Pretzel M&M’s take the center stage as once again We Try it So You Don’t Have To. But should you?
A few months ago, I was pleasantly surprised at the sheer deliciousness of Coconut M&M’s. This delightful experience accomplished two things: first, it made me very keen to try whatever the candy-coated chocolate treat Mars, Inc. comes with next. Second, it set a pretty high bar, which, unfortunately, did not do the new Pretzel M&M’s any favors.
The individual pretzel M&M looks an awful lot like a peanut M&M, but a little rounder, rather than egg shaped. It’s very light, the lack of heft versus a peanut M&M being surprisingly noticeable even though both candies are minuscule.
The first relative disadvantage I encountered was in my very first sampling of a pretzel M&M — a manufacturing error. I usually enjoy factory errors — fused twins or triplets create a delightful mouthful; the devastatingly delicious and all-too-rare “all chocolate” peanut M&M; even a split-in-half peanut M&M, with its easy access to the roasted legume and slightly denser-than-usual chocolate, is an interesting change of pace.
The split-in-half pretzel M&M — the very first one I tried — exposed the essential nature of the candy shell. Pretzels get stale when exposed to air, after all, and this was indeed stale.
So, that admittedly rare wrong foot aside, the pretzel M&M is a curious beast. The juxtaposition of salt and chocolate in general is a wonderful thing, as evidenced in other mass-produced candy (notably Hershey’s Take 5 bar), and specialty candies like Fleur de Sel-style truffles and such. The pretzel M&M succeeds somewhat on this level, but could stand to be saltier. This may be a disadvantage of having less surface area in which to expose salt to the tongue. But, even so, taste wise it’s pretty good.
But the best part of multi-layered candy is experiencing a contrast — or, as I like to put it, “layer differentiation.” In the Take 5, there’s yielding chocolate; dense, chewy caramel,and crunchy, salty pretzel, for instance (plus two more layers). Even in sister candy to the pretzel version, the peanut M&M has a nice crackle as you break through the candy coating, then a giant crunch of a peanut, which often splits in half and offers a different mouth feel. In the pretzel M&M, the crunch of the candy coating falls straight into the pretzel, less a layered experience than a blended one. If your experience will be consistent all the way through, I’d rather see a pure chocolate one (i.e., a plain M&M).
THE RESULT: I tried it, now you don’t have to. And you might think about it, but keep expectations low. I’m not going to say the pretzel M&M is bad, by any means. It’s decent. But it neither lives up to the promise of the good, pretzel-based candies that have come before it, nor the promise of M&M’s last innovation.