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Candy Review: Reese’s, Special Dark, Almond Joy and York Pieces

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Hershey's Pieces

To me, one of the most exciting announcements at this year’s All Candy Expo was the addition of three new additions to the Pieces lineup. Never knew there was a Pieces lineup? Well, there is now, with Hershey’s Special Dark, Almond Joy and York Pieces joining the familiar Reese’s. But are these new additions worthy successors to the mantle of everyone’s favorite candy-coated peanut butter treat? (The Hershey’s folks threw in a sample pack of Reese’s Pieces too, so I’m doing a bonus review of those as well.)

Reese’s Pieces:

Colors: Orange, yellow, brown
Filling: Peanut butter

When I was a kid, it blew my mind when I discovered that you could put things inside a chocolate shell other than, well, chocolate. That the filling in question was delicious Reese’s peanut butter certainly helped.

If there’s anyone out there who hasn’t had them before, Reese’s Pieces are about the size and shape of M&M’s, and have a similar texture – under the candy coating, the peanut butter filling is denser and smoother than in a Reese’s peanut butter cup, closely mimicking the texture of the more traditional chocolate.

The filling has a milder flavor than a Reese’s cup’s – without the added element of chocolate, it doesn’t need the same intense saltiness. In all, Reese’s Pieces are a good mix of contrasting textures and flavors – the sweet, crunchy candy shell and the creamy, mildly salty peanut butter combine for a taste that’s not too heavy and definitely addictive, and they remain one of my favorite candies to this day.

Almond Joy Pieces:

Colors: Brown, blue, white
Filling: Milk chocolate, coconut, almond

Admittedly, I’ve never eaten an Almond Joy bar before – the similar but nut-free Bounty bar is more commonly available here in Canada. But I love the combination of coconut and chocolate, so I was pretty pumped for these.

They smell like toasty almonds and coconut mixed with milk chocolate – yum. The individual pieces are a little bigger and thicker than Reese’s Pieces, and their shells look a little lumpy and uneven, without the uniform gloss of the Reese’s.

This is definitely a candy for coconut lovers, as that’s the dominant flavor here. The milk chocolate is very creamy and mild, and isn’t overpoweringly sweet. It actually does a good job of mimicking the peanut butter center of Reese’s Pieces, only with the added textural elements of bits of nuts and coconut shreds.

The candy shell isn’t terribly thick, but thanks to the almond and coconut bits, these have a pretty substantial crunch. I can see where they might not be everyone’s thing, though – if the idea of little gritty bits in a chocolate shell doesn’t appeal to you, these probably aren’t for you. I, however, found them just as addictive as the originals.

Hershey’s Special Dark Pieces:

Colors: Red, brown, dark brown
Filling: Dark chocolate

For mass-market dark chocolate, Hershey’s Special Dark is actually not bad. But much as I love dark chocolate, I have to question whether a Pieces with a straight chocolate center really belongs in the same lineup as the chocolate-free Reese’s Pieces.

The Special Dark Pieces match the Almond Joy ones in terms of shape and texture – they’re a little bigger and thicker than the Reese’s, with a less glossy and even coating.

Unsurprisingly, they remind me a lot of M&M’s, but I find the chocolate center a bit acidic – it reminds me of semisweet Chipits rather than anything I would want to eat by the piece. Maybe I haven’t eaten enough dark chocolate M&M’s, but I just kind of expect a creamier, richer filling inside a chocolate lentil, especially one that’s being marketed as a variation of Reese’s Pieces. Overall, I’m not a fan of these.

York Pieces:

Colors: Blue, white
Filling: Peppermint-flavored dark chocolate

I was really hoping these would take a page from the Reese’s ones and just be peppermint fondant inside a candy shell, but they’re actually just filled with mint-flavored dark chocolate. (Boy, I’m really ragging on chocolate today, aren’t I? I must be sick or something.)

They don’t have the fondant, but the dark chocolate filling does have the same intense mintiness of a Peppermint Pattie, plus the slight sweetness and crunch of the candy shell. Not the original taste sensation I was hoping for, but really, you can’t go wrong with peppermint and chocolate, and the texture element of the candy crunch is a very nice addition.

Overall, all of these flavors were really tasty except for the Special Dark. I just wish they had been a little less chocolate-focused. None of them really blew my mind like the original Reese’s Pieces did back in the day – it seems like the purpose of them is just to compete with all the new flavors of M&M’s rather than doing anything truly innovative. There have to be more interesting non-chocolate things that you can put inside a candy lentil – but it doesn’t seem like Hershey’s is trying very hard to find them.

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8 Responses to “Candy Review: Reese’s, Special Dark, Almond Joy and York Pieces”

  1. 1
    Robby says:

    I so agree with you! I just had the Almond Joy ones… I wonder if that’s how the coconut m&ms taste?

  2. 2
    Jim says:

    Thanks for picking up the pieces!

  3. 3
    Justin says:

    I’m disappointed about the York ones…I love York, they should have a fondant in the center!

  4. 4
    Spinner says:

    Did you happen to catch when they’ll be on shelves? Now that my candy supply from the show is nearly gone, I find myself missing some of the stuff I’d tried there–and Almond Joy Pieces rank pretty high up there.

  5. 5
    Technosquid says:

    Has anyone seen these in the wild yet? I noticed they’re up on the website. I’d like to know what stores are most likely to carry them.

  6. 6
    cybele says:

    technosquid – I saw them today at RiteAid in Glendale, CA. They weren’t actually on the shelves, but on a cart ready to be placed on the shelves. (I only saw the York Pieces.)

    I also heard they’re at the Hershey’s Chocolate World Store and imagine they’re also at the Hershey’s Store at Times Square.

  7. 7
    Kvn11 says:

    I LOVE ALMOND JOY!!!! Man!I never knew there was almond joy pieces!!! Someone PLZ tell me where they sell these i really wanna taste them!!!(not as excited in real life as in this comment but still pretty excited)

  8. 8
    Fadere Made says:

    ahhh! I love the new Almond Joy Pieces!! IMO they are WAY better than the Coconut M&Ms that are out.

    I actually have a poll on my site to see what people like better between the two XD

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