C, which is either a manufacture day, or a pull date (I suspect the latter since the banana ones said 2009 on them). Either way, they were still fresh enough for me to eat.
The color is more of a pink than an orange. The flavor is more of a tangerine than a blood orange (which is what I think red orange means in North America), but it’s still very tasty. It’s zesty and tangy. It’s not quite the dreamy dalandan & ponkan ones I’ve had, but at least these seem to be a regular product. I’m glad I bought two packages. There’s vitamin C in there, if I can do math properly in Dutch, it’s about 50 mg per roll.
Rating: 7 out of 10
I talked to Caitlin, who runs Miette Confiserie about the now-discontinued Pink Grapefruit Mentos. She spoke with Perfetti Van Melle about it, who said they were happy to make them again, if she could guarantee that she’d buy the minimum order directly from them. (Which is literally in the tons.) So it doesn’t look like they’re going to be coming back soon in the single flavor pack. (The Citrus Mix still exists in Asia/Australia though.)
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Even though they stopped airing those commercials a long time ago, they’re still a cultural reference point for people around the world.
What are Mentos? They’re simply a small mint chew covered in a candy shell. I favor them in instances where I used to chew gum, especially on planes. A little fresh breath and ear poppin’ all in one. And based on their commercials they aid in creative problem solving. Peppermint is good ... fruit is merely okay in the United States. Of course in outher countries they have far more choices.
Enter the Asian Mentos once again! I’ve had these stashed away for months from Santos.
Mentos Xtrm: Peppermint are Mentos on Altoids (if Altoids were a form of steroids). They’re called “Strong Chewy Dragee” on the wrapper.
They come in a navy blue bag and are individually wrapped (a great feature, I think, why can’t we get them this way in the States?). Each little dragee is light blue and smells like absolutely nothing.
However, after biting into it, it’s minty. Whoo boy is it minty! In the same, “Goodness it’s so minty it’s almost bitter” way that Altoids are, there’s still a pleasant sweetness to it, and of course the chew.
Mentos Xtrm: Spearmint have a lot going for them. First, we don’t even get Spearmint Mentos here. I’ve heard you can get them in Europe (I’ve had my minions look for them in the past) and definitely in Australia.
So I can’t say how they compare to the regular ones, I can only say that I love them. Yes, they’re very strong, but the spearmint flavor is so distinctive and a little more woodsy than the Peppermint. The only problem I have with spearmint in general is it later leaves me with an odd low metallic taste in my mouth hours later. This, of course, is cured by eating another one. (Sneaky devils!)
These were made in India and have no gelatin in them, so they’re suitable for vegetarians (and vegans so long as you don’t have problems with glycerol mono stearate). Also certified Halal.
They’re good. I’ve enjoyed them and I’d definitely buy them again. I carry them around in my bag and think they’ll make wonderful noveling candy (and good for road trips when you need to keep alert). However, I’m going to throw the last dozen or so into the Limited Edition Giveaway box!
Friday, September 21, 2007
Since I’m traveling right now, I thought I’d just leave you this weekend with a little tasty nugget. Last year I tried the Mentos Sour and thought they were pretty good, not the best Mentos I’d ever had, but a nice change of pace from the regular rather under-flavored fruity Mentos available here in the States.
It’s hard to believe that two packages that look so similar have such different contents. While at the All Candy Expo I cornered one of the Mentos people at the Perfetti Ven Melle booth and chatted with her about Mentos. (Okay, chatted is hardly the word, I think I overwhelmed her with questions and comments.) There are several things I wanted to know about, the major one is about the differences in flavors between the United States and everywhere else in the world (why do the Australians get the Citrus Mix? Why do the Japanese get Pineapple?). The other thing is whether or not their switch from gelatin (an animal derived product) to gellan gum (safe for vegans).
The Sour Mix Mentos from China (but available all over Asia) are a pretty good representation of all of the questions I have about the global brand.
Santos brought me some more Mentos a month or so ago and I was puzzled at first by the Mentos Sour Mix, but she quickly pointed to the reason she included it ... pineapple. The other two flavors in the roll are grape and green apple. In fact, green apple is the only flavor that’s in the American mix (which also has watermelon and lemon).
I liked the pineapple so much that I decided to order the “Pine Fresh” Mentos from JList in Japan. I’m hoping they’ll be at the house when I get home. Hopefully I’ll get some answers on the above questions soon too!
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Oh, the lovely commenters here are blessed, blessed friends to have told me of this Mentos assortment ... the assortment of my dreams!
Citrus candies are my absolute favorite and of course the Pink Grapefruit Mentos are divine. There are parts of the world where you can get these, Mentos Plus Citrus Mix. They’re fortified with Vitamin C and come in an assortment of three flavors: orange, pink grapefruit and lime.
At first I was thinking, Lime? Why not Lemon? But they pulled it off, a Lime as spectacular as Pink Grapefruit is. It’s zesty and slightly bitter but doesn’t give me any images of housecleaning products. Just clean, clean limes.
Orange was nice and juicy. Not quite zesty enough for me, but far and away better than the American Orange Mentos that we get in the regular mixed Fruit roll here.
Here’s another curiosity from the label. The Fuji Apple ones I reviewed didn’t have gelatin in them (and were halal) but mentioned Gellan Gum. This box has no gelatin or gellan gum, instead lists starch and gum arabic as the thickeners. It also bears the halal seal. I find it amazing that Mentos have so many different recipes worldwide. (This package also contains 2.5% fruit juice.) If you don’t have any problems with sugar these look like they’re vegan (no beeswax or insect-derived colors) but please read all labels as I’m finding that this may not be the case with every package.
The package is about 1.5 ounces (42 grams) and I counted 18 pieces in the box. The vitamin C content is 4 mg per piece.
These should definitely be made available in America. If they’re not going to give us rolls of the Pink Grapefruit, they should really include them in a mix like this. They’re just so darn pretty, too. Repackage them for weddings in little clear boxes to show off the delicate pastels and they could knock Jordan Almonds out of favor.
Special thanks go out today to Santos for bringing me these three lovely (if now empty) boxes of Mentos. These were made in China for the Philippines. I think they also sell them in Australia. Has anyone else spotted them for sale in their area?
Meticulously photographed and documented reviews of candy from around the world. And the occasional other sweet adventures. Open your mouth, expand your mind.