Thursday, April 10, 2008
When I was a kid, I made the mistake of confusing Skittles with M&M's. As I grew up and understood more and more about how the world works, I also came to recognize that these two confections occupy different spheres of the candy world. M&M's and Skittles represent two separate kingdoms and should remain that way. This abomination of sugar (and/or high fructose corn syrup) tries to cross a border that should never be transgressed and the result is not worth your money or your mouth.
Both Skittles and M&M's are owned by Mars, Inc., one of the largest private companies in the United States. Considering that these two candies are therefore not competitors, it is unlikely that they are targeting the same consumer. Admittedly, some days I will fancy a fruity chew and others will be candy coated chocolate days. But if ever these two days converge, they will be in two separate bags of candy. This incestuous offspring is a taste disaster. There is a reason why the previous line of chocolate Skittles were discontinued in 2001. No one likes to buy bad candy.
Vanilla, S'mores, Chocolate Caramel, Pudding and Brownie Batter are the five hideously colored flavors of this new product line. Ignoring the fact that vanilla does not actually contain any chocolate, all these flavors blend together in a bitter mess. They do not have the distinct personalities of the other Skittles flavors that make each bag a treat. The quality of good chocolate is not in artificial flavor. I would argue that chocolate without the rich, complex, and versatile texture is hardly chocolate at all. Chemists have identified more than 600 different kinds of molecules in chocolate that give it its pronounced balance of bitterness and sweetness. I fail to believe these chocolate Skittles capture even a portion of that complexity. Instead, when I bit into my chocolate skittle, it crumbled and dissolved. It even lacked the satisfying candy shell of both Skittles and M&M's.
Both Skittles (any of the more standard flavors such as original, tropical, wild berry, sour, smoothie, even the short-lived mint) and M&M's are excellent candies. Their bastard child Chocolate Skittles is a poor attempt to bring together the best in both. But despite my clear disgust at this new candy, I do recommend going out and purchasing a bag yourself. Don't open it though; one day it'll be worth something as an exhibit in unmitigated candy fiasco.