Thursday, November 9, 2006

Chocolate Dipped Altoids

Altoids have been around for well over two hundred years. They’re simple little nuggets of sugar, mint flavor and a little acacia gum to hold it all together. I’m not sure if they count as candy, as they’re intended for breath freshening, not wholesale gobbling. (But just because that’s what they’re intended for doesn’t make it so.)

Altoids were made by Callard & Bowser for many years. Then there were a series of buyouts, Callard & Bowser was bought by Suchard. That company was owned by Beatrice. The whole shebang of Callard & Bowser-Suchard was then sold to Kraft which sold it in 2004 to the Wm. Wrigley, Jr. Company. As a Wrigley brand they make more sense than belonging to a company that makes Velveeta, however, I’m still cross with Wrigley for discontinuing Reed’s.

What was once just a humble piece of peppermint chalk is now a veritable empire of its own. There are the mints, a line of gum, sour hard candies and even some freako weird breath strips.

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So that brings us to the newest brand extension. The Dark Chocolate Dipped Mints. Called “Curiously Chocolate” on the tin, I have to admit I find it curious myself. I got a hold of two of the new flavors - Peppermint and Cinnamon.

Out of the package they’re not remarkable looking at all. They look kind of like buttons or maybe slightly smaller Junior Mints. They smell only vaguely chocolatey but that’s probably because the peppermint or cinnamon scent is so strong.

On the tongue the chocolate melts rather readily and is much thicker than I would have expected. It’s dark and with a slight grain to it (but hey, Altoids are pretty grainy too) but a rich taste permeated with the mint or cinnamon in question.

I really didn’t think these were going to be any good at all, but I enjoyed the little creamy hit of chocolate. I preferred it when I immediately cleaved the mint so that I got mint and chocolate at the same time, but letting the chocolate melt off and then getting to the mint has nice too.

My biggest concern is the durability of these. What I like about Altoids in general is that I can leave a tin in the car or at the bottom of a bag and not worry how long its been there. I know for a fact that I’ve eaten five year old Altoids. But I wouldn’t want to eat old chocolate.

These are preview packages of the new Altoids, they’ll be available in January 2007 on CandyWarehouse.com, though there is word that they’re popping up in places.

Note from the package: Altoids are made with gelatin, therefore not suitable for vegetarians.

Other strange notes: I went to the Altoids “Shoppe” on their website and they’re out of stock on about half of the products. Come on! You’re the factory, make some more! (And here’s a link to a recent story in the Chicago Sun Times I read.)

Name: Altoids Chocolate Dipped Mints (Cinnamon & Peppermint)
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Callard & Bowser (Wrigley)
Place Purchased: samples from CandyWarehouse.com
Price: unknown
Size: 1.76 ounces
Calories per ounce: 152
Categories: Chocolate, Mint, United States, Wrigley

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:44 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. i must look for these; they sound scrumptious!  perfect for stocking stuffing.

    Comment by anne on 11/09/06 at 7:05 am #
  2. An odd question but are these soft and kinda fondanty like a Junior Mint?  Or are they just the normal chalk tablet covered in chocolate?

    Comment by TheMatt on 11/09/06 at 7:25 am #
  3. OK these just seem weird to me..maybe it’s b/c I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but I do LOVE altoids…esp the ginger ones…have you tried them? (I didn’t think I would like them but, ended up liking them mjore that the original) But altoids are SO strong…I just can’t imagine putting chocolate on them ..I will have to put this by my husband who is the chocolate freak. He also love black licorice, but doesn’t care for the licorice altoids, he says they are too strong.

    Comment by Amy on 11/09/06 at 7:44 am #
  4. Is the centre hard like a regular Altoid, or is it softer? It must be softer, because a normal Altoid is nearly impossible to bite in half as you describe doing with the new chocolate-covered ones.

    Love your blog, by the way. I spent many hours at school in between classes reading all of the archives. Great fun!

    Comment by Sara on 11/09/06 at 10:25 am #
  5. I had no idea Altoids have been around so long!

    As far as the consistency is concerned, the first article Cybele linked to (the “popping up in places” one), says:

    The softer texture of the chocolate didn?t match the hard crunch of the Altoid, and we kind of wished the Altoids had more of a Junior Mint consistency.

    so it appears they are the same consistency as standard Altoids.

    Comment by Tricia on 11/09/06 at 3:51 pm #
  6. Cybele, did you happen to notice whether there is aspartame or sucralose in these Altoids? There are so many breath mints with artificial sweeteners, which I refuse to eat.  I kinda thought Altoids was one of them, but I could be wrong.  Actually, otherwise these sound good.  Possibly they would satisfy a very tiny craving for something sweet or chocolate, without having too many calories.

    Comment by Lisa on 11/10/06 at 6:11 am #
  7. Cybele's avatar

    anne - yes, I’m hoping they are available for the holidays too!

    TheMatt & Sara - they’re definitely just plain old Altoids inside, crunchy, chalky and strongly flavored.

    Amy - I’m a huge fan of the ginger ones. I was worried they’d discontinue them when Wrigley bought them, but I still have no trouble finding them. They’re great for popping into a cup of spiced tea!

    Tricia - I wish I could find a full history about them, Callard & Bowser was only making them and putting them in the tins for about 120 years.

    Lisa - I won’t eat artificial sweeteners either, but these are all sugar with a little gum acacia and gelatin to hold them together (plus flavor). However, the Altoids gum and those breath strips do use artificial sweeteners.

    Comment by Cybele on 11/10/06 at 6:20 am #
  8. Curiously missing from the packaging: “Made in Great Britain.”  They’re now made in Chattanooga, TN.  I’ll have to try them to tell if they changed any from the move, and I noticed that the ones that say they’re English made are now nearly gone from stores.

    Comment by Dave on 11/10/06 at 9:28 am #
  9. you are right about wondering how long they will last, just in case you forget about them, but they have chocolate on them, I think I would eat them up straight away!

    Comment by Kat on 11/10/06 at 12:12 pm #
  10. I would love to know if these are good or not. Part of me is intrigued while the other part is thinking no way!

    Comment by janey on 11/10/06 at 6:45 pm #
  11. wow I haven’t found these yet!

    Comment by Dawn Ashkenaz on 11/12/06 at 3:25 am #
  12. I saw them at Von’s last week, so they must have hit the market now.

    Comment by cybele on 1/05/07 at 12:27 pm #
  13. I really am liking the ginger ones that are covered in chocolate.  I’m a sucker for anything that has a tin, so even if the candy inside isn’t up to par I’ll buy it for the tin.

    Comment by Lesliepbg on 1/13/07 at 1:00 pm #
  14. OK, now that I’m hooked on them, they are no longer in the stores! I especially like the ginger one! Is this going to be only a seasonal thing? If not, where can they be found now that the holidays are over?

    Comment by Equuspower on 1/23/07 at 9:45 am #
  15. I found these first at AM/PM store-they had the chocolate peppermint, chocolate ginger and chocolate cinnamon.  I was intrigued-but didn’t buy them. Today at Target, I saw them again.  I thought “what the hey-another impluse buy to add to the already shopping cart full of impluse buys I have.”  I like them, but, I find that I bite into them almost immediatley.  My brain thinks they are Junior Mints!

    Comment by Marjorie Hansen on 2/16/07 at 7:36 pm #
  16. I like the crunch of the cinnamon with the wisp of chocolate. I see them everywhere, and on sale.
    Interesting about Callard & Bowser, they made some hard, chewy licorice and butterscotch candy I loved. Do you know if anyone still makes them?

    Comment by Jeanna Olson on 2/22/07 at 10:26 pm #
  17. I find that keeping them in my mouth until it all melts away is very nice. I still have a few that I’ve kept since the holidays, but I’m down to my last dozen or so of cinnamon and also ginger. Guess I’ll have to make a trip to Target to see if they have them here. (It’s not a place I go to regularly.)

    I, too, used to love the Callard & Bowser licorice (and butterscotch, but not to the degree of the licorice), but haven’t seen them for years. :(

    Comment by Equuspower on 2/23/07 at 11:32 am #
  18. Cybele's avatar

    Jeanna - since Callard & Bowser was bought by Wrigley’s they stopped making those soft toffees. I remember having an assortment of them while watching 12th Night in Ashland back when I was in college and falling in love with them ... and of course being frustrated that they’re no longer made.

    I still haven’t found the Chocolate Covered Ginger ones ... mint & cinnamon seem far more common. I saw them at Von’s supermarket here in Los Angeles.

    Comment by Cybele on 2/23/07 at 11:37 am #
  19. Do you have AM/PM convience stores? The one here in Washington state(Olympia)that I frequent has all 3 varieties

    I’m growing more fond of these the more I work my way through the tin!

    Comment by Marjorie Hansen on 2/23/07 at 11:42 am #
  20. No, we don’t have AM/PM stores around here. I’m in Wisconsin.

    Comment by Equuspower on 2/26/07 at 10:50 am #
  21. There is a real difference between classic Altoids from Britain and the “new, improved” Tennesee Altoids, which we can call “Drawltoids”.
    Original Altoids were a little sweet and very strongly minty. They were also quite refreshing. “Drawltoids” are far sweeter and a bit less minty. In essense, the strong British mint is now a sweet Southern after dinner mint. So they have lost the British mintiness and gained a bit of a sweet Southern drawl. Still, the bittersweet chocolate adds a good flavor and helps keep me from missing original Altoids, which I have stocked up on, since I really don’t care as much for “Drawltoids”.

    Comment by Minty Python on 4/20/07 at 11:33 am #
  22. I’ve been able to find the covered ginger ‘toids at random convenience stores and drug stores and they are awesome! Just be advised, do not leave in your car on a hot day. I’ve found them at Rite-Aid and Wawa, if you have any of them by you.

    Comment by Talia on 11/01/07 at 9:48 am #
  23. they are so good i live them, my aunt left them in the car and they all stuck together! i ate a whole package in 1 day.

    Comment by xay on 6/02/08 at 4:16 pm #
  24. Where in the heck are the soft chewy licorice-toffee individually wrapped Callard and Bowser candies that I lust for and have been looking for for several years!  Does anybody know if they have stopped making them???  if so I’m going to search for the recipe and start another candy company. Those things were the BomB!.......I even dream of them sometimes!

    Comment by robert ray on 12/13/08 at 6:45 pm #
  25. I too miss Callard & Bowsers Butterscotch and Licorice Toffee’s. Though I’m unsure of the economic or logistical viability, there are so many mentions of people wondering and searching that it seems like a reasonable enough decision to market the product alongside Toblerone.

    In searching, I have come across a number of complaints that both products seemed to change when manufactured by Kraft so perhaps it’s best such a fond memory be left alone until forgotten.

    Comment by Shepherd on 12/31/08 at 4:25 am #
  26. As an Altoid and chocolate freak, I think this is a great invention!  I tried my first box on Valentines day 2010.  But it didn’t last very long. One thing is that there are fewer pieces than a normal box.  The second thing is that I am OBSESSED!
    If you haven’t tried these tasty treats, you should try them soon!
    -Sarah, age 12
    Altoid LOVER!

    Comment by Sarah on 3/07/10 at 4:09 pm #
  27. I cant get these anywhere - does anyone know of an online store that has them in stock ? sniff sniff

    Comment by steve on 2/26/13 at 6:13 pm #

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