Tuesday, May 16, 2006

M&M Pirate Pearls

A couple of weeks ago there was quite a buzz in the sweets blogosphere ... everyone was talking about the new M&Ms Pirate Pearls. I was looking everywhere for them: Toys r Us, Ralph’s, Von’s, 7-11, Jon’s, RiteAid (x2), Target, Long’s and even Best Buy. I finally found them at a different 7-11.

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Pirate Pearls are just a white chocolate version of M&Ms with a special theme for the release of the new sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. M&Ms did this last year with the final movie of the Star Wars saga and made dark chocolate M&Ms (which I saw at the RiteAid that didn’t have the current remix).

Before I go on to talk about these little morsels, let’s talk about what White Chocolate is and isn’t. It used to be that the phrase white chocolate meant nothing at all. It was any solid white or light confection that candy makers wanted. But in 2004 the American candy industry agreed on a series of parameters. At least 20% cocoa butter (by weight), at least 14% milk solids and at least 3.5% milk fat and less than 55% sweeteners (sugar).

Some argue that white chocolate doesn’t deserve the chocolate name, but it seems kind of silly. What makes a hunk of chocolate special is the fact that its base is cocoa butter. You can’t make a chocolate bar without it. Remove the cocoa butter and you can’t call it chocolate. So if you use cocoa butter as a solid for another confection, you should be able to put the word chocolate in there somewhere (but qualified of course). 

So, the M&Ms Pirate Pearls are real white chocolate. The first ingredient is sugar but the second one is cocoa butter followed by skim milk, milkfat & soy lecithin. 

imageAs you’ve already figured out, after searching a ten stores I found them. And what was frustrating is that I almost missed them. Inside the display box there were several packs of Almond M&Ms ... yes, the packaging is quite similar - beige with blue and brown highlights.

Honestly, the package design is a mess. There’s a strange picture of Johnny Depp with a treasure chest of pearls and the Green M&M standing near him (but not interacting) with a little voice bubble, “Now I’m sweet AND rich!” Up in the corner above all this is the Pirates of the Caribbean logo.

Inside the package, things are far more consistent. The candies are shiny and have soft and appealing colors: white, pale yellow, peach and aqua. A few are cracked. I never experience this with regular M&Ms and I chalk it up to the fussiness of the white chocolate. The M&Ms also feature cute little imprints in pirate themes. A pirate ship sporting a large M on the sail, a skull with a little ‘m’ as the teeth or a spyglass.

Within the standard crunchy sweet shell there was white chocolate. Sweet, sticky ... so sweet it makes your throat hurt white chocolate. Now, recently I went and spoiled myself for any future in loving regular white chocolate by eating a Green & Black White Chocolate bar, so you can imagine my disappointment. They’re creamy, but they taste more of powdered milk than vanilla.

I’m not completely blown away by them, but I’m not repulsed or angry that Mars is giving them a go. I actually think a mix of these with some peanut, regular and dark chocolate ones might be tasty. But all on their own, well, they’re giving me a headache. I’ve eaten the whole package and have a second that I think I’m going to give away, if that’s any indication of my affinity for them.

There are three other products in this movie-tie-in which are basically recoloring of the standard M&M Milk Chocolate, M&M Peanut and M&M Minis (which change colors). The Pirate Pearls package is slightly lighter than the M&Ms Milk Chocolate, which are 1.69 ounces ... these are 1.5 ounces.

So, who else has tried them, and do you want them to keep white chocolate M&Ms on the menu?

Here are some other reviews: CandyAddict, Chocolate Obsession and Nicole at Slashfood reviews the Australian white chocolate M&Ms.

Related Candies

  1. Mint Crisp M&Ms (Indiana Jones)
  2. Skittles Chocolate Mix
  3. M&Ms Razzberry - Limited Edition
  4. Cherry Almondine M&Ms
  5. M&Ms Line
  6. Darth M&Ms
Name: M&Ms Pirate Pearls
    RATING:
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 6 TEMPTING
  • 5 PLEASANT
  • 4 BENIGN
  • 3 UNAPPEALING
  • 2 APPALLING
  • 1 INEDIBLE
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: 7-11 (Hollywood)
Price: $.85
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 147
Categories: White Chocolate, United States, Mars

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:09 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

Comments
  1. I remember trying the white chocolate version of the UK Smarties. If they’re anything like these M&Ms;. BLAH! Though I have to say they were very pretty… pastel blues and pastel purples, but lighter than Easter colors.

    Comment by Jamie on 5/16/06 at 7:57 am #
  2. These just don’t sound appealing to me at all.  I even passed by the display and couldn’t bring myself to purchase any. Maybe next time, in the name of candy research.

    Comment by g on 5/16/06 at 8:33 am #
  3. i may have to try them, if only because i’m obsessed with the game on their website…

    http://tinyurl.com/ebela

    Comment by Pam on 5/16/06 at 8:56 am #
  4. I do agree, after tasting the pirate pearls, that I wouldn’t want to eat them by the handful. On the other hand, that’s sort of a plus when it comes to candy (in terms of my waistline, at least). A few of mine were cracked, as well. I hadn’t given it any thought until this moment. Odd!

    Comment by Nic on 5/16/06 at 9:48 am #
  5. Cybele, you’re always inadvertantly saving me money! The only place we can get these new editions in the UK is through ebay - I’ve been tempted to buy some of these recently, but I think I’ll pass, I’m still mulling over buying the new edition Skittles after reading your mixed views on them, as I trust your taste by now.

    Comment by GTO on 5/16/06 at 9:54 am #
  6. I’d rather have the dark chocolate M&Ms; back. They were so yummy.

    Comment by Shelly on 5/16/06 at 11:01 am #
  7. I saw these M&M’s at our Wal-mart a few weeks ago but didn’t know that they were white chocolate. I knew they were light colored but assumed they were either “plain” or “peanut” M&M’s. I’m not a big white chocolate fan but will give them a try and get back to you. Why can’t they make a bag of assorted M&M’s? It’s been a wish of mine for years!

    Comment by Suzanne Zigrang on 5/16/06 at 3:37 pm #
  8. I was so excited when I found these (after some searching) in my ShopRite. I bought three packets thinking “what the hell” and also because I love white chocolate.

    I tried the first packet that night. I felt so so. I mean, they didn’t taste like much to me. I didn’t find them too sweet. I found it interesting how I could taste the SHELL of the M&M. That was new to me.

    I had the second packet last night. VERY different impression than my first. I was able to taste the white chocolate this time around, and enjoyed it much more than my first.

    I’m looking forward to eating the third. smile

    I don’t know if they’re a keep though. I do like the Peanutbutter and Almond M&Ms; A LOT better.

    Comment by Sera on 5/16/06 at 4:17 pm #
  9. I hadn’t heard of the pirate pearls until now - cute marketing gimmick, though.  But I, for one, cannot stand plain white chocolate so I’m guessing I wouldn’t like ‘em.  If it has a dark chocolate coating, for instance, that might taste good - but then you wouldn’t have the pretty pastel shell.  I would agree that they would probably be better in a mix, if only to reach a wider audience, as it were.

    Comment by Karla on 5/17/06 at 1:49 am #
  10. Oh why don’t they bring back the dark chocolate with peanut M&Ms;?  One question, do they make these white chocolate ones in peanut?  I probably would try them, but I won’t like them unless they have peanuts.  Peanuts are the coup de grace in M&Ms;, IMHO.

    Comment by Julilla on 5/17/06 at 1:05 pm #
  11. These are so sweet that it hurts.  Definitely not a keeper.  I also feel like I can taste the shell.  What’s with that?  They are beautiful though…

    Comment by kahelgee on 5/17/06 at 1:19 pm #
  12. Ok, I bought a bag last night and even though I don’t care much for white chocolate, these weren’t bad at all. They just tasted sweet, not much of a flavor. I love Johnny Debb though…

    Comment by Suzanne on 5/26/06 at 4:28 am #
  13. Sorry, Johnny Depp not Debb.

    Comment by Suzanne on 5/26/06 at 4:29 am #
  14. I like the white chocolate m&ms;...

    i think it’s a pretty funny movie tie in…but hey, if it gives us a white chocolate tie than that’s absolutly wonderful!

    Unfortunatly, that just means when Pirates of the Carribbean isn’t being marketed anymore then they won’t be available…i guess I’ll have to decide if it’s worth stocking up.

    I got mine for 29 cents too.

    —RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

    Comment by RC of strangeculture on 6/01/06 at 7:39 am #
  15. Cybele's avatar

    RC - M&Ms; just introduced some other special flavors (white chocolate/almond, raspberry white chocolate, etc.) on their website store.

    It looks like they’ll keep them around and probably roll them out seasonally ... we’ll have to see how the movie tie-in goes.

    I wouldn’t be adverse to seeing these as an Easter only item along with the dark chocolate ones.

    Comment by Cybele on 6/01/06 at 12:00 pm #
  16. I found of some of the LARGE (18.6 oz) bags of M&M White Chocolate Pirate Pearls. If you are interested, I would be willing to part with some of the bags. They are AWESOME tasting!  I am certainly willing to share them with my buddies on the Candy Blog!  If you are interested in obtaining some, please email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  They are REALLY hard to find, and the stores say they can’t order any more.  In an email to M&Ms;, they said they were a limited distribution item. I would say they are the best tasting mass-produced candy item I have ever tasted!

    Comment by Weezie Wahl on 7/15/06 at 8:24 am #
  17. Personally, I feel the pirate pearls are the best m&m yet.  They should keep them around forever.

    Comment by pearl lover on 7/20/06 at 10:46 am #
  18. I love with White Chocolate so in spite of being on Weight Watchers I bought a SMALL bag to try.  I am now on my 5th LARGE bag and went to Wally World today to buy another bag and THEY’RE GONE OH NO!  I guess it’s back to Weight Watchers.

    Comment by Melanie on 7/21/06 at 10:24 pm #
  19. Does anyone else think it would be great if Mars came out with a mixed bag of M&Ms;?  For logistics, I’m sure it would have to be a large bag and they could be loose (like white choc, dark choc, peanut butter, regular, peanut) or in individual fun size bags.  It’s just tough for me to pick a fkavor when I go to the store.  What do other people think?  Could this work?

    Comment by Diana on 7/24/06 at 2:59 pm #
  20. i was in nyc this past week, and i was on a severe chocolate kick (very unusual for me), so i looked up Cybele’s reviews of nyc chocolate shops and hit the streets. i went to Vosges (amazing spice combinations), Maison du Chocolate (lovely chocolate, but $$$), Jacques Torres (my personal fave, for both the hot chocolate and yummy chocolate that isn’t afraid to be candy), and even the new Max Brenner that has opened on Union Square (they aren’t actually open yet, but we snuck into a “friends and family” night or something—we only bought one thing, which was $$$ but fantastic: chocolate covered, cocoa-dusted, carmelized pecans).  Anyway, so why am I posting all of this here? Because as if all of this chocolate weren’t enough (and i don’t even have a good excuse, such as a candyblog), I bought a little bag of dark chocolate M&M’s at a Duane Reed drugstore. Wow. These *almost* ranked up there with some of the two dollar truffles we bought. And it wasn’t b/c of the chocolate, per se. They had an amazing, perfect, crunchiest shell ever. Ever. Not sure if it was just a super fresh shipment, or if this has to do with the dark chocolate formula, but I’ll have to keep an eye out for these in LA. I don’t think I’ll be trying the Pearls. So take them away please, and keep the dark chocolate. Another poster mentioned dark chocolate peanut… Now that I’d like to try.  (this is by far my longest comment ever… how embarrassing!)

    Comment by sallie on 7/24/06 at 3:27 pm #
  21. I’ve thought for YEARS that M&M’s plain and peanut should be mixed together. That was way before all the new flavors. I now think that the plain flavors should be mixed and the ones with nuts should be mixed. We can dream right???

    Comment by Suzanne on 7/25/06 at 1:28 pm #
  22. OMG! I am totally in love with the Pirate Pearls!!! I can eat a bag in a sitting - especially if I’m drinking coffee. Breakfast of Champions and all that… I am still able to get them at my local Hy-Vee and am stopping every couple of days for a couple more bags. I may get fat(ter) and my teeth may rot and fall out, but I will be one happy woman! As long as they don’t do away with these forever, I think I’ll survive. My other fave flavor is the mint, which you can only get at Christmas. I have to stock up on those too. *sigh*

    Comment by choklityum on 9/20/06 at 3:35 pm #
  23. these are fab. My safeway as run out thanks to me. Are they really alimited time only?

    Comment by Tura on 10/02/06 at 12:08 pm #
  24. Tura - they are limited, but the Dark MPire ones came back, so who knows?

    I saw them at the 99 Cent Only Store last week, but only in the single serving size. Might be a good idea to pop over there soon if you want to gobble them up.

    Comment by cybele on 10/02/06 at 1:52 pm #
  25. I found a few (20) small bags today at “the Dollar Tree.”  I bought them all!  I had 1 large bag left and a couple of small bags that I was saving for a rainy day, now I have 20 more days of white chocolate! (Fortunatly I discovered AW Cream Soda Jelly Bellies and have been substituting those when I need a sugar fix)

    Comment by Melanie on 11/01/06 at 12:33 am #
  26. The Australian Pirate Pearls are milk chocolate. I’m so dissapointed, I was expecting white. Not even the colours are as appealing (it includes a darker aqua and a bright sunny yellow among the white and peach)

    Comment by leigh on 11/12/06 at 8:56 pm #
  27. They were so good! OMG. I don’t see them anymore. Oh I want MORE!!!! I only had them once.

    Comment by Rachel on 11/25/06 at 10:29 am #
  28. Where can I find M&M Pirate Pearls, who stocks them in their store?

    Comment by Winston Deeds on 12/10/06 at 2:42 am #
  29. Winston they were only made for a limited time so no longer in stores however i went to a small independent market that just sells liquor snacks etc. and they still had some on the shelf so you never know you may find some somewhere.

    Comment by Turaloora on 12/10/06 at 10:29 am #
  30. Guess what i found some white chocolate pirate pearas M&M’s again. First at a local liquor store/ market.  I thought i bought their last but i saw them again this week so maybe they have a case in the back and at a gas station market so maybe they are being made again or maybe these are old stock.

    Comment by turaloora on 1/18/07 at 8:13 pm #
  31. My favorite of all are the Easter pastel peanut M&M’s.  I wish I could buy them year around.  My wife thinks I’m crazy because I swear I can taste a difference between the pastels and the regular peanut M&M’s.  Anybody have a source?

    Comment by dga108 on 8/10/07 at 7:38 am #
  32. I found some yesterday at a local store called Roses, i got their last four bags. so maybe there are some still floating around somewhere.

    Comment by Hannah on 10/10/07 at 3:54 am #
  33. I had these Pirate Pearls last week and did not like them at all. I am not a huge fan of white chocolate to begin with, but these had some weird aftertastes that were not pleasant. I would give them a 3.

    Comment by Victor Stapf on 4/15/08 at 7:18 am #
  34. Victor where did you find them? I thought they wern’t made anymore. I personally loved them!!

    Comment by turaloora on 4/15/08 at 8:39 am #
  35. I first found a couple of bags of Pirate Pearls on the bottom shelf of an end cap display in the back of a Smith’s grocery on West Sahara in Las Vegas, just as I was about to move to Seattle in the fall of 2006.
    I loved them.
    Spent the next I-don’t-know-how-many months trying to find them in Seattle, until I happened upon them in a Grocery Outlet on Aurora, where they were selling for 25-cents a bag! I was in heaven.
    I went back quite a few times, buying as many as I could. I would buy 20 or 30 bags at a time.
    After a number of such binges, I finally noticed a kind of unpleasant aftertaste and stopped buying them. I figured by that time they were getting pretty old anyway.
    Now they’re gone and I’m not looking for them anymore. But it was a lot of fun while it lasted. Definitely a treasure hunt!

    Comment by Stephanie on 5/10/08 at 7:10 pm #
  36. You’re completely right: more like powdered sugar than vanilla, and I thought they were icky. Great review!

    Comment by kristen on 10/30/08 at 5:13 pm #
  37. Great idea!

    Comment by Robin on 7/07/09 at 9:33 am #

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