A few miles down the road from Antwerp is Breda, the home of Mentos, everyone’s favourite chewy mint sweet (with the exception of those who prefer Trebor Softmints). Invented in 1932 by the brothers Michael and Pierre van Melle who, while on a trip to Poland, heard of a recipe for soft fruit caramels and decided to adapt it with a mint flavouring, mentos are a type of scotch mint, a candy with a hard shell and chewy interior, though Perfetti Van Melle, the manufacturers describe them as a dragée, a term that covers any hard coated form of confectionery including sugared almonds, smarties, and the metallic decorative balls beloved of cake makers.
In Greek mythology Minthe was a naiad of Cocytus who, being seduced by Hades, incurred the wrath of Perspehone, or alternatively Demeter, and was metamorphosed into the plant, mint, in punishment. Mint is a fragrant, strong scented herb of the genus Mentha. Its volatile oils are used as scents in perfumery and as flavourings in sweets, liqueur, gum, dentifrices, and medicines. Scotch mints are usually flavoured with the mint Mentha x. gracilis.
Mentos have gained notoriety thanks to the spectacular effect of combining the sweets with diet coke, or other carbonated beverages to create fountains of tens of feet in height. This video will explain the science behind the reaction and demonstrate what may be achieved when you have too much time on your hands. Enjoy.
Research from the Defence Studies Department, King's College London
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