Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fujiya LOOK Italian Dolce

First, I hope all readers living in Japan are all right after the horrible earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear instability, and that those with friends and family in Japan have made contact with them. Thankfully, my friends and coworkers in Japan are all right, as many of them live south of the devastated areas. My heart and thoughts are with those who were not so lucky. It will probably be a long time before the damage to the country can really be assessed.

LOOK Italian Dolce

Chocolate and chocolate reviews are definite mood boosters, so I'll get right back on track. Even though I posted reviews of other LOOK assortments first, this is the first LOOK assortment I tried after my long LOOK boycott.

The package contained four flavors: Tiramisu, Mont Bianco, Espresso Mousse, and Delectica Limone. I think that last one is basically a lemon tart. I've always been wary of coffee and espresso flavored candy, but it has been growing on me lately.

LOOK Italian Dolce

Delizia Limone seemed like my safest bet, so I started with that. The milk chocolate coating was sticky, but the lemon cream center was tart and cakey with crunchy candy bits. It was really tasty, and my favorite of the bunch.

Espresso Mousse had a good, slightly bitter espresso flavor and a truffle-like filling, but it didn't wow me like the lemon flavor did. Again, the milk chocolate was sticky and sweet, but the bitter-sweet balance was all right.

LOOK Monte Bianco

Mont Bianco was delicious with a delicate chestnut flavor. It wasn't too sweet or too subtle, and it had a very refined feel. It was a close second favorite!

Tiramisu was my husband's favorite. Of all the tiramisu chocolates I've tried recently, it was probably the best. Though sweeter that the other flavors in the pack, the mascarpone cheese flavor was just right, and the milky, creamy center was delicious.

To sum it up, if you can still find this LOOK assortment, get it! Here are reviews from Japanese Snack Reviews and Sweets Blog.


Fujiya LOOK website

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tirol White Strawberry and Strawberry Tart Choco


These two Tirol flavors, while both strawberry-related, did not come from the same collection. The White Strawberry came in a box shaped like a large Tirol chocolate (love when they do that), and it was the only flavor included. I can't remember ever having a white strawberry, but I read a bit about pineberries (hybrid strawberry-like berries that taste a bit like pineapple). I'm not sure if they are the same fruit, but it was an interesting read.

Strawberry Tart Choco came in this year's Ichigo ga Ippai collection. Since at least 2009, Tirol has brought out a strawberry-themed variety pack with some repeats and usually at least one new flavor. Have a look at my reviews of the 2009 and 2010 editions, if you like. This time, there was only one new flavor, so I thought I'd combine it with the standalone strawberry.

Tirol White Strawberry

White Strawberry had an intense strawberry smell when unwrapped. The top inner layer was a thin strawberry gel, which was tart and authentically fruity. Some pieces leaked strawberry gel into their wrappers, adhering the chocolate to the paper - the strawberry flavor was noticeably less intense when this happened. The inner marshmallow layer nice, pillowy texture and a slight sweetness. The white chocolate shell was cool on the tongue and extremely sweet. There were a couple strawberry seeds embedded in the chocolate, but they didn't add much - just a hint of a crunch like the real fruit.

I liked the flavor of the strawberry gel and the texture of the marshmallow very much, but the white chocolate was just too sweet and cloying. Eating them with strong black tea helped to lessen the powerful sweetness, but the white chocolate tarnished an otherwise delicious Tirol. The strawberry flavor was delicious, so I had no trouble finishing the box, but I wish they had been less sweet.



Strawberry Tart Choco had an ever-so-slightly soapy scent and flavor, but the texture was great. The white chocolate shell reminded me of strawberry yogurt, and it wasn't intensely sweet. Inside the chocolate, there was an extra crunchy, flaky biscuit with strawberry-flavored crystals on top. Those crystals were tart and had a nice, authentic flavor and a neat crunch that reminded me of freeze-dried fruit.

This flavor also had seeds embedded in the chocolate, and again, they didn't seem to add much to the experience. I suppose they added to the authenticity, but they really just got stuck in my teeth later. Still, this was my favorite out of the two strawberry flavors in this review, and probably my favorite in the strawberry variety pack.


Tirol Website

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cachet Vanuatu

Cachet Vanuatu

The brand Hageland (which I really enjoy) seems to be called Cachet now, but the packaging looks the same. I found this bar when looking for a baby shower card at a local superstore. I never thought to look in the greeting card aisle for chocolate, but there it was.

Cachet has a wide variety of "Limited Origin" chocolate bars from milk chocolates in the 30% range to very dark at 80%. The beans in this bar were from Vanuatu, an archipelago over 1000 miles east of northern Australia.

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The bar had a strong cocoa smell with a bit of smokiness. The flavor was rich and just slightly bitter, with a wonderful hint of toasty caramel. Though I usually prefer darker than 44% cocoa, this bar was quite delicious.

The back of the box mentioned hints of coffee (along with spice, caramel, and smoke), but I wasn't refined enough to taste the coffee. Still, I was very pleased with the bar, especially since it was only $2.


Hageland Website