Gather round, children, and hear the legend of the 3 Musketeers bar, who overcame great odds to become the classic confection it is today. Our tale begins in the early 20th century on a dark and bitter night in February. In an abandoned factory space, one man worked tirelessly throughout the night. The wind howled and branches tapped the windows as the solitary man whipped egg whites in a tiny mixing bowl, mad with invention. Tonight was the night he had waited for. After months of sweat, tears, and sleepless nights, tonight he would birth his fantastic creation!
Actually, I wish I had a better back story to tell here, but the 3 Musketeers was the first candy bar that I’ve researched who I could not associate with a single real person (although “Eddie Musketeer” was a good one on Wikianswers). It was introduced in 1932 by M&M/Mars and was the third bar they released. Originally, the 3 Musketeers came in three pieces and flavors (hence the name): chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. In 1942, rising costs and wartime restrictions on sugar caused the company to phase out the less popular vanilla and strawberry flavors, leaving only the chocolate. At the time, it was one of the biggest candy bars you could get and was marketed to be shared by friends under the slogan “Big on chocolate!”. Size does matter.
The 3 Musketeers candy bar has two main components: chocolate and nougat. Nougat is made of egg whites (or hydrolyzed soya protein or gelatin) that are whipped until frothy. It is then flavored however Mars Inc goes about the process, which remains a mystery. It is then shaped and dipped in milk chocolate.
3 Musketeers was formerly promoted on the Howdy Doody Show, along with a song that Buffalo Bob Smith encouraged children to sing. Just so you know, I did try to find the lyrics to the song or a video, but came up heartbreakingly empty-handed.
During their 75th anniversary in August 2007, 3 Musketeers introduced their first brand extension: the 3 Musketeers Mint. I liked this one and am kind of bummed now that it no longer comes in 2 pieces. So easy to share with friends! Also in 2007, 3 Musketeers issued a limited edition “Autumn Mix”, featuring French Vanilla, Mocha Cappuccino and Strawberry. This was followed by Cherry 3 Musketeers for Valentine’s Day 2008 (blech, cherry), and Raspberry 3 Musketeers (tolerable) and Orange 3 Musketeers (didn’t try these) for Easter in 2008. Orange was coated in regular chocolate while the cherry and raspberry were coated with dark chocolate. 2009 brought the 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp, which wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. In Easter 2011, a Marshmallow variety was released, which to my surprise had very little to do with actual marshmallow and more to do with making the nougat white and cloyingly sweet. Also in 2011, Mars released a “Richer Chocolate” flavor, meant to up the chocolatey taste of the nougat, which I’ve never actually considered very chocolatey. I didn’t get to try this one… yet.
In the mid to late ’90′s, ads featured three men dressed as 3 Musketeers characters to market their “45% less fat” campaign, changing the product’s slogan from “Big on Chocolate!” to “Big on Chocolate, Not on Fat!”.
In one of my least favorite marketing moves, they have been releasing a series of ads featuring women indulging in candy, but not wanting to feel weighed down by the heftier options. The 3 Musketeers bar will actually float away, given the opportunity. Best to keep your little fist around it, ladies.
Outside of Canada and the U.S., the 3 Musketeers is known as Milky Way. Some day, I will write a post that doesn’t include an alternate name that is the name of another candy bar.
I actually am a fan of 3 Musketeers, although I almost never buy them. I am a big fan of marshmallow coated in chocolate and was excited to try that variety, and they totally tricked me. My first bite was so disappointing. So was my second bite, and then it was gone because it was fun sized. I prefer 3 Musketeers in fun size form and am known to put them in the freezer for maximum enjoyment. Try it, you’ll like it.
The regular 3 Musketeers candy bar has 257 calories, 8g fat, 5g saturated fat, 116 mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate, 40g sugar, and 2g of protein.