Thursday, August 17, 2006

Minstrels - when Smarties grew up!

Firstly a Smarties update.
Clearly it seems that Smarties have evoked many childhood memories for lots of you and the great Smarties debate continues. It seems that only special people can detect the subtle orange oil that flavour my favourite orange ones. And I've also learnt from Roo that orange Smarties have Mystic Meg style football result predicting powers. Now that I've certainly got to try out!
I've also discovered that DD's nickname at school was Smarties due amongst other things, to a prediliction for red shirts. Ryan informs us the M&Ms clearly feeling the competitive pinch have been trying to branch out with different varieties and sizes. I’m not sure that Smarties have been quite so avant garde but I have seen packets of super sized Smarties. I was also really interested to hear from Ryan, “that it's very well known that green M&M's offer potent aphrodisiacal qualities”. I guess that warrants a whole other taste test! Watch this space!

But as wonderful as Smarties are they are no match for the silky smooth chocolatey melt-in-the-mouth Minstrels. The packet of Minstrels encourages you to “surrender to smooth and creamy Galaxy chocolate captured in a crispy shell”, and I’m happy to comply. Okay Minstrels lack the vibrancy of Smarties and I'm pretty sure they don't have predictive powers but they make up for it in taste. I discovered Minstrels much later than Smarties and that seems appropriate as they are a grown up version of the adolescent Smartie. I would say that a Minstrel is what a Smartie would aspire to be when it grew up. In a previous life I would travel on business to Europe every week, mainly throughout the Nordic countries and Benelux. After grabbing a bag of Minstrels at Heathrow one time to share during a session in Stockholm I inadvertently started a craze. I would often get requests to bring plenty of those 'brown sweets' - which I assumed referred to the packet and not the content, when I was revisiting a city again. When I completed a project for a group of colleagues, they presented me with a huge glass jar of Minstrels as a thank you. This was actually a cunning plan as the project demanded many follow up meetings and of course meetings always go better with a little mound of Minstrels to hand.
If you want to experience Minstrels without the crispy shell you could always plump for a Galaxy bar and just have unadulterated Minstrel middles! The mention of Galaxy provokes another great debate. Do you prefer the old stalwart of Cadbury's Dairy Milk or relative newcomer Galaxy (which I believe sometimes goes under the name of Dove)? This could demand a whole new taste test. People generally feel quite strongly about this and I could really divide everyone into two camps - Team Cadbury and Team Galaxy, it will be like Team Aniston and Team Jolie all over again but perhaps with better t-shirts!
Minstrels like Smarties have had a recent package revamp. The 'sharing' bag has been redesigned to make it easier to open and easier to re-seal. H and I were most amused by this as frankly it's not rocket science to open a bag of Minstrels and when we want to get into a bag – nothing on earth would stop us! And as for re-sealing – generally it seems that once a bag is opened, it gets consumed, re-sealing is just not required.
To thank Ryan for such a wealth of M&M knowledge I thought I should educate his American palate and furnish him with his very own bag of Minstrels. We waited with bated breath for his conclusion and it was worth waiting for. He does agree that Minstrels are the clear winner in the chocolate covered in a crisp candy shell category, severely trouncing both M&Ms and Smarties.
However, the sheer size of each Minstrel plainly alarmed him as each Minstrel was daintily bitten in half before consumption. I think we have another believer!
Go Team Galaxy!


RooKnits said...

And what happens when we bring revels into the equation? They contain minstrels... but so many other things too. The lucky dip of chocolate treats! I used to hate the coffee and orange ones, but loved the rest.

J said...

Or indeed the Russian Roulette of chocolate treats - I live in complete fear of the coffee one, clearly my mother's brown/black Smarties ruse of my childhood has scarred me!

I think as a scaredy cat, I'm going to stick with Minstrels, they'll never sneak in a dubious flavour! Clearly, you're much braver than me, Roo!