Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Heart Apollo

2 comments
Apollo is one of those great Japanese chocolates that has been around for years and is ever popular with kids. It was one of the first Japanese chocolates I ever tasted, and it has continued to be a favourite of mine.

Imagine my delight when a friend of mine in Japan included this box of Heart Apollo in a care package she sent to me! This box of Heart Apollo I was told, was brought out to celebrate Mother's Day in Japan.

The box is really sweetly decorated, and the Apollo themselves are in the shape of hearts (when looking from above). The only thing that bothers me about this box of chocolates is the packaging. The box makes it seem like you are getting alot, when in fact there are only 8 individually wrapped Apollo chocolates. They are bigger than normal, but one individual wrap could fit two Apollo inside. The box is large enough to accomodate twice the size, so it is abit annoying to find such a small amount inside.

The box says 47 grams, but I think half of that we could safely say is the cardboard box and wrapping.

Each chocolate wrapper has a message in English on it. There are four themes:

Thanks
Love
Happiness
Cheer

I did not get any wrappers that said Cheer in my box. The variety of chocolate is also not even. There are 4 strawberry, 2 banana, and 2 vanilla. In terms of messages I got 4 good luck, 3 happy, and one thanks.

Each chocolate is 2 cm wide x 2 cm high. Each has a very strong scent.



Strawberry

Looks like the original Apollo but bigger. It also has flecks of strawberry in the chocolate. It tastes like strawberry mousse with tart strawberry sherbert. The milk chocolate is creamy, but has some bitterness, reminscent of dark chocolate.

Banana

Out of all the chocolates this one smells the strongest. I found that the banana chocolate broke off the top of the milk chocolate at the bottom join, making me realise that they were made in two separate molds and stuck together. The banana flavour tastes like overripe bananas with a hint of vanilla, and a vague tartness not unlike the strawberry Apollo. The milk chocolate is a bit waxy, but seems more buttery.

Vanilla

This smells like a vanilla candle. The chocolate has flecks of vanilla bean. A very light flavour of vanilla icecream here, but the chocolate is waxy, so I felt like I actually was eating a vanilla candle. The milk chocolate is waxy but tastes alot more like cocoa.

It's interesting to note how the top flavour affects the milk chocolate below. I like the strawberry the best, only because it's very close to the original and has no funky waxy chocolate. I like the taste of the banana, but I'm not keen on the vanilla.

It was an interesting idea from Meiji, but probably best to keep it to limited edition sales.
I would like to know if anyone else out there tried this and what they thought about it.

For anyone who is interested, you can get free downloads for Apollo at http://www.meiji.co.jp/sweets/okashi-land/download/index.html and a Meiji character directory is here. They seem to have a lot of fun online activities for children.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Melon 'n Cream Mentos

0 comments

Interesting to note that Mentos are made by Cadbury Japan in Holland.

This type of Mentos is called n' cream and the flavour is Melon. The latest version seems to be Caramel n' Cream.

I was expecting the colour of the dragees to be green and white, but all of them are a creamy off-white colour.

They have no particular smell. The moment I put it in my mouth I tasted a very matcha-like flavour which was odd, which then became a fake cream flavour like in hard boiled lollies. I don't like it very much. As I sucked the dragee, the melon flavour became apparent, somewhere near the chewy centre. It tastes like a rockmelon. The inside is quite hard at first and hard to chew. Unfortunately, near the end is a very sour chemical taste on the end of the melon flavour which was really horrible.

I couldn't stand to eat any more of these and I'm hoping I can dump them on Yasu, or he can take them to work and dump them on his workers.

I don't recommend these unless you like eating hard chewy chemical flavour dragees.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sangaria Muscat Soda

2 comments
Muscat is a type of grape that is widely grown for wine, raisins and for the table. The colour ranges from white, to light green, and black. Despite not being grown in Japan they are a popular ingredient in beverages and candy.

This bottle of Muscat Soda by Sangaria has been in my fridge for the better part of a month. The weather has been quite cold here in Perth and I really didn't feel like having a cold soda, so I left it sitting there. Today I thought I would brave the cold for a taste of something a little different.

I myself, am quite a fan of Muscat, and discovered it only the first time I went to Japan in 2004. Before that I had no idea about Muscat existing, and only now in Australia, is it starting to become popular.

The colour of the soda is a light green colour and the scent is truly Muscat. When poured it was quite fizzy, and still maintained that fizz up to 20 minutes later. The first taste is a slight Muscat flavour, followed by a crisp almost bitter taste of alcohol. Though there is no alcohol present, Yasu and I both thought this tasted like a light, sparkling wine. The colour and fizz could also pass for one.



The soda is not overly sweet, and the Muscat is not overpowing, but mixed in with the crispness of the grape taste. I don't drink alot of alcohol, so I would definitely think of taking this to my next outing with adults, since my friends can't read Japanese, they wouldn't know it was only soda!

If you happen to see this around, I recommend you try it out. It truly is a nice foray into Japanese beverages, and something a little bit different from the average soda.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Apple Vinegar Kit Kat

0 comments
I got this at the same time as the Lemon Vinegar Kit Kat, in a box of goodies from Japan.

Apple Vinegar has well known healing properties, probably mostly from Chinese medicine. It can shrink gall stones, it is a digestive enzyme (aids digestion), it can be put on burns - when applied reduces the burn and scarring, helps reduce cellulite appearance, helps allergies, and stomach flu, and probably many more!

Is it any wonder then why the Japanese followed China's lead and now regularly consume this on a daily basis? Yasu has this every day as a general health tonic, and as a consequence, he is always healthy, and hasn't had a cold for 6 months, ever since he started taking it.

Some people find the taste of Apple Vinegar to be too sour, but I love it. I think the Apple flavour is much more pronounced when mixed with vinegar.

So imagine my delight when I found that Nestle Japan had released Apple Vinegar Kit Kat!

It comes in a box of 2 packets containing 2 fingers. The chocolate is white but with a yellow tint. The yummy smell of red apple wafted up to my nose as I opened the packet.

The chocolate itself is a bit salty, then sweet, followed by the apple cream in the wafers. The outside of the wafers is where the vinegar is. It is not overly sour, it's more like a Granny Smith Apple, than vinegar. The vinegar is present only at the very end, followed by a creamy milky taste, which is really refreshing.

I wish I had got more of these. Yasu really loved it too. I love the white chocolate with the apple and vinegar, the sweet and sour are really great flavours combined.

I've heard alot of reviewers on the net giving this the thumbs down, but I am giving it a huge thumbs up. The problem is that they are not familiar with the original taste of apple vinegar, so they are reviewing something that is totally alien to their tastebuds. If you can't imagine the real thing, it's going to be hard to compare.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lemon Vinegar Kit Kat

0 comments
This is the second vinegar flavoured Kit Kat I've seen in the last couple of weeks. The first is the Apple Vinegar Kit Kat.

Lemon and Vinegar are not necessarily two things I have thought of putting together, though they can both be quite sour.

This flavour comes in a bag of mini's. The chocolate is the regular milk chocolate. It smells like Lemon Butter, or similar in smell to the Valentine's Day Kit Kat.

Biting in I get the sweetness of the milk chocolate, then a slight lemon rind sourness, followed by a few dashes of vinegar. What I mean is, that the vinegar flavour is more like an afterthought. There are very small bursts of vinegar at the end, but it is not really as sour as vinegar usually is, but I can tell it's meant to be that.

When eating the Kit Kat separately, I found the vinegar flavour was more concentrated on the wafer, as if it had been coated in the flavour, and the lemon flavour was in the cream.

We both enjoyed this Kit Kat, and look forward to trying the Apple Vinegar.


Yasu is chowing down on my last Kit Kat

Monday, June 15, 2009

Choco & Rose Kit Kat [チョコ & ローズ キットカット]

0 comments

Rose and Chocolate is a flavour that Nestle Japan released that did not make many ripples in the Kit Kat world. I don't know why. It could have been the wrong time of the year, I think Mother's Day would be far more appropriate. But hey, who knows what those flavour guys are thinking at Nestle.

I managed to get 2 mini bars of Rose & Choco from a friend, I couldn't find anyone selling them on ebay, it seems that it wasn't that easy to come by. The packets are pink with light pink roses all over, very sweet.

When I opened the small 2 finger pack, I could only smell the normal chocolate sweetness and a smell of "something else", but it was very vague, and faint. I couldn't smell anything florally, or rosey.

Alot of other reviewers on the net said this tasted like soap to them. To me, not at all. The chocolate itself carries more of a rose scent that starts off in the nose when eating the Kit Kat. It is a very unusual way to experience a chocolate.

However, I really liked the way this Kit Kat smells. The taste is of a regular chocolate Kit Kat, but as I chew it, the smell wafts into my nostrils. It is a very light rose scent, almost as if it were in the air I was breathing.

I thought this Kit Kat is so ingenious! It's almost as if it's a treat for the nose, rather than the mouth.

If you pass this Kit Kat in your travels, don't hesitate in buying it, it's an amazing experience.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hokkaido Lemon Cheesecake Hi-Chew

0 comments
The fact that a product or ingredients in a product are derived from Hokkaido always has some kind of extra sales force in Japan. Hokkaido- land of nature and all things natural. Premium dairy products, fresh fish from the ocean, that sort of thing. It has serious selling capacity.

I picked up this Hi-Chew not because it says "Hokkaido" right across the front over an image of Hokkaido, but because of the flavour - Lemon Cheesecake.

I'm having a bit of a cheesecake craving lately and this just seemed to call me. 'Hmm lemon cheesecake hi-chew, that should be interesting' I thought.

The pack has 12 individually wrapped pieces of chewing candy about 2 x 1 centimetres.

The candy itself is a yellow colour, like a pat of butter. It smells like lemon cheesecake.

The flavour at first is like a lemon tart flavour and then half-way through chewing a dairy like flavour, cheese, then milk, emerges. The lemon tang stays present all the way through with the dairy flavours mixed in. It really is a nice chew. The flavours are strong but not overly sweet. The lemon taste is really nice, and not at all fake. Because it's really chewy, it's hard to imagine you are eating cheesecake. Nevertheless, I think it is a great flavour for Hi-Chew, interesting and different from the usual fruit flavours on offer.

If you see these around and you are a fan of cheesecake, I recommend you pick up a pack!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Through The Break - Sakuranbo (cherry) Kit Kat

0 comments
Yasu started asking me if I had heard about something called "through the break" and I didn't know what he was talking about until I saw this Kit Kat on eBay.

I bought it as a surprise for Yasu. He didn't really know what it was, only that it was popular in Japan. I got it yesterday in a parcel and I gave it to him so he was pretty happy with that, but he hasn't downloaded one of the 3 free mp3's that come with this Kit Kat at the time of writing.

The three mp3's are somewhat blossom related. I think that is why they tie in with the Cherry flavour.

The song's are:

Sakura Million
Merry-Go-Round
Flower of Life

All songs were produced by Jin Nakamura.

The box is perforated down the middle and when you apply pressure on both sides of the line, it breaks apart. "Through the break" you find two individually wrapped packets of Cherry Kit Kat. When you remove the Kit Kats you find the individual code for downloading the song from the website.

It really is a very interesting way to style a product. Not unlike the Valentine's Day Kit Kat.

These wafers are white chocolate but coloured a very light pink like a cherry blossom petal.
They smell like that cough medicine we took as kids when we were sick. Ugh, I hate it.
It's such a strong smell.

The taste is the same as that cough medicine, actually. The chocolate is so overpowered by it. Thankfully after the chocolate melts, the wafers are there, with a nice sweet flavour.

I only ate one finger, I really couldn't stand the flavour or the smell of this Kit Kat. Great idea for marketing, just not a great flavour for the masses. Well, not unless the masses like cherry cough medicine!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Collon Strawberry & Blueberry

0 comments
When I picked up this box I thought it was Blueberry Collon. When I got it home I realised it's strawberry with blueberry mixed in. There is 9.2% strawberry juice, and 2.6% blueberry juice. Why the .2 and .6? Why not round it up to 10 and 3?

There are 6 packets in total in this box. That said, they are really small packets with only 6 collon pieces per pack. Just like the Cheesecake Collon, these are a waste of packaging, and a waste of money for only 24 pieces of Collon.

So why did I buy them? Curiousity about the flavour I guess. I like blueberry and I don't see it used in much confectionery.

The pieces smell very much like the regular strawberry collon. At the beginning there is the taste of strawberry which kind of blends into a light blueberry flavour, that ends with a tart strawberry tang. I quite like this in that the flavours of both berries are light, and blend together well. Each collon is finished off with that tangy burst at the end, which is nice. The outer shell is crunchy but easy to eat.

This snack is really easy to eat because It's not overly sweet and it has that satisfying crunch of the cookie on the outside. I wish there were more than 6 in each small pack though.

I guess these are really good for children's bento boxes in Japan or a small treat to carry in your handbag or such. The box can definitely made smaller and still fit all 6 bags in. I guess this is Glico's way of justifying charging more. I paid $4.95 for this box, compared to the regular size collon at $3.95.