Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hershey's Miniatures Mint Collection

Mint Collection

Apparently, these have been around for years, and I either don't remember them or never saw them at all, but this year, they are new to me. I usually don't choose Hershey's chocolate, but it's limited edition, so I felt compelled.

If you haven't already, I recommend reading Cybele's reviews on and articles about the reformulation of Hershey's chocolate. For example, here's one about the standard Hershey's Miniatures. She's done a lot of delving into the situation, and it's very interesting, to say the least. I can only assume that these Mint Miniatures were affected, too.

Mint White Creme

First, I tried the Mint White Creme. If this were a beauty contest, this would be the hands-down winner! It's so festive! But unfortunately, the white chocolate was chalky. The mint was nice, and it reminded me of those pastel meltaway mints with sprinkles, but the white chocolate wasn't creamy enough. At least it was pretty! B-

Mint Sweet Chocolate

Next up was the Mint Sweet Chocolate. I used to like Hershey Special Dark, but lately, it tastes pretty bland. It wasn't much better with mint. The chocolate itself was grainy, and it didn't really go with the Special Dark taste too terribly well. A York Peppermint Patty would be a much more pleasing dark/mint treat. My husband liked this one, though. C-

Mint Milk Chocolate

Finally, I tried the Mint Milk Chocolate. Surprisingly, this was the best of the bunch for me. It had a mint taste reminiscent of an Andes mint, but again, had a chalky texture. The flavor was good, but I wish the chocolate was smoother. My father also liked this one best. B

Overall, these were pretty unremarkable. I can't say any of them tasted bad, but I certainly wouldn't buy them again. It was the texture that really got me, since all of them were grainy or chalky. Maybe that can be blamed on the temperature when I tasted them, though, so I'd be interested in hearing what other people think of these.


Hershey's Website (English)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nestle Caramel Macchiato McFlurry KitKat

Caramel Macchiato McFlurry KitKat

Has there ever been a KitKat with a longer name? I bought some of these KitKats while in Japan, and the package says it's a collaboration with McDonalds (hence the McFlurry part of the name). But right away, I knew this wouldn't be the KitKat for me. I'm not a huge fan of coffee-flavored things, even though I love coffee. However, with Japanese KitKats, I feel that I have an obligation to taste them.

The box boasts of a "delicate aroma and milky flavor" but the whiff I got when I opened the package was not at all delicate. Like many caramel KitKats of late, my first impression was a strong smell of caramel. I didn't pick up on the coffee or on any ice cream scent. My expectations were pretty low at that point.

Caramel Macchiato McFlurry KitKat

It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I'm a sucker for pretty chocolate, and I do love a swirly looking KitKat. The coffee taste was very much in the background, with the exception of a few bites. It could have been my imagination, but I think the darker swirls in the white chocolate had a stronger coffee flavor. For the most part, the taste was a chemical-y caramel.

The white chocolate itself was creamy and decent (not chalky), and I finished one of the two sticks before my throat started to burn from the sweetness. With some bites having more coffee flavor than others, it seemed inconsistent, and they might as well have left off the McFlurry part, campaign be darned.

So, this isn't in the running for favorite KitKat by any stretch of the imagination, but at least it was better than Muscat of Alexandria (review coming soon). I was a little too kind when reviewing this last night, so as of 11/28, the rating has changed...again. Japanese Snack Reviews also has a review of this KitKat.


KitKat Website (Japanese)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Morinaga Koeda Deep Matcha

Deep Matcha

Yet another box of sweets from my recent trip to Japan! These were purchased at a grocery store in Osaka about a block from my hostel. On a side note, I'd definitely recommend staying at that hostel (J-Hoppers) if you are traveling on a budget! My husband and I both found the beds comfortable, the rooms quiet and clean, and the location very convenient. But back to the chocolate...

Basically, these are chocolate covered matcha sticks. Koeda means twig, and I suppose that's a more picturesque description. The matcha part has a crispy texture, possibly from rice. There was also a chestnut flavor, but I gave those away to a friend, so sadly, I have no idea what they taste like. In any case, I find the packaging to be pretty and even classy. Who doesn't love classy chocolate? You can see from the picture of the box (which wasn't photographed very well, I apologize) that the outer layer is chocolate and inside is matcha white chocolate and (presumably) crisp rice.

Koeda Matcha Sticks

The box contains several bags (6-8, I can't remember), each containing two twigs. The whole box has over 20 grams of fat, so it's definitely a "pace yourself" kind of sweet. Pacing myself was not easy, however, because these are delicious! The matcha taste is just right, and the smooth chocolate melts with the crispiness so well. They were not too sweet, but not bitter, either. I was so sad when they were gone and will be asking my Japanese friend to bring more when she visits this winter.

In the past, I have used these as an edible garnish for matcha ice cream because I find them so delicate and pretty. They also tasted good cold. I could eat these forever. Again, I may be biased. It seems a lot of my matcha reviews are As...


Morinaga Website (Japanese)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Morinaga Strawberry Yogurt Hi-Chew

NOTE: Kelly has informed me that Morinaga has issued a recall on some flavors of Hi-chew, as they may contain pieces of rubber gloves. Here's an English article about it, which contains a link to a Japanese article. The flavors being recalled are grape and green apple with expiration dates in June 2009. Thanks to Kelly, and please take care, everyone.

Strawberry Yogurt Hi-chew

I am a big fan of Hi-chew. The texture is great, and to date, there has only been one flavor (out of at least 10) that I have tried and not liked. That flavor was watermelon, by the way, and it tasted like cucumber. I like cucumber, but not in chewy candy form. Anyhow, I found some of my notes on this flavor and thought I should post the review.

The packaging is cute and fun, as usual, and caught my eye. I didn't buy this, though, a friend of mine did and she gave me a few so I could review them. This is how I get a lot of my candy.

Strawberry Yogurt Hi-chew

Strawberry yogurt (the real thing) is delicious, and even though these weren't quite as delicious, they were pretty good. The strawberry flavor was nice and tart and pretty authentic. The yogurty sourness was also good, but I think I'd rather have plain strawberry Hi-Chew, if given the choice.


Morinaga Website (Japanese)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Meiji Dark Rum Meltykiss

Dark Rum Meltykiss

Dark Rum Meltykiss was one of the first treats I bought in Japan (along with Pure Blueberry gummies) from the Lawson near our hotel. As I've said many times, I'm a sucker for limited edition and new candies, so I couldn't pass these up. I'm also a huge fan of Meltykiss.

These are special for winter, and I think there were two other flavors available: strawberry and maybe a regular milk chocolate. I can't remember. Anyhow, Dark Rum sounded the most interesting, so my husband and I chose that one. Inside the box, the chocolates came individually wrapped in lovely metallic purple wrappers.

As usual with Meltykiss, there is a thin coating of cocoa powder on the outside of the chocolate (not nearly as uniform as the picture on the box). The first taste was a nice rum flavor, not overly strong but the taste of alcohol was definitely there. After that, as the chocolate melted, it was pretty much the usual smooth Meltykiss milk chocolate. Very tasty, but the rum flavor was mostly gone.

In any case, my husband and I both liked them, as did the friends who tried these. However, if you don't like candy that tastes like alcohol, you won't care for these.


Meiji Website (Japanese)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nestle Kyoto Edition Matcha KitKat

Kyoto Matcha KitKat

At the train station and souvenir shops in Kyoto, it felt like I was in heaven. Matcha was everywhere! Kyoto is famous for matcha, so it makes sense. In any case, I picked up this pretty box of Uji Matcha KitKats...for myself. Like the Soy Sauce KitKat box, it was designed to be a gift. Don't worry, I shared some.

Kyoto Matcha KitKat

The box says "Fastidious Uji Matcha." Uji is a city known for matcha, and fastidious is the best translation I could come up with. I guess maybe "authentic" would be a better word? In any case, it's definitely matcha.

Kyoto Matcha KitKat

I don't know what to say as far as a review, because these are exactly the same as the last matcha KitKat I reviewed, only in a 15 pack of miniatures. They are delicious, creamy, rich, and strong. Highly recommended for fans of matcha sweets.


KitKat Website (Japanese)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tirol Pumpkin Tart

Pumpkin Tart

The biggest reason my husband and I went to Japan was to visit with one of my best friends. She lives in Kyoto, but she was an exchange student at my university a few years ago, and was a bridesmaid in my wedding last year. Sometimes we send each other candy or clothes from our respective countries, so I get a lot of candy recommendations from her, and one of her favorite things is Tirol chocolate!

Tirol chocolates are small, cheap, and cute. Some kinds are better than others, but like many other Japanese candies, there are always new, limited edition kinds to try. I bought this Pumpkin Tart flavor at a Lawson convenience store for about 40 yen, I think, and it's a "Premium" Tirol chocolate. I think that just means it's bigger than the normal size. Also, the Jack-o-Lantern on the wrapper suggests that this flavor is a limited edition for Halloween.

Pumpkin Tart

Oddly enough, my friend who loves Tirol chocolate hates pumpkin, so she passed on this one. To me, the pumpkin flavored white chocolate wasn't very strong or spicy. It just had a hint of pumpkin and cinnamon. I really like pumpkin treats to taste like pumpkin pie with whipped cream, but that's probably a little too rich for Tirol.

Inside the chocolate, there was a little cookie. I'm guessing that was the "tart" part. It was crunchy and more savory than sweet, and it added a great texture. Tirol chocolates often have great textures; many are made with mochi (pounded rice) centers. In fact, check out Orchid64's Japanese Snack Reviews for a great review of another Tirol chocolate (Kinako Mochi) that was available at the same time as this one. She also has a review of this one!

I liked the Pumpkin Tart, but do wish the chocolate had been a bit richer and spicier. Of course, pumpkin pie as I know it isn't really a Japanese taste, so I'll take this chocolate as it is.


Tirol Chocolate website (Japanese)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nestle Blueberry Cheesecake and Strawberry Cheesecake KitKats

KitKat Singles

Fianlly, another recent candy review. It's KitKats again, but I got these at a convenience store during my recent trip to Japan. These are single serving packets, and I paid about 40 yen for each.

Both are white chocolate KitKats, and neither had a particularly strong flavor. Neither tastes much like cheesecake, either, except for a hint of tartness.

The strawberry one tasted like very artificial strawberry, but maybe that was just the tartness. It definitely wasn't as good as other strawberry KitKats but it wasn't bad. Pretty forgettable.

The blueberry one was better! At first, the blueberry taste was very weak, but as I ate, it got stronger and was tasty. I haven't had any other blueberry KitKats, so I can't really compare it to anything, but I liked this one much more than the strawberry.

I like the single serving KitKats, but there is a bit of a mark-up. I also saw solo KitKats in Canada, but I think they were a little longer than these. For another take on these KitKats, check out the review at Japanese Snack Reviews.

Strawberry: B-
Blueberry: B+

KitKat Website (Japanese)

Nestle Strawberry KitKat

Strawberry KitKat

Here is another Japanese KitKat review. I've caught the Japanese KitKat bug, and there are several more on deck, including new ones from my recent trip to Japan. This review is about an older KitKat.

To be specific, this is not just a strawberry KitKat, it's a Tochiotome Strawberry KitKat. I don't know if there's a translation for that or not, but it's a variety of strawberry in Japan. I believe they are grown in Tochigi prefecture in Japan. Maybe that's where Tochi comes from, and otome means maiden.

Strawberry KitKat

The KitKat is a milky pink, as is most strawberry chocolate. I don't know that it tasted different from other Japanese strawberry chocolate, but it was smooth, creamy, tart, and flavorful. The strawberry flavor went really well with the wafers, and it was altogether tasty!

If you like strawberry chocolate, I'm sure you'd like this KitKat. It's no longer available, but it's only a matter of time before Nestle puts another one on the market.


KitKat Website (Japanese)

Nestle Fragrant Black Tea KitKat

Black Tea KitKat

Continuing with my recent theme of Japanese snacks, here's another KitKat review I've been lazy about posting. October was a busy month, so I kind of let candy blogging get put on the back burner.

As far as I know, there were four different flavors released in this series of wider, more filling/less cracker KitKats. This is my third, and since these are no longer being made, I doubt I will ever try the fourth. The fourth is an apple flavor, though, so I'm not too upset. Fruity KitKats are not my favorites, with the exception of orange. Actually, there may be a fifth variety of this kind of KitKat that is orange, but I'm not sure if it came out at the same time.

Black Tea KitKat

Anyhow, the KitKat pictured above is called "Fragrant Black Tea" and it certainly was. The chocolate coating is smooth, as always. As for the filling, it was the bitterest KitKat I have ever tasted. It was much stronger in flavor than any KitKat I've ever tried. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it was a little weird. Delicious, but weird.

I liked this KitKat, but it's not a new favorite. It was definitely a fun tasting experience, especially if you enjoy tea. It really tastes like black tea, and it doesn't taste like a rehash of an old KitKat.


KitKat Website (Japanese)

Nestle Gianduja KitKat

Gianduja (Hazelnut Paste) KitKat

Before this KitKat, I had never heard the word "Gianduja" before in my life. Wikipedia tells me that it is "a sweet chocolate containing about 50% hazelnut paste" that is similar to Nutella.

I'm not a huge fan of Nutella, so I was a little wary of this one, but my husband loves the stuff, so he was very excited. This is another KitKat that has more filling and less cracker, but unlike the matcha version, this one worked.

Gianduja (Hazelnut Paste) KitKat

The hazelnut flavor wasn't strong, but it was very pleasant and just strong enough to give the cream a flavor. Both the chocolate coating and the chocolate/hazelnut cream were smooth, rich, and melty. It made for a very pleasant KitKat.

Unlike the matcha version where the green tea flavor was missing, the hazelnut flavor here was just enough. I'm sure I would have liked it more if I was more of a hazelnut lover. My husband really enjoyed it, though.


KitKat Website (Japanese)

Meiji Blueberry White Chocolate

Blueberry White Chocolate

All over my apartment, I have scrap pieces of paper with tasting notes. This review is for chocolate that I ate a while ago, but I thought since I have the pictures, I should post a review.

I love Meiji chocolate. They do flavored white chocolate very well, especially green tea flavored. A few months back, I reviewed Blueberry Apollo, and this one is pretty similar.

Meiji Blueberry White Chocolate

The chocolates are very pretty, and again come individually wrapped. Like the Apollo, it has the "Meiji Hokkaido Label" from the Hokkaido factory. These are labeled as blueberry and yogurt flavor, but they tasted very similar to the Apollo, which were not promoted to contain yogurt.

The texture of the white chocolate was a little to flaky at first, but it melted well to a smooth consistency. The blueberry flavor melded well with the white chocolate, but it didn't really knock me out. I think I liked the Apollo better just because of the novelty of the shape.

So, these were tasty, but not exceptional. I don't even know if they are still being made, but Meiji recently put out a lavender flavored version of the same kind of chocolate. I'll have to try to get my hands on it.


Meiji Website (Japanese)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Nestle Soy Sauce KitKat

Soy Sauce KitKat

I spent the last part of October and the first couple days of November in Japan with my husband. What a vacation! I'm still jet-lagged as I type this, but I'm trying very hard to get back on my local time schedule. Anyhow, I thought I'd do a little blogging to help me stay awake.

Here we have the Tokyo only limited edition Soy Sauce KitKat. This is pretty much the weirdest sounding KitKat in the world. I bought this one at Tokyo station just before catching my train. They also had a kinako (toasted soybean flour) flavor, which sounded a lot better, but I couldn't find it and I was in a hurry.

Soy Sauce KitKat

The packaging is very stylish and fancy, as this is meant to be a gift (おみやげ). In Japan, most regions are known for some kind of snack or food, and it's common to bring those things back for other people when you visit that particular place. I don't know if Tokyo is known for soy sauce, but they had a matcha version in Kyoto, so maybe.

I had read about this flavor before leaving for my vacation, so I knew what to expect. Not to be anti-climactic, but I can confirm what everyone else says: it tastes like maple syrup. I could go on and on about how nasty the flavor sounds, but the truth is, they don't taste like soy sauce. They might have had a slight soy aftertaste, but that might have just been my imagination.

The bars are white chocolate, and a little smaller than the normal KitKat double-stick. The box contains 12 mini bars. I've seen these special regional KitKat boxes for anywhere from 700 to 900 yen, so they are a little pricey.

If you were expecting a fun tasting experience, prepare yourself for disappointment. At least they don't taste bad, even if I secretly wanted them to. All in all, if you like maple syrup, you'll like these. Maybe they should repackage them and sell them in Canada or Vermont.

Check out other reviews: The Impulsive Buy, The AV Club, Pretty Pretty Yum Yum, Hamburger Calculus, and Jen's Kit Kat Blog. PHEW!


KitKat Website (Japanese)