* Prices may differ from that shown
Years ago, after dinner mints to accompany coffee invariably meant either Elizabeth Shaw or After Eights if you weren't quite as posh. Either way, the chocolate was dark and the mint quite bitter, so you only needed one or two. Now the chocolate mints selection on the market has grown, no doubt with the nation's waistlines in direct proportion. The choice is much greater, and now includes white and milk chocolate versions, as well as the old-style dark chocolate ones, but I've always tended to stick to the original style on the rare occasion that I buy them. I wouldn't tend to buy myself a box of chocolate mints to eat, not least because it would be a bit boring to plough through, but my local B&M bargains is currently selling rather cute pocket-sized packs of these. They're the same chocolates as the bigger packs, but rather than 32 in an octagon, you instead get just 7 in a smaller, hexagon, which is a much more manageable number. It's also a 'greener' way to sell them, since there's no plastic involved in this packaging unlike in the larger packs. These chocolates are wrapped in silver foil with blue writing, though the ones in the larger packs invert this, with silver writing on a blue foil. Individual wrappings keep them fresh longer, though that's clearly less on an issue when you're investing in the smaller pack size. Each one is a small disc, with the trademark dimples on the top, just like the original, dark chocolate/orange foil variety. These chocolates take small pieces of crisp honeycomb and smother them in minty milk chocolate. The honeycomb is well hidden inside, but snap one of the disks in half and you can see many shards of the stuff. You don't have to get that close to smell the chocolates, though, in fact you don't even need to get as far as unwrapping them, as the strong, minty smell is hard to miss but is still much more appetising than the other strong, minty smelling item I'd tend to think of - toothpaste. Milk chocolate mints are less common generally, so I've had fewer of them in my life, and would tend to associate mint with dark chocolate on principle (mint Aeros being the key exception). However, these mints have really changed my mind. The milk chocolate takes the edge off the mint somehow, and the increased milk solids make the overall taste less bitter. The only downside of this is that you can eat more of them than perhaps you would the darker variety as the chocolate hit is not quite as intense. The honeycomb is nice and crisp, and gives the chocolates a great crunch, but does have a habit of sticking to your teeth a little. I wouldn't knock a star off for this, but if your teeth are a bit delicate you might prefer to steer clear of these. The pieces are a good size - not so small that they feel icky and grainy, but not too big they break your teeth off, and the dimpled design on top adds another type of texture as well as making them look a tad more interesting than they would if they were smooth disks. Though it might not be the most ecologically sound thing to say, I do quite like individually wrapped chocolates. I like savouring the moment, unwrapping them slowly as I, ahem, munch my way through the whole box. It's that fraction extra time, peeling off the foil, that sets these apart from box standard chocs which just sit in plastic tray layers. While these mints might not have those fun twist wraps that you can spent ages untwirling and twirling back up again, they are at least easy to get into, because for all I like unwrapping things individually, it's only when the time taken to do so is less than or equal to the time it will then spend in my mouth. These chocolates surprised me because I thought I'd get bored with them quickly, what with them all being the same, but they were so moreish I finished the set of 7 before I'd even noticed. I really like these chocolates, and think they are as good as the originals. The milk chocolate is a good quality and smooth and silky, while the honeycomb is like glass (in a good way). Each one looks as pretty undressed and they do wrapped, which is more than can be said for most chocolate (or people). They really do have the whole package: attractive, pleasant smelling, and great tasting. If a box is going to contain just one chocolate rather than a mixed selection, they have to really make sure it's a good one that can carry a single-choc pack, but this mint is spot on. Recommended.