I don't know about you; but when I was a kid, the simpler a candy bar was, the better. My favorite? 3 Musketeers. Soft, chocolaty, and not at all complicated—what wasn't to love?
As we grow up, though, our preferences get more sophisticated; maybe something crunchy for a little contrast, or an additional flavor—peanut butter, perhaps? 3 Musketeers and I grew apart; and eventually, I gave up on drugstore candy bars for good.
Until, of course, it became my job to know as much as I possibly could about chocolate. Between that and my penchant for new, shiny things (ooh, NEW!), I naturally couldn't resist when I saw three(!) different versions of 3 Musketeers staring me in the face at my local drugstore. I grabbed one of each and headed home, filled with excitement (and a little trepidation.)
The Classic, with Richer Chocolate Taste
Even the classic 3M I grabbed had a headline: "Now Richer Chocolate Taste!" Well, I wasn't counting on a new-and-improved original...but since it seems to be a complete reformulation, this would still be my baseline for comparison.
It had been a long while since I'd had one of these; and, unsurprisingly, I found it a little disappointing. Overwhelmingly sweet, the center I'd remembered as fluffy and delightful seemed more gummy and oddly chewy to my adult taste buds. Oh, well. At least now I had an idea of what the other two iterations were up against.
The first surprise came when I opened the package. Two bars? Oh. Okay. I appreciate that 3 Musketeers thinks I might want some now and some later, and don't want to deal with messily rewrapping a half-eaten candy bar to stick back in my purse.
I was taken aback by the first bite, too. White innards! The wrapper describes it as "Fluffy Chocolate-on-Mint Taste"—for whatever reason, I just assumed it would be a minty chocolate filling. Not so. The inside is pure mint, coated in a dark chocolate covering.
I found the result decidedly mediocre. I really enjoy chocolate and mint; and I love York peppermint patties and Junior Mints. But there was something about this bar—perhaps the combination of flavor and texture—that was a bit off-putting. The mint flavor itself was fake in a way I'd never tasted before. I definitely wouldn't buy this again.
Warily, I went on to the Truffle Crisp version, which promised "whipped truffle and delicious airy crisp." I'll do you a favor and spare you my rant about the mis-/over-use of the word "truffle" to describe anything that's remotely creamy and chocolatey; but I did find the phrase "deliciously airy crisp" to be amusingly vague.
The format of this package again has two bars, but more in a Twix-like configuration. I noticed the pattern on the bottom of the bars was all fancied up, too; I wonder if they had to get totally new machinery to put these little fellas together?
As expected, the "truffle" tasted like almost any other mass produced creamy-ish chocolate-y stuff (ever had a U-No bar?)—nothing too exciting, but not offensive either. The crisp was the most surprising: it was like a dense but delicate chocolate meringue, and it was delightful. Combined with the truffle, it's damn tasty—definitely more than the sum of its parts. I'd buy these again for an emergency chocolate fix.
Has anyone else tried the new 3 Musketeers bars? What do you think?
About the author: Liz Gutman is the co-founder of Brooklyn confectionery company Liddabit Sweets. She spends a lot of time discussing, thinking about, and eating food—particularly chocolate. You can follow her on twitter at @liddabitsweets.