Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tirol Strawberry Shortcake

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This little chocolat permeated the whole bag of Tirol chocolates in the variety pack. There were more of these (x6) than any other flavour.

Even while I was typing this post, the chocolate that is sitting on the dining table can be smelled from 2 metres away. Now that's strong!

The packaging is cute and has a little clip art like image of a shortcake on the front. The chocolate itself is 2-toned. White chocolate on the top and strawberry chocolate below.

Biting into this chocolate reveals a biscuit centre. I'm a big fan of strawberry chocolate and I really like this. There is the creamy milky flavour of the white chocolate and the tart strawberry underneath. When eaten together they mix and create a really nice taste in my mouth, topped off with a crunch. The ending is a slightly sour strawberry flavour but it's not too sour and delivers a very nice finish.

I'm really glad there are 6 of these in the pack!!

Tirol Chocolate Almond

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I ordered a Variety Pack of assorted Tirol chocolates from J-list and the package arrived today. There are meant to be 27 chocolates in the pack, but I got 28. The spread of chocolates is not even either.

There are:
Chocolate Almond x 4
Strawberry Shortcake x 6
Nama Milk x 4
Chocolate x 5
Bis Milk Choco x 5
White & Cookie Crunch x 4

All of which I will review over the next few days.

The Chocolate Almond packaging is cute, and looks like an American flag and has a little almond guy poking his head over the side.

The smell that hit me when I opened the wrapper was of sweet sweet milk chocolate. I can smell the almond though, and when I bit into the chocolate I discovered a whole almond inside.

The chocolate has a good nutty flavour but is very very sweet with a dark chocolate flavour underneath. It ends on a slightly bitter note. This is quite a nice chocolate if you can get past the inital sweetness.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cisco Apple Pie Biscuits

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Image from Cisco website

The image of the apple pie on this packet caught my eye, it looks yummy. On a whim I bought it. $3.95 for 110grams.

The inside of the packet smells like there is an applie pie in there! It smells like freshly baked apples.

Each biscuit is about 2cm round and has a light glaze with a few specs of sugar. It doesn't smell like anything but when you bite into it, you immediately get the flavour of apples and cinnamon, and combined with the texture of the biscuit it tastes like I'm eating apple pie!

I thought these would be another failure but they are indeed yummy!

Yasu and I thought these would even be good with icecream or with some cream poured over the top, and we both couldn't stop eating them.

These would be really good if you couldn't get the real thing for whatever reason. They make a great after-dinner dessert just by themselves.

The maker, Cisco, is actually a subsidiary of Nissin and they make a lot of cookie products, plus chocolate, cereals and snacks. I also found another kind of biscuit that they make, hotcake cookies, which I have seen in the same store that I bought these but passed up because I didn't think they would be any good. I guess I will have to go back and get those and find out, now that these have been such a success.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Morinaga Milk Cocoa

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I came across this small 150 gram box of Morinaga Milk Cocoa in my local Japanese supermarket. For $3.35 I thought it wasn't too much of a risk if I didn't like it, it's a small box and so not much wastage.

The front of the package has an announcement that says "30th Anniversary" and "Oishisa up" or in other words they've upped up the level of flavour. It also has the slogan "Cocoa is Morinaga" in small print above the cup of cocoa.

The cocoa is sealed in a foil bag that is folded over underneath to fit in the box. Upon cutting the top I got a whiff of chocolate cocoa, and it smelled quite nice.

To make hot cocoa you need three small teaspoons heaped of cocoa and 120 mls of hot milk. As Yasu was also having some I heated up 240mls of milk. It didn't take very long on our gas stove. I poured the milk into the cups and whisked it all together with a small whisker.

The effect was a cocoa with a nice creamy froth on top.

I did not add any sugar, nor did I need to. It was chocolatey, sweet, and creamy but not overpowering. I suppose that if you wanted to make it stronger you could add more cocoa in the cup.

I didn't expect to like this cocoa but I became a big fan very quickly. Yasu also loved it and asked for another cup! This can also be made as an iced drink.

I guess the slogan is true, Cocoa IS Morinaga!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Nanae Sweet Apple Wine Caramel 七重スイートリンゴワイン キャラメル

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In the past I have tried some unusual Japanese caramels like Genghis Khan and Vermont Curry. I actually liked them, but most people didn't, especially Yasu.

When I saw this product of Hakodate - Nanae Sweet Apple Wine - in caramel form, I just had to try it.

Nanae Town (七重) is a popular tourist destination on the Oshima Peninsula, just near Hakodate.

Some interesting facts about Nanae:

- Nanae was the first place in Hokkaido to start foreign exchange
- There are many Haiku written about Lake Onuma, one of the two lakes in the area.
- There are 9 festivals in the area throughout the year
- Recommended foods to eat in the area are Fried Pond Smelt (?), Pond Smelt boiled in soy sauce, Apple wine, the local Sake, and Apple pie.

But enough about the history and tourism, onto the tasting.

Each box of caramel has 18 individually wrapped pieces.

The box really smells like apple, and I'm glad to say, it is small and does not create alot of waste with packaging. So that's a good start.

The caramel is slightly harder than a hi-chew candy, but has give when you bite into it.

The first notes are sweetness and a flavour of apple juice. As I chew more I get a slightly caramel flavour, then some salt, followed by sweetness. For some reason, I get a slight aroma of fried onions at the back of my throat, though it's not unpleasant, more savoury than anything. At the end I get a slight tart taste, I guess, that is from real apple wine (1%), contained in this caramel, though it is fleeting and gives way to sweetness once again.

This caramel is not overly apple, nor wine, but it does give hints of both. I thoroughly enjoyed this caramel because it is not overdone.

It gives you a feeling as to what the real apple wine might be like. I'd really like to try the real thing, but since I can't, I'll stick to my apple wine caramels.

The wine on the front of the box is an actual product made by the Hakodate Winery (site is in Japanese only). Looking at the website they also sell Sweet Melon Wine and Sweet Peach wine.

If you visit this site, you can see the other caramels made by the company who made these. Some of them looking pretty interesting too! I can see a few for future posts, maybe.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jasmine Tea Kit Kat

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I'll admit, I'm not a fan of Jasmine Tea. I did love the Houjicha Kit Kat, but somehow I didn't expect to like this one.

This Kit Kat is milk chocolate, like the Houjicha, but it has a very strong smell of Jasmine, almost as if it were a hand cream or moisturiser. I really didn't expect that.

The milk chocolate is creamy and has a mild taste of Jasmine, which builds up, but it is not overly sweet. I think it's more the fragrance building up at the back of my throat which gives me the idea of 'sweetness'.

I must admit, before I reviewed this, I ate it when it was cold from the fridge, and I hated it.

But now, I'm trying it at room temperature and the flavour is so much different! Before it tasted like a bad perfume mixed with chocolate but now it tastes like a master chef has mixed Jasmine flowers and chocolate into a wonderfully creamy potion. It's like a garden party in my mouth. I can smell the vibrant spring day, lively chatter, and endless cups of tea being poured under the Jasmine trees.

I keep going back for more, I can't resist! This has to be one of my favourite flavours yet! Sorry I doubted you Nestle...

Maccha Tiramisu Kit Kat

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The much talked about Maccha Tiramisu Kit Kat. Well, it had some high expectations to meet.

It consists of a single finger wrapped and sold individually, and I bought mine from eBay for $2 each (rip off!), I later saw them being sold at J-list for $0.75 each. Oh well.

The stick smells largely of sweet white chocolate. It's a light green colour, but mostly all you can smell is the white chocolate.

The outer chocolate tastes of maccha, and while I expected there to be some coffee flavour inside the wafers there was none. I'm not sure what's going on here. I was of the view Tiramisu was coffee flavoured? So why is this Kit Kat Maccha Tiramisu? It should be named Maccha.

I tried eating all the outside chocolate off first, and then eating the wafers. The problem is that the colour of the cream inside the wafers is green too, and nary a taste of coffee.

How disappointing! False advertising Nestle. This is NOT Tiramisu.

A nice Maccha flavour Kit Kat but sadly, that's all it is.

Meiji White Chocolate

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This bar was part of Yasu's Easter gift and he generously shared it with me for a review.

At the regular price of $3.99 this is not very good value. I'm guessing its double the price it would retail for in Japan (about 198 yen).

The bar is very flat, .5 cm high. The bar is portioned into small rectangles that are easy to break off and have the word Meiji stamped onto them.


This chocolate smells like Vanilla with a hint of creaminess. It melts very easily, that could be though because it's so thin.

The first taste is vanilla, and then an almost buttery flavour, followed by a bit of saltiness. After that it gets sweet, but ends on a salty note.

This chocolate is good in that it doesn't have that throat-burning sweetness that alot of white chocolate has. I also like the vanilla and salt notes, they are evenly balanced and don't take over.

I would buy this again for a treat. I definitely recommend it to those who stay away from white chocolate because of its sweetness.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chocoball Salt Vanilla チョコボール 塩バニラ

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This small box of Chocoball was a part of a giftbag of Easter chocolate I gave to Yasu this year. As Yasu loves white chocolate and Chocoball in general, I didn't hesitate in buying this at the Japanese supermarket for $2.00. It is a little bit more expensive than normal but I figured it may turn out to be a very interesting flavour.

First Nestle Japan ran the salty chocolate theme with their French Rock Salt & White Chocolate Kit Kat around the middle of last year, now many other Japanese sweets are jumping on the bandwagon, the latest to be Chocoball.

Unfortunately, my high expectations were not met. The balls themselves are small, round, and quite glossy, like they have been given a polishing before being inserted into the box. The box smells creamy and sweet but the outside of the ball tastes like nothing. I could have been sucking on a marble, the texture and taste was probably the same. (I say that because I can't remember sucking on a marble, but if I were to suck on one I would expect it to be the same as this).

When the gloss melted away the chocolate emerged mildly creamy and vaguely sweet. It didn't have that super sweet white chocolate taste that I expected. The ball inside was very malty and did not really have a lot of salt. You get more salt flavour if you crunch down on the ball rather than sucking off the coating.

All in all this was a big disappointment for me. Neither of the two flavours shone through, and it was like an effort in mildness. If you want to enjoy white chocolate without the screaming sweetness and you love a bit of malt then this Chocoball would be for you.

Yasu was happy with it, but I suspect if it had white chocolate on the outside and worms on the inside he would still be happy with it. No matter how lame it is, if it's white chocolate, he's there.

I do love my white chocolate and I would rather have throat-burning sweet than no taste at all.