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Mint and chocolate make such a perfect combination. Who first discovered this is a fact now lost in the mists of time, but we can all be grateful that others took up the cudgels on behalf of this wonderful mix. I have long considered Nestlé's After Eights to be just about the perfect expression of mint chocolate, but after a couple of boxes of Bittermints in recent weeks I am wondering whether I might have to change my opinion. They really are that good, and it's no surprise that they have survived since 1931.
These days Bittermints seem to come not in the older flat boxes but in long cuboid cardboard tubes that - surely not coincidentally - are very reminiscent of those that hold the aforementioned After Eights. The box is tastefully designed in shades of dark green, with the Bendicks logo picked out in gold, as for that matter is the Royal Warrant. Oh yes: these chocolates are by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen, and whatever your views on the monarchy it is hard to dispute that in this matter her taste is impeccable.
The box holds eleven mints, standing on end and arranged in a long line. Why eleven I have no idea, since it's such a silly number: as a prime, it is therefore impossible to divide the contents equally between any number of people. Well, eleven I suppose. Or one. Actually, that last point may well answer my question! As the weight of the tube is a nice round 200 grams I doubt also whether you originally got twelve mints and it's simply been reduced in the name of cost-cutting. Still, eleven it is and eleven we must deal with.
Each of the mints is round, fat and happy. Sorry, that's Mr Happy of the Mr Men. The first two adjectives do apply, though. They're about the size of a Viscount chocolate biscuit, though I expect Bendicks would be insulted to have their product compared to anything so vulgar! Each mint is wrapped in green metallic foil, which again bears the company name in gold. They do, it has to be said, look very classy, something shared with After Eights.
What *is* different is the cocoa content. Bittermints are coated with chocolate with a *95%* cocoa content. This is absolutely massive for an ordinary (and I use the word advisedly!) consumer chocolate, and I wonder whether some people may be put off by the worry that the things might taste of earth and coffee beans! Nutritionally these chocolates are surprisingly light on calories: 100 g provides a mere 430 kcal, which works out at 80 kcal per mint. They're dairy-free but do contain soya; I'd imagine they're also vegetarian though as this is not actually stated you never know.
There's a fairly strong aroma of mint when you unwrap one of the chocolates, though the choccy outside itself is quite restrained. That makes itself known when you bite into it, with just a hint of that aforementioned earthiness but really quite a mild one before the bitterer mint fondant asserts itself. This is less sweet and more subtle than the filling of an After Eight, but just as nice in its own way. Despite the lowish calorie count, eating more than a couple of Bittermints in a session isn't recommended: perhaps it's all that cocoa, but they do fill you up quickly.
Overall, these mints are superb. They're not really suited to being served as knockabout party food, but that doesn't mean they need to be kept back for formal occasions. A mint with a cup of coffee in the evening works very well, and though they're a bit squishy to keep in a pocket, if you have somewhere more secure to stash them they actually succeed as a picnic treat too. They are expensive at full price: a box costs £3.79. Mine, however, was near its Best Before date and cost a quid from an excellent small sweetshop in Worcester. At that price they're amazing.
The first thing I will say about these bitter mints from Bendicks is that I did not get them in one of the box`s pictured by Dooyoo and I am unaware as to whether they still come like that or not.
The ones I got came in a light green coloured plastic tube and the dozen mints were individually wrapped inside in dark green coloured foil, there was a fancy dark green bow around the top end of the tube and it all looked very elegant.
You could smell the mint scent before the tube was even opened and once the seal was broken the mint smell was instantly overpowering, by this time I was thinking these might be too strong for me and I was right.
I love mint chocolates such as mingles and after eights but I do not like my mint chocolates to be too strong, I do like strong mint but it should be kept for extra strong mints or gum in my opinion and not used with chocolate.
I like my mint chocolates to first taste of chocolate and then have a hint of mint but with these it was all mint and the chocolate could hardly be detected at all.
My second problem with these mints was that the so called cream centre was very hard and crumbly and not at all what I would describe as cream, if the centre had just been a little harder still I would have just about been convinced that this was indeed an extra strong mint dipped in chocolate.
All in all I was very disappointed with this mint from Bendicks, who incidentally do make some other mints which are exceptionally good, as with all bendicks mints these are expensive and as I was given them as a gift I had to do some research but did in the end find out that these typically cost between £3 and £3.50 for twelve mints.
The new packaging is awful - what are they thinking? Ugly, ugly, ugly.... Bring back the classic, smart packing...
When I was a kid we always went to my grandma's house for Boxing Day and after dinner the mints would come out. If she had it her way, some wise family member would have bought her a box of Bendicks Bittermints (thus securing their place in the will for eternity) and we'd get to have those rather than other frankly inferior brands.
For my grandma was a very discerning lady. Bendicks Bittermints with 95% cocoa solids have got to be one of the most refined chocolates out there, and boy do they taste like it. Less fun than Matchmakers (which we would never willingly turn down either!) but they scream quality. The forest green, white and gold packaging looks smart on anyone's coffee table. And they are by appointment to the Queen (the other reason my grandma loved them: if it's good enough for Betty, it's good enough for her); I think that says it all. So you get the little royal crest on the packaging as well and you get to kid yourself that just for a moment you are one with Her Majesty.
As for the chocolates themselves, they are less of a chocolate and more of a meal. Even in my most fanatical chocolate loving days I struggled to eat more than 1, and definitely no more than 2. That to me justifies the slightly more expensive than average price. The chocolate is truly bitter (and bizzarely tastes ever so slightly of apricot jam in a Sachertorte kind of way) and therefore you only need a very little of it. It's pretty special. You can taste it for about 4 hours afterwards. The mint itself is like a grown up's version of peppermint creams, my favourite when I was a child. It's almost completely solid - no runny After 8s here please. It is just minty enough to compete with the chocolate, always a danger when the chocolate is that rich. Frankly it's a feat of engineering; kudos to Mr Bendick whoever he might be.
All in all, it's the perfect finale to any classy meal. Or just something to make yourself feel better if you had a somewhat less than classy meal. And in my grandma's words, if it's good enough for Betty, it's good enough for me as well.
Oh boy! These are THE best! I have always loved mints, especially peppermint creams, but I like my mint strong and my chocolate plain! Bendicks Bittermints aren't for softies - they give all this - a purely tongue-tingly hard mint cream centre wrapped in pure bitter plain chocolate that gives a double taste sensation for lovers of both mint and chocolate! A small box, in classy green and silver packaging, costs about £3 for which you get about 12 mints individually wrapped in silver foil. They look so innocent! Then POW! Bite into it and get a taste explosion! I'm addicted and proud! They make a lovely gift for a mint lover or just for a bit of self indulgence - not cheap, but well worth every penny!
Bendicks Bittermints are not to be toyed with. These are not for the dilletantes after a quick fix of sugary confection. No way. The question you have to ask yourself is: are you mature enough for a Bittermint? The first thing to note about them is that these large, round mints, cased in fine silver foil, are weighty. You don’t get many to the box, that’s for sure. The firm peppermint fondant centres are encased in a thick layer of seriously dark chocolate. Boasting 95% cocoa solids, this is the sort of chocolate that drives sugar-addicts away. Once you bite through that dark layer you get to the peppermint centre. The flavour is strong, as you would expect, but it doesn’t taste articial or very sweet. The contrast between that dark chocolate and that refreshing blast of peppermint is what makes this a seriously good treat. Don’t be fooled by lesser imitations, Bendicks Bittermints are the best, and should be savoured rather than wolfed down like a box of Cadbury’s chocs.
Bittermints was the original Bendicks Mint made with 95% cocoa solids chocolate and a firm peppermint fondant centre. This is the connoisseur's mint.