Perfetti van Melle
Monday, November 24, 2008
I love getting candy from friends who travel. I love being surprised by candy that I didn’t even know existed. Finally, I love getting Mentos.
My friend Ernessa went to Belgium. While she brought me a wonderful box of Galler bonbons (we ate half the box after dinner on Saturday night, eschewing fresh peach pie for it), I was most excited about these: Mentos Fresh Cola.
It seems natural that a candy that’s become world famous for fountains made from putting the mints in diet soda bottles would eventually have an actual cola flavored version. (But strange that it’s not available in the United States.)
The wrapper has the familiar red color that many colas adopt for their packaging.
The pieces look a bit like fizzy cola. They’re light beige, but a little mottled, like there are bubbles.
The flavor is absolutely cola, a bit tangy like light lemon with a woodsy spice to it. It tastes fizzy, though that’s probably just my imagination. There’s a little spicy flavor in there, like cinnamon or nutmeg. It’s a bit sweeter than I’d like (but that’s kind of why I don’t drink soda anyway).
As I don’t drink soda, it’s nice to be able to get my cola flavor somewhere else. In a world of few cola options, these are a fantastic option. I think all that’s missing is the little dose of caffeine.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I have about half left.
But a morning browse on eBay a couple of weeks ago led to an auction of some Mentos from Japan in a yellow package simply flavored Grapefruit. I had to have them. So I placed an order with JBox and they arrived earlier this week.
Sporting and expiry date of 2010, these puppies must be fresh. The package is much like the others from around the world, the large Mentos logo, a picture of the fruit flavor on the right end and, of course, the name of the flavor in both English and Japanese.
They’re a nice yellow color and have the crunchy shell and soft chew inside. They’re tart and fragrant and have a good mix of citrus oil and zest notes. They’re not quite like the Pamplemousse though. The citrus is a bit more generic, a little floral and less bitter. Still extremely satisfying. I have two more rolls and if this were a permanent Japanese flavor, JBox could count on more orders. At a dollar fifty a package (instead of the 75 cents or so for my remaining Pink Grapefruit), I wouldn’t buy a lot of them though. (Mentos, can you make Yuzu flavored next?)
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 3, 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!
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