I’ve always loved mints.
Scotch mints, with their hard, tooth-shattering shells, have been a staple in my office candy dishes — at least prior to that whole pandemic thing. As a kid, I used to happily grab a few pillow mints from the bowl at the cashier at the diner we used to frequent in Winnipeg. Swirly red and white round peppermints were the standard candy in my childhood advent calendar — they almost made up for having to listen to a bible story before I got one. And those odd clear mints that they used to bring you with the bill at family restaurants? So many memories.
But my favourite has always been what Canadians have typically called English mints. They’re round and powdery, about the size of a stack of maybe four nickels, and they look like a larger version of the mints you’d find in an Altoids tin. They’re not as hard as Scotch mints, and they dissolve more readily. There’s no shell, so the outside is the same as the inside, and they’re far more mellow than a breath mint.
They used to be easier to find in bulk bins and bags in the candy aisle, but it seems like trends have shifted and we’ve collectively decided that Scotch mints are the new default in Canada. Which is too bad, since I consider English mints to be the superior variety.
Thankfully, other parts of the world haven’t yet lost their love of English mints. Enter King Pepermunts. Yes, pepermunt — not peppermint. Made in the Netherlands, these mints are sold in rolls wrapped in foiled paper, often in multi-packs of three of four rolls. And they are wonderful.
In looking over the ingredients list, I was surprised to learn that these peppermints have gelatin in them. Confused, I started googling other English-style peppermints from various manufacturers, and I found that this is not an anomaly. It turns out it’s commonplace for this type of mint to contain gelatin.
While I’m not a food scientist, my guess is that the use of gelatin has something to do with the texture of the mint — holding the powdery mint together, and giving it that melty feeling in your mouth as it slowly dissolves. I checked a tin of Altoids I had lying around, and sure enough, same deal. So keep that in mind, vegetarians and vegans. You’ll need to look elsewhere for your minty fix.
But what do they taste like?
They dissolve slowly but consistently in the mouth. At first, there’s a hint of creamy coconut, then the mint and sweetness take over, growing in intensity as the sugar and peppermint oil melt away. They’re a perfect balance of sweet and pepperminty, without the sinus-clearing heat/chill of a stronger mint. They’re built for pleasure and taste, not to quickly mask the onions you had on your sub at lunch.
There are lots of different kinds of mints out there, from the aggressively strong mint of a tube of toothpaste, to mints like Altoids that are sold as “curiously strong.” There are the “eucalyptus” style of mints, too, which taste more like cough drops than candy.
These King Pepermunts are for people who like their mints mild and sweet, as a candy that doesn’t serve a dual purpose as a dental/breath/cough remedy. It’s like how mint chocolate chip ice cream is about the joy of the creamy sweet mint flavour, and not about freshening up before a date.
Price: $4.99 for a four-pack of 44-gram rolls of mints at Safeway in Edmonton.
Value for Money: $1.25 per roll? Solid value.
Availability: So-so in Canada. Check the import section at your grocery store. According to the internet, they’re available at London Drugs. I also recently saw them at the till of a Calgary Co-Op store, so who knows?
Calories: 10 per 1 mint (2 grams)
Verdict: Deliciously minty, but also nicely mild. They won’t leave your tongue numb.