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Almond Joy Pieces vs. Coconut M&M’s

In case you’re going to ask, no, the “ramenathon” hasn’t finished. Not yet. We’re just taking a break, or better said, “an intermission”.

Authentic Japanese Ramen is is such a savory and “Umami-ish” dish…err bowl, that taking some time off from it with the what should be a wonderfully sweet and exotic, tropical-themed combination of chocolate, coconut and nuts, doesn’t sound like a bad idea. At least me thinks not.

Which brings us here today to compare Hershey’s fairly new Peter Paul offspring, aptly named ‘Almond Joy Pieces’ against Mars ‘Coconut M&M’s’, which I’ve already recently reviewed on this blog.

Getting right to it, let’s have a closer look at Almond Joy Pieces, starting with the packaging…

“Pieces” don’t stop with Almond Joy, as you see they’ve also got York (Peppermint), Hershey’s Special Dark and the original Reese’s Pieces…

Notice the Almond Joy Pieces label artwork is pretty much copied-and-pasted from Peter Paul’s original (albeit modernized) Almond Joy chocolate bar wrapper label…

Unpacking it, here’s Almond Joy Pieces (on the left) and Coconut M&M’s (on the right), side-by-side, with a US quarter in the shot to provide scale in size…

Witness the color-coordinated themes going on here. First of note is that, unlike the last bag I bought, this time around, Coconut M&M’s included the GREEN COLOR!  Yay! Which obviously is supposed to give you a psychological reminder of: green = coconut tree leaves; brown = coconut shell/husk; and white = coconut “meat”. Roger that.

Then we have Hershey’s Peter Paul Almond Joy Pieces, sporting primary blue, tan and dark, dark brown color (which looks almost black in these photos, but they aren’t; they’re dark brown).

Interestingly, the blue Almond Joy Pieces tastes like “blueberry chocolate”, the tan ones tastes like “salmon chocolate”, and the dark, dark brown ones tastes like “hamburger steak chocolate”. Not! But hey, you gotta’ admit, that DOES sound intriguing, to say the least!

As always, let’s cut them in half for a cross-section view…

A closer view of the Almond Joy Pieces…

While here’s a closer side-by-side comparison of the size difference between Almond Joy Pieces (blue) and Coconut M&M’s (green)…

So what’s the verdict, comparing Hershey’s Almond Joy Pieces to Mars Coconut M&M’s? It really is a toss-up. A toss-up! Looking at the “specs” on paper, I thought hands-down, Almond Joy Pieces, with it’s REAL Coconut flakes and tiny chunks of REAL almonds would BLOW AWAY the artificially-flavored Coconut M&M’s. But it didn’t.

What turned out being the advantage for M&M’s was their SUPERIOR, BOLDER TASTING CHOCOLATE underneath the candy-coated shell, which probably may be biased on my part, being that I’m much more familiar with that brand due to availability (thank you Mr. vending machine. he he).

Speaking of candy-coated shell, I found that the most confounding part of this comparison, as its sweetness and hard, crunchy texture complicated my perception of what I could make of what was inside of it. Yet, of course it’s very much appreciated, lest these little morsels of chocolate ‘n “stuff” be relegated to melted oblivion with nothing to show for. As for thickness of the candy coating, I’ve read some complain that the one on the Almond Joy Pieces was too thick, but I actually found the one on the M&M’s to be more so in that regard. Yet none were worth complaining about, and were equally both an asset than a burden.

As for the Almond Joy Pieces, the real coconut flakes and tiny chopped pieces of almonds were appreciated, yet it seemed rather inconsistent, as if the almonds and coconut flakes weren’t evenly mixed in. Which ultimately means, from bite to bite, it didn’t scream out “I’m Almond Joy!” nearly as much as I had hoped. Also, the milk chocolate “core” it’s all mixed in, while “milky”, isn’t nearly as good in my opinion to M&M’s chocolate candy core.

On the other hand, the Coconut M&M’s, while having a far superior chocolate inner-core and tasting more consistently, albeit more subtly “coconutty”, still had that artificial flavor and lack of texture that the Almond Joy Pieces otherwise exemplified.

Who do I pick as the winner? All factors considered in this review, I say it’s a tie. If I had to make a firm decision between the two, I’d go with Almond Joy Pieces, only because of the almond nut pieces. If it didn’t have that, the coconut flakes weren’t enough on its own terms to carry it to the winners’ circle, and hands-down (and not melted in my hands) the M&M’s, with its slightly larger size and much better-tasting chocolate and consistent, yet subtle (albeit more artificial) coconut accent would walk away with the trophy.

5 thoughts on “Almond Joy Pieces vs. Coconut M&M’s

  • June 4, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Pomai, almond joy is the one for me with real coconut in it least. M&M none.

  • June 4, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I agree with you 100 percent Pomai, I love coconut, and was extremely disappointed tasting the fake coconut extract in the m&m’s. The almond joy looked better, not tasting it myself.
    My question? Where are the Mounds? The dark chocolate with real coconut would be superb!
    Tonight I’m gonna try Gyoza no Osho per your recommendation. Can’t wait!
    Btw, I received Ramen Girl in the mail today, gonna watch it tomorrow! Thanks again for the suggestions!!!

  • June 5, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Pomai, coconut flavor does not cut it with me. Perfer real coconut. I use real coconut milk in cooking not coconut flavor type also.

  • June 5, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Pomai, I always wonder since coconuts are not really main crop of Hawaii we must be getting it from Thailand and Philipine or else where. That cheese gyoza was awesome at Gyoza No Ohsho. Got a great deal there.

  • June 5, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Aaron, glad to hear you really enjoyed the Cheese Gyoza. Awesome indeed! As for coconut, according to Wikipedia, the current top three world producers are the Philippines, Indonesia and India.

    Kelike, still, I’m sure there’s some baking applications where real grated coconut won’t work, and you must use coconut extract.

    geishagirl, as for Mounds, I mentioned that the Almond Joy Pieces main advantage over M&M’s is the almonds. So if these were “Mounds Pieces” (no almonds), I’m 100% the M&M’s would hands-down (and chocolate not melting in it) win this shootout. As for ‘The Ramen Girl’, let me know what you think of the movie after you watch it. To keep your comment relevant, please post it under under ‘The Ramen Girl’ review.  Domo.

    Amy, I agree. Although M&M’s still has the advantage of a better-tasting chocolate.


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