Candy Food

Review: Chewy Mint Mentos

Chewy Mint Mentos
Two rolls of Chewy Mint Mentos, which are instantly recognizable staples of convenience stores worldwide.

There was a point maybe a decade ago where the world collectively decided to waste ton after metric ton of Mentos, all in the name of blowing a fountain of Diet Coke into the air in an early demonstration of the power of YouTube and online culture. 

While I won’t shed a tear for all the Diet Coke that made its way to storm drains at the ends of driveways across America, I do feel some sadness at the number of Mentos that met an untimely end, unappreciated, unsavoured, unsucked. Their only role was to prompt a sudden rush of bubbles and crappy diet cola to launch heavenward, then to rest, forgotten, at the bottom of half-empty two-litre bottles. 

Mentos deserve better.

I was introduced to Mentos by a kind woman from the Philippines who looked after my brother and me after school when we were kids in Winnipeg. She gave us a handful of Mentos rolls before we took off for a trip to a rural hotel in the Manitoba countryside, and I remember chewing on them cheerfully for much of the trip. They felt exotic, in that I’d never seen them before, and I couldn’t believe I’d been missing out on them up to that point in my life. 

My travel connection to Mentos has continued, and I often buy a pack at an airport convenience store, usually for a vastly inflated price, before I head off to my gate. I savour them while waiting for the boarding announcement, sitting on the plane with my knees in my face, or patiently looking for my luggage on the baggage claim conveyer belt, slowly sucking on the sweet mint lozenge and hoping that my bag didn’t get smashed en route. 

Yes, but what do they taste like?

Mentos are sold in foiled paper rolls, making it easy to unwrap at one end and squeeze individual mints out one at a time. Each Mento (is that the singular of Mentos?) is a sort of partially flattened sphere, with a shell of somewhat hard candy on the outside, and a chewy centre. Unlike Scotch mints, which will take out a tooth without hesitation, you can easily chew on Mentos, provided they’re still fairly fresh. When chewed, they turn into a sugary paste that can last for a little while as it dissolves. 

The flavour is sweet and minty, but more mild than hot and peppery. A lot of mints go for the heat of strong peppermint flavour, but Mentos are a bit more subtle. They’re meant to be enjoyed for the flavour, not to neutralize onion breath before a meeting. They’re not breath mints or cough drops, but rather cool, refreshing mints that are more creamy than throat soothing. Yes, they smell nice and minty when you chew them, but they’re not meant to scorch your tongue. 

There are other flavours of Mentos, but the mint one remains the classic. All the ones I’ve tried tend to have the same profile of understated flavour with just the right amount of sweetness. Some of the fruit ones are easy to find at Canadian convenience stores, but specialty shops and candy stores have been known to carry imports that include cola Mentos, strawberry Mentos, and officially branded orange Fanta Mentos.

The single biggest drawback of Mentos is that as much as I love them, they’re rarely my first choice when I’m in the mood to buy a pack of candy. I’m often lured in by something chocolate, or maybe a bag of Skittles. And yet, when I do plunk down the money and buy them, I never regret it. 

So here’s to Mentos. Don’t waste them. Enjoy them. Treat them with the love and respect they deserve. 

Chewy Mint Mentos
There’s an art to successfully squeezing Mentos out of their foil paper wrapper instead of just tearing the wrapper open as you go along.

The Details

Price: Varies widely. Can be $1 per 37-gram roll at Superstore, or $2+ at a convenience store. Smaller rolls at Dollarama (29.7 grams), but they’re also cheaper. 

Value for Money: At $1 per roll? Excellent. At $2.50? Still OK.

Availability: Most Canadian candy racks in corner stores, supermarkets, gas stations, etc. Curiously, the roll I bought at a grocery store was made in Mexico, while the roll I bought at Dollarama was made in Brazil. Truly a global candy brand.

Nutrition: 10 kcal per mint, which I had to look up on the Mentos website, as it’s not printed on the package. 

Verdict: A classic. Chewy mints that are refreshing without being hot with peppermint. 

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