Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fannie May Mint Meltaway

Fannie May Mint MeltawayIt’s November, there’s a crisp chill in the air (yeah, it was in the fifties last night here in Los Angeles) which usually signals mint & chocolate combinations are in season. Last week I tried Dove’s new Peppermint Bark. This weekend my eye was drawn to this Fannie May Mint Meltaway in with the holiday candy at Walgreen’s.

First of all, I never see Fannie May all the way out here in the West Coast. Second, this was a drug store, someplace I didn’t expect to run across a boxed chocolate brand. I know many readers have been urging me to cover Fannie May, so into my basket they went without complaint.

Fannie May used to be a fine chocolate company, founded in 1920 and based in Chicago. In 2004 they declared bankruptcy and were bought up by Alpine Confections who already owned a similar Midwest confectioner, Harry London of Canton, OH. In 2006 they became part of 1-800-FLOWERS. So they’re not quite the tiny little boxed chocolate company any longer; this is what their website says:

Fannie May is a quality chocolate candy store that has been specializing in gourmet chocolates since 1920. Since the store’s opening, our chocolates and candies have been made of the finest ingredients, never sacrificing the quality of a box of Fannie May chocolates. Not only is Fannie May candy known for its quality, but also for its wide array of candy varieties.

So some of you caught that I said that they used to be fine chocolate. Well, read on and you’ll see where I take issue with including them saying they’re “fine chocolate” when they’re not using the “finest ingredients.”

Fannie May Mint Meltaway

The Mint Meltaway package is rather refreshing and easy to spot. It’s a rather clinical white with a little pile of the candies isolated in the middle of the wrapper. The top and bottom edges have simple evergreen boughs and pine cone trim. There’s actually only one piece in the package though the image shows three, but at 1.5 ounces, it’s definitely not skimpy. The package describes the meltaway as Rich chocolate mint center drenched in creamy pastel coating. Wow, creamy pastel coating, can you tell how much my


mouth is watering at that? What is creamy pastel coating? Here’s what takes up a portion of the back of the package:

INGREDIENTS: White Coating (sugar, fractionated palm kernel oil, nonfat dry milk, partially hydrogenated palm kernel and cottonseed oils, milk, glyceryl lacto esters of fatty acids, soy lecithin, salt, natural and artificial flavor), Dark Chocolate (sugar, chocolate liquor processed with alkali , cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, milk, butterfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), Milk Chocolate (sugar, whole milk, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, and vanillin), Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (cottonseed, soybean), Peppermint Flavor, Green Color (soybean oil, Yellow #5, Blue #1, soy lecithin and BHA).

You know what all that adds up to? 1.5 grams of trans fats. Most companies have mucked around with their serving sizes so that they can skirt in under the “you can say there’s no trans fats if you have less than .5 grams in a serving” but Fannie May, well, she’s bold. She’s out there with a huge 240 calorie portion (160 calories per ounce) that contains 49% of my daily value of saturated fats. And those actual trans fats.

The block is two inches square and a half an inch high. The soft, matte & dull green looks like a bar of soap or a vintage fireplace tile. It has a soft peppermint scent, not menthol nasal-passages-clearing-strong.

The white coating is rather smooth and not at all greasy. It’s not minty but also not really much of anything besides a texture and slightly salty. The chocolate center isn’t a soft meltaway, it’s a bit firmer, like a Frango. It melts quickly though, cool and chocolatey with a pleasant peppermint essence to it. After a while it gets a little greasy though, a little thin and watery.

The ingredients don’t warrant the $1.39 price tag when I can get the Dove Peppermint Bark made with real cocoa butter just a little further down the aisle. Or if you don’t mind the mockolate, just eat some Andes Mints.

Related Candies

  1. Dove Peppermint Bark
  2. Hershey’s Bliss Creme de Menthe Meltaway Center
  3. Nestle Toll House Mint Holiday Gems
  4. Trader Joe’s Peppermint Bark White Chocolate Bar
  5. Andes Mints & Dessert Indulgence
  6. London Mint is really from Ohio
Name: Mint Meltaway
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Fannie May (1-800-FLOWERS)
Place Purchased: Walgreen's (Echo Park)
Price: $1.39
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 160
Categories: Chocolate, Mint, United States, Christmas

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:06 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. ruffy's avatar

    I grew up in Chicago and Fannie May is “the” candy company around there (even though I think many of the outlets have closed over the past few years…)  Now that I live in SoCal with easy access to See’s, it’s a wonder I ever liked Fannie May at all.  Their candy just lacks a certain “pop,” and with ingredients like that, it’s easy to see why!

    Incidentally this review is not appearing on your front page smile

    Comment by ruffy on 11/19/09 at 5:01 am #
  2. You’ve got a bit of a typo in your review: “Wow, creamy pastel coating, can you tell how much my mother is watering at that?” smile

    Comment by Cleod on 11/19/09 at 6:23 am #
  3. I love the Fannie May meltaways! They’re my favorite, second only to the Fannie May Trinidads. Maybe my love of them is simply due to the fact that I live in Chicago. Clearly, the ingredient quality can’t explain it.

    Comment by Hanna on 11/19/09 at 10:24 am #
  4. For Fannie May, you MUST try the Trinidads.  They’re a chocolate truffle core surrounded by toasted coconut embedded in white chocolate.  Or something like that - chocolate on the inside, toasted coconut in yellowsish (not really as white as white chocolate) shell.  I moved out of the midwest years ago, but Trinidads are easily the best thing they make.  (ok, so the pixies are pretty awesome, too)

    Of course, I moved out of the Midwest before the bankruptcy, so it’s probably turned to crap now.  But Trinidads at least used to be amazing and were definitely a unique item.

    Comment by Mme B on 11/19/09 at 2:33 pm #
  5. Great article, but why did it not end up on the front page?

    Comment by Jacky on 11/22/09 at 1:00 am #
  6. I got these at Walgreens as last moment “Santa” shopping for my mom, my sister, and I.  The ingredients may not be great, but I still like them.  Sure, not good for me, but YUM!  I love them, and taste matters much more to me than if these “fine” ingredients are used.  I find that those don’t always taste as good.

    Comment by Bridget Ilene Delaney on 12/27/09 at 5:48 pm #
  7. The problem is, you bought it at Walgreen’s.  As a native Chicagoan, I do admit that the quality is not as good after bankruptcy.  However, there is definitely a taste difference between the mint meltaways and pixies that I can get in Walgreen’s and the “real” ones that my family sends me from home.  Real mint meltaways are much, much smaller.  The giantness of the big one makes it gross right off the bat.

    Comment by Jamie on 12/30/09 at 10:00 am #
  8. Thank you for this review. I am a native chicagoan who grew up on Fannie May. I was seriously bummed when they closed their doors for a while in 2004. When they opened again a year or so later, the candy was just not the same. The meltaways were not as melty, the buttercreams were not as buttery, the chocolate was not as chocolaty. I was so disappointed! 

    Then See’s opened a few stores in Chicagoland ... I gave them a try. Wow, fantastic! Do a comparison for yourself, Fannie May pales.

    I lament that Fannie May, as I knew it, not longer exists, but See’s is helping me get over it grin

    Comment by kcheevious on 2/07/10 at 11:43 am #
  9. Fannie May used to make the most incredible chocolates until they changed hands.  Nothing could compare.  Now, when my family brings Fannie May candies to me in California, I’m sad that they paid what they did for really inferior chocolates.  See’s makes a much better product.  If you’re from Chicago, you remember the carmarsh, the original delicious pixies, the fabulous buttercreams.  Now they taste like cheap drugstore brands.  Too bad…

    Comment by CJ on 4/10/10 at 2:36 pm #
  10. Fannie May is junk now.  It used to be great.  I grew up with Fannie May, being from Chicagoland.  You could always count on a really nice piece of candy back then.  Now, it’s just not so good.  They used to have really great cream easter eggs.  A nice gift size.  Now, their cream easter eggs are about the size of a mint meltaway you can get at Walgreens.  Even those mint meltaways taste gross now.  It’s so sad to see quality in EVERYTHING go down hill.  Best to just make your own butter creams.  You can do it easily, too.

    Comment by BR549 on 2/13/13 at 2:55 pm #
  11. The one large piece of candy referred to in their article is like 4 pieces of their actual boxed meltaways sold either individually in their own store or in ½ or 1 lb boxes. 
    I actually don’t care what is in their meltaways.  They are tiny and wonderful.  Nobody should sit down and eat a whole box.  They are addicting though.  They come in mint green or brown covered (although the flavor is the same). 
    The 1.5 ounce wrapped piece shown above is only available at Christmas time in the Walgreens seasonal candy section. That’s the only way I can buy it in Texas.  Otherwise my Indiana family either has to mail it to me or I buy and bring back on visits. You midwesterners are lucky to still have the Fannie May stores and the Walgreens selling full size boxes.

    Comment by M Johnson on 10/11/14 at 1:08 pm #
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