Q: Yesterday, I bought some 3 Musketeers candy bars, which prompted me to tell a friend that I thought I remembered in the olden days when I was young that 3 Musketeers came in three different flavors in one bar. Do you remember that? I sure hope I’m right, but a lot of times I’m not.
Charlsie Vunovic, of Granite City
A: Looks like you’ve always had a sweet spot in your memory for this still popular confection — perhaps because it once boosted your popularity with classmates.
In fact, that was a major selling point when Mars Inc. introduced 3 Musketeers in 1932, its third major product after Milky Way in 1923 (“chocolate malted milk in a candy bar”) and Snickers in 1930. It did indeed come in three pieces — vanilla, chocolate and strawberry — which allowed you to treat your friends to a piece or two. “All for one or one for a couple of others,” as the famous trio might have said during a commercial break in Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel, for which the candy was named.
So even during the Depression, you could splurge with others by scrounging up just an extra nickel every now and then. But as the United States entered World War II, the government began rationing sugar in 1942, making it too expensive for the candy company to continue producing all three varieties. Instead, it dropped the vanilla and strawberry and sold the most popular flavor — nougat covered by milk chocolate — as a single bar. (Sorry, I’m not quite old enough to remember the change.)
Perhaps, however, you were able relive some of your childhood memories in the past decade. To celebrate the candy’s 75th anniversary in 2007, Mars introduced a limited-edition Autumn Minis Mix with French vanilla, mocha cappuccino and strawberry. The diamond anniversary also saw the introduction of 3 Musketeers Mint, which proved a huge hit. Since then, the company has tempted candy lovers with cherry and raspberry (both coated with dark chocolate) and orange surrounded by milk chocolate as well as S’mores, truffle crisp, coconut and others. Of course, if you were in France 40 years ago, you would have found Cadbury marketing its Curly Wurly bar as the 3 Musketeers, too.