Stepping through that store, I stumbled upon a newish line of M&M's Premiums that featured fancy packaging with a price to match - a whopping $5 per box. Quickly comparing them with "classic" M&M's (79 cents per bag), I noted both had very similar ingredients (they still use cocoa butter). So were the newbies really worth the startling markup?

The notion of time has lately been on my mind. Especially when it seemed to simultaneously stand still and slip away as I crouched down in the dark during our recent blackout, attempting to read with a flashlight jammed under my chin.

Time struck my brain again when I awoke in the middle of the night and gazed at the cable box to check the hour. Of course it was blank. I felt the same way.

Then a couple of days later, with the premiere of fall and the power finally restored, I found myself slowly shuffling through a store thinking of the linear time of clocks and calendars and the cyclical time of the seasons. Suddenly, I realized maybe it was marketing time that really matters. And from the looks of all the candy displayed, I knew it was now the "month" of Halloween. -G.A. Benton

What I tried: M&M's Premiums ($5)

Season of the witch: I'm no longer frightened by autumnal spirits and hobgoblins, but when I saw the Today Show exposing how some kiddie candies (like Hershey's Kissables) are now being made using cynical recipes that replace cocoa butter with cheap vegetable oil, a cold shiver ran down my spine. Man, talk about trick or treat.

Time for an upgrade?: Stepping through that store, I stumbled upon a newish line of M&M's Premiums that featured fancy packaging with a price to match - a whopping $5 per box. Quickly comparing them with "classic" M&M's (79 cents per bag), I noted both had very similar ingredients (they still use cocoa butter). So were the newbies really worth the startling markup?

Moment of truth: M&M's Premiums come in festively mottled colors, are far fatter than regular M&M's and, it turns out, far, far better. They're made in five flavors (like mocha and mint) but for comparison's sake, I matched the Triple Chocolate against plain M&M's and pitted the Chocolate Almond against my old friend peanut M&M's.

While the plains were primarily a crunchy candy shell with a blast of sugar and a mere touch of chocolate, the Triples were the opposite. They had only a hint of a shell, and instead were basically all chocolate - a more complex chocolate with a pleasant, chunky chewiness and a fine, fatty mouth feel.

The peanut M&M's fared better against the Premium Almond variety, but in the end, they were another classic that couldn't compete with all the added chocolate of the Premiums.

Would I eat them again?: While I do like them, the only time I'd eat the Premiums would be when someone else bought them. Because even though they're much better than regular M&M's, they're still quite sugary, and for that price I can buy something much better and much darker.

WE TRIED IT! Spot a new supermarket specialty you'd like Taste Test to try? E-mail gbenton@columbusalive.com