Friday, February 13, 2015

Red Velvet m&m's - Target: Marlton, NJ

Red Velvet m&m's - Target: Marlton, NJ
These are a re-release, so the flavor isn't really new, just seasonal, and last year I refused to buy them. I really thought they'd be a huge flop. I mean Red Velvet m&m's? With their milk chocolate base, I thought there was no way these would taste any different from their normal chocolates, and that this was just a gimmick. Apparently the flavor was popular enough with consumers to return, so I thought I'd check them out and see if they were somehow better than I had expected.

Really briefly, let me just say that I think the Green m&m on this bag is creepy. I think it's mostly the lips. Seeing glossy lips on a piece of candy is just weird. I know that the green m&m used to have a little rumor about it's dye making people horny, (which was bogus btw, don't go downing a bag of these for Valentine's Day), but having the green m&m depicted as a sexualized human-oid piece candy? It's just gross. Other than the creepy mascot, the bag design is festive, although a bit busy, and it functions nicely.

WARNING: Red velvet cake rant and history lesson on the way

Red velvet cake is a really popular "flavor" these days but, like the recent "birthday cake" craze, it really bothers me. You can buy red velvet tea, chocolates, Oreos, and snack cakes, but what is red velvet anyway? I think most people assume that it's just a chocolate cake with a ton of red food coloring and a cream cheese based icing, which is what some of these snack cake brands seem to be making, so I can understand the generalization and confusion, but there's a bit more to it than that. Red velvet cake is a chocolate cake, there's a bit of cocoa powder in there, but the original red coloring came from a reaction of buttermilk, vinegar, and the cocoa powder. That seems to be the historical origins of the color, and the "velvet" comes from the smooth and velvety texture of the cake itself. More recently, red food colorings, both natural (like beets) and artificial, have been used to achieve the intense red color we associate with this iconic cake. With that being said, how do you get that flavoring into an m&m? It's a reaction with the ingredients, and a velvety texture...this is a candy coated chocolate. Is it even possible? (Worth noting, there is a pretty heated debate over the proper icing for this cake. The general public usually goes with a cream cheese based icing, but a roux icing seems to be the traditional choice.)

Okay, enough history and rambling,let's see if these taste any different from normal m&m's, or if these are as bogus as I thought they were. (No one says bogus anymore. I should try and bring that back.)

I dumped some onto a little plate, and I noticed that the smell was definitely different from the normal variety. These chocolates smell a little, sour? Maybe sour isn't the right word, but it does smell a bit like buttermilk, which is honestly impressive. The size of these seems really inconsistent, some of these are really large, like the Birthday Cake variety, wile others are slightly larger then the normal plain milk chocolate size.

I took a bite, and I'll admit, they taste different. Not night and day different, the initial flavoring is still like a normal m&m, but after a few seconds, there's a tangy flavoring that hits the back of my tongue. The sour tanginess must be linked to that buttermilk-like aroma. At first, I didn't like it,I felt like it was a little too bitter and it reminded me of artificial food dye, but after a few candies, it grew on me.

To me, these do not taste like a slice of red velvet cake, which I never really thought they would, but they do taste different from normal m&m's, which is more than I had expected. They aren't bad, but now that my curiosity has been satisfied, I won't be buying these again. The tanginess is interesting, and different, but not something I would knowingly buy or crave, so this is a one-time novelty for me.
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