France, I love you, but you’re not exactly known for your strange candies and treats. While green tea pastries and a menagerie of macarons can be found almost anywhere, they lack spin-offs of classic American products a la Japan (with the ignoble exception of the Croque MacDo) and such, find me longing for Twix’s sugar cookie and caramel apple releases this fall.
Luckily, after reaching out to Mars, they sent an early release of their 3 Musketeers Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow minis, an exciting addition to their 2012 winter line. It’s definitely a candy I’ll be stocking up on before I’m surrounded by Haribo and Nestle Lion bars! And hopefully, gummy Eiffel Towers, too, if sixth grade memory serves me correctly.
The chilly confection comes in 25-calorie minis and will later be released in a regular sized 2.13 oz. bar as well. This tastes more like cocoa with marshmallows than you’d expect- the milk chocolate enhances the bittersweet flavors in the nougat, a puffier, airier example than the regular bar. In appearance, nothing differentiates it from the regular 3 Musketeers bar. I would have liked to see some marshmallow pieces or a stronger visual cue toward the wintry theme. The texture is squashy with a firmness and bounce to it suggestive of a marshmallow, but has a density more akin to marshmallow fluff. The flavor is creamy and satisfying, and even incorporates some of the powdery cornstarch and sugar notes of marshmallows melting into a mild bittersweet cocoa flavoring. One or two bites was really satisfying.
I wanted to test the integrity of the marshmallow filling, so I popped a few into the microwave to see if the texture was more than just the power of suggestion. Whoa! Within fifteen seconds in the microwave, one of my candies was obliterated and working its way down the side of the bowl. I’ve seen videos of the regular bars having similar results, but in these, the toasted marshmallow flavor was even more intense after it melted. It hardened up into a very crispy treat! I think this is a successful snack, even if it doesn’t radically reinvent the wheel, and offers a seasonal twist far better than differently colored packaging or the ubiquitous winter mint flavoring.