I'm not Catholic, but I'm fairly sure these really are just candies and not communion wafers. On the other hand, when I first got one and ran over to my brother with it, I discovered my hand was unaccountably wet. He insisted they must be filled with holy water, kind of like those weird chewy candies filled with limpid lukewarm goo which in the commercials explodes out at people like a geyser. (In fact, they're fairly soft mints that dissolve after you suck on them for a while, much like pillow mints.)

I discovered Testamints last weekend, when I went to my fundamentalist grandmother's house for a graduation party. She always has little bowls of candy out, fulfilling her grandmotherly duty, or possibly just her duty as a hostess from 1965 or so. While prowling around for them (sort of an ironically secular Easter egg hunt) I discovered a heaping bowl of Testamints.

They are individually wrapped mints with a terrible pun on the front (hee hee - testamints), a Bible quote on the back, and a cross engraved on both sides of the square mint candy. They come in three flavors: peppermint, spearmint, and wintergreen.

The Testamints folks describe them as "pressed candy," and sell them in bags as well as in "stick candies" much like Halls. They also offer bags of "assorted fruit sours" pressed candy, collectible tins of the hard candies, Testamints regular and sugar-free gum and - my favorite - tubs of sixty "Promise Pops."

These things are awesome. So much Christianity, and so much campiness, packed into such a tiny thing. My favorite thing about them is that they can be enjoyed from a Christian perspective for their religious content as much as they can be enjoyed from a cynical/agnostic/campy perspective. According to http://www.sentbyangels.com/Christian_Candy/Testamints.html, the Creator (sorry!) of Testamints explained,

"Testamints was born out of love and a desire to see products out there that Christians could use to share their faith. I wanted something that Christians could have as their own 'product identity' - something that we could have that would show our beliefs and allow us the opportunity to share the Gospel of Christ. I wanted to encourage people as well." ....Now you can share your beliefs in an easy and unimposing way by sharing your Testamints with your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. It's a sure way to start up a conversation about the Good Book.
I don't know about that; when I gave one to my dad, he started laughing hysterically and couldn't stop for several minutes. My Aunt Janet, who is Christian herself, spent the rest of the day teasing me about how many of those I would need to eat and making jokes about how if Grandma couldn't get to us from the outside, she'd get to us from the inside. Maybe it works better if they're handed out by someone who isn't a confirmed Pagan.

The verses on the back are very sweet; the one I just grabbed at random read, "Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:3." Aww... it's a mint-flavored cheering section.

Tom Waits explained them back in 1999:

"My father-in-law has been trying to get me involved in this other business. He's got these little lozenges that come in different flavours and they have a cross on one side and a Bible passage on the other. He calls them Testamints. The idea is that if you can't make the church service, you meditate on the Testamint passage, then pop it in your mouth. We took the idea one step further with Chocolate Jesus."

There is an excellent picture of the candy and wrapper at http://www.ilovebacon.com/042902/d.shtml with the caption "Rejoicing in the wintergreen goodness of the Lord."

Mm, tasty resources:

  • http://www.testamints.com is their breath-freshening home page...
  • http://www.sentbyangels.com/Christian_Candy/Novelty_Candy.html - also sells fortune cookies with Bible verses on them, for when you want to startle your dinner guests...
  • and heck, if you like what you see here, you can find more at http://www.christiancandy.com.
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