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What are Dinner Mints?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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Dinner mints are small mint-flavored candies traditionally eaten at the end of a meal. The mint is thought to act as a breath freshener and the candy provides a sweet taste that many people enjoy after dinner. Dinner mints aren't usually served regularly in people's homes, but are mostly offered at special occasions. Most restaurants usually place the check, or bill, on the table with several complimentary dinner mints surrounding it.

The classic type of dinner mint is pastel-colored in pink, yellow and green as well as white and may be called a butter mint. Pastel dinner mints may be round and rather flat or small and square shaped with rounded corners. These delicately-tinted mints can look pretty when placed in little bowls and brought out when coffee is served at a dinner party. Pastel and white dinner mints are also popular at weddings and may even be presented as party favors in ribbon-tied squares of net fabric or in little containers.

Peppermint candies are sometimes eaten as dinner mints and are typically large, white and round, but may be available in other sizes, shapes and colors such as green. Mint-flavored, shiny hard candies are usually wrapped in cellophane. Chocolate dinner mints come in many different sizes and shapes and may be foil wrapped. They may be round or square pieces of chocolate with a creamy mint filling or may have multi-layers of chocolate and mint.

The chocolate types of dinner mints are often enjoyed at other times of the day and eaten as a candy more than a dinner mint. Chocolate-mint desserts such as chocolate chip mint ice cream can be garnished with a few after-dinner mints. Some chocolate dinner mints are shaped like spoons or formed into sticks filled with mint flavor plus liqueur. These types are meant to enjoy with coffee and/or dessert.

Belgian chocolate dinner mints can be very elegant. Some are even embossed with elaborate designs. Beautifully wrapped boxes of Belgian chocolate dinner mints can make perfect hostess gifts.

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Discussion Comments

By Lostnfound — On Jul 23, 2014

I think the first time I ever had the Andes chocolate mints was as a dinner mint. They were served at a restaurant with the check. Maybe it was Olive Garden, but I don't remember now. It's been a while.

I do know how pleased I was when I found the Andes candies for sale in the grocery store, because I like them so much.

Nearly every place has the striped peppermint candies in a dish at the register. Some places offer them for free, while others charge a nickel or so. Sometimes, they use the proceeds from the mints to send to a charity. I know one local restaurant charges a nickel per mint and sends the money to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. The owner told me that once people find out where the money goes, they'll put several dollars in the jar.

By Grivusangel — On Jul 22, 2014

I like places that serve dinner mints -- especially the butter mints. I always loved going to visit my parents' elderly relatives, because they frequently had butter mints in the candy dish and always insisted we have some. Kids are funny.

I've actually made a version of soft mints with, believe it or not, mashed potatoes! Works surprisingly well, especially if you don't tell anyone what's in the mints. No one ever guesses mashed potatoes are the main ingredient. And since instant potatoes are so inexpensive, you can make a huge number of them, say for a wedding, at a reasonable price.

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