Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Glico Giant Caplico Miracle Beat

Miracle Beat Giant Caplico

I don't know what I was thinking buying this. A year or two ago, I had a matcha Giant Caplico and didn't care for it. I guess the packaging just caught my eye for this one.

The packaging is pretty interesting. It says "Ramune and chocolate are a miracle match!" Basically, the little candies on top are ramune flavored. Ramune, for those who don't know, is a Japanese soda with a citrus flavor, and there are lots of candies with this flavor.

Giant Caplico Landing

Maybe mine was a little old, but those candies weren't nearly as bright as they were on the wrapper. Anyhow, the first thing I noticed is that the thing smelled like an Easter Bunny. A hollow, drugstore Easter Bunny. When I took a bite out of the top, the ramune and chocolate combination was weird, and definitely not a miracle. The ramune was sour, and the chocolate coating was kind of cheap, and the combination was just odd. Also, this is a messy snack. I'm glad I ate it at the table, because there were crumbs everywhere. You can even see crumbs in the picture (oops)!

There were definitely some good parts, though. Under the bizarre chocolate/ramune coating was a layer of aerated vanilla-flavored white chocolate, and a layer of aerated milk chocolate. These were actually pretty good, much better than the chocolate coating. The cake cone was just there for texture, but it sure made things messy. I don't think I'll be buying one of these again, but you never know when attractive packaging will sucker me in.


Glico Website (Japanese)

Dare Viva Puffs Raspberry

Dare Viva Puffs

My boss is very kind. Whenever she goes on a trip, for business or otherwise, she always brings something back for the lab to munch on. Most recently, she went to Ontairo, Canada, and brought us back some cookies. These Viva Puffs were one of the two kinds she shared.

Now, marshmallow fluff is not one of my favorite things. My mother likes it, but it really doesn't do anything for me. So, I didn't have very high expectations for these cookies. I guess that's probably why I liked them.

Raspberry Puff

These were pretty tasty! The marshmallow was soft and fluffy, as it should be. The raspberry filling, despite tasting slightly artificial, was delicate and not too sweet. The "chocolatey" coating was nothing special, but it got the job done.

My favorite part was the graham cracker bottom. It was chewy and soft, and I could have just eaten the cracker and been pleased. All in all, the cookies were enjoyable, but not something I'd look out for on my own. Plus, each cookie had 3 grams of fat, and they weren't very big or filling.


Dare Foods Website

Monday, December 22, 2008

Meiji Matcha Apollo

Matcha Apollo

While in Kyoto a few months ago, I picked up pretty much every matcha sweet I could find (except for hard candy, as it's not my sweet of choice), and I've finished pretty much all of them, but I was saving a couple of these matcha Apollo for later so I could write a review.

I've tried original (strawberry) Apollo, as well as blueberry and cheesecake. A few years ago, my friend sent me some matcha Apollo, but I certainly didn't remember it well enough to write a review. Well, I finally ate the last two chocolates, and I'm ready to review.

Meiji Matcha Apollo

I might have remembered these being better than they actually were. It's not that they aren't good, they're just not great compared to the plethora of marvelous Meiji matcha sweets out there, and not even as good as the other kinds of Apollo I've tried.

The chocolate was a little weak and the matcha flavor was very much in the background. They still tasted good, but they were disappointing compared to matcha Meltykiss or a plain Meiji matcha white chocolate bar, both of which manage to have a strong matcha flavor and rich, smooth chocolate. I suppose Apollo isn't meant to be rich chocolate, but I think my hopes were just too high.

These are certainly a pleasant snack, and would be good for those who don't like a strong green tea taste, but for a die-hard matcha fan, there are many better choices.


Meiji Website (Japanese)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Meiji Kinoko no Yama Mild Bitter

Mild Bitter Kinoko no Yama

Meiji snacks almost never disappoint me. Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato are especially reliable, not to mention adorable. The original flavors are great, and the special flavors are typically fantastic.

Mild Bitter Kinoko no YamaFrom what I can remember, this is probably the second or third kind of Kinoko no Yama that I've tried. Kinoko means mushroom in Japanese, so the name of this snack translates to Mushroom Mountain. Pretty cute, huh?

Mild Bitter Kinoko no Yama

These are delicious and very addictive! The chocolate is great! It's not too sweet, with just enough bitterness, and it smells fantastic. With the cracker/cookie stick, the texture and flavor combination is perfect. My husband and I couldn't stop eating these!

They certainly aren't gourmet or anything, but they are a darn good snack. I'm glad I opened them when my husband was home, because otherwise, I would have eaten all of them in one sitting. I would absolutely buy these again, and would be more than willing to try other flavors!


Meiji Website (Japanese)

Nestle KitKat Dark

KitKat Dark

I'm taking the morning off to head off some bad weather (plus, I have to use my vacation by the end of the year or else I lose it), so I'm catching up on some reviews. I mentioned in the previous review that my father got a bunch of Canadian candy bars for me, so here is another one.

Americans get the short end of the KitKat stick. In Japan, there are tons of special flavors, and good or bad, they go away quickly to make room for new ones. European countries, Canada, and as far as I know, the rest of the world gets Nestle KitKats. I get Hershey KitKats. Oh, they're not bad, but I really do enjoy Nestle more.

KitKat Dark

I don't normally consider snap, especially not with a KitKat, but this bar has an awesome snap. The chocolate has a great texture, and a glossy finish. The chocolate is a very mild dark chocolate with just a little sweet cocoa taste. It's very refreshing after all the sickeningly sweet white chocolate varieties I've tried.

My husband and I both really enjoyed this KitKat, and are definitely thinking about vacationing in Canada in 2009. Of course, we wouldn't just go for the candy bars, but they certainly provide an added bonus.


Nestle Website

Nestle Caramel Aero

Caramel Aero

On a recent business trip to Ontario, my father had time to shop. He is a big fan of chocolate himself, and, knowing my hobby, he brought me a variety of candy bars to try. I live almost close enough to Canada to make it worth it to cross the border just to buy candy, but not quite, so we try to have other reasons.

I tried mint and regular Aero bars last time I was in Canada and thought they were a lot of fun. My husband and I never got to try caramel Aero, though, so I was glad to see it included in the stash from my dad. We were expecting it to be like the mint Aero - caramel-flavored bubbly inside. We were wrong.

Caramel Aero

There was actual caramel inside, and lots of it. It was good, but it was a little too much caramel for my taste. The chocolate coating was fine. My main beef is that this is hardly an Aero bar. My picture doesn't illustrate this at all, but there is a thin layer of the signature bubbly filling...and that's it. You can't even tell it's there, and the caramel is overpowering.

My husband is more of a caramel buff than I am, so even though he noticed the lack of Aero, he didn't mind. I would have liked to see a better balance, but that doesn't change the fact that this was still a tasty candy bar.


Nestle Website

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mentos Melon 'n Cream and Ume (Plum)

Recently, a friend came to visit and we made a trip to a Japanese import store about an hour from my city and came back with a few treats. While in Japan, my husband and I saw many kinds of Mentos, and we bought some grapefruit ones for his sister. I never got to try any of the other kinds, though, so I was excited to see them here in America.

Melon 'n Cream Mentos

I'll start with Melon 'n Cream, as that's what I bought. I love melon soda, so I was pretty sure that these would be up my alley. Melon cream soda is also popular in Japan, and that's what these were trying to capture. They did a fairly good job of it, but the first taste I got from these was banana, but after some chewing, it did have a tasty (slightly floral) cantaloupe flavor. The coating actually tasted like cream, which was pretty neat. It tasted a lot like the drink. A-

Plum Mentos

Ume means Japanese plum, and there are many plum flavored treats in Japan. Umeboshi is a pickled plum that is very sour, and many Japanese people consider it to be a healthful food. I'm not crazy about umeboshi, but my friend loves ume flavored snacks, and I like many myself. These were very yummy, too! Like most ume candy, they were just a bit sour, reminiscent of umeboshi, but better. I've never had a Japanese plum that wasn't pickled, so I can't say if they are always sour. I have a hard time placing the flavor that ume reminds me of, but in these Mentos, it had a bit of a woodsy taste. A

Both of these flavors were a hit with me. I gave the ume flavor a slightly higher rating because I liked that one better (surprisingly).

The Japanese Mentos site (linked below) is pretty weird. Each flavor is represented by a character. Ume is a funky Japanese girl. Melon 'n Cream is a rather well endowed lady who enjoys country music. Their heights and weights are also listed, in case you were curious.

Mentos Website (Japan)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Kinder Überraschung (Surprise)

Kinder Überraschung

A friend of mine at work just got back from a European vacation. I was able to set aside my insane jealousy for a moment when she brought chocolate to share. Basically, this is a chocolate egg with a toy inside! Kinder eggs are especially neat to Americans because we can't be trusted with them here, choking hazard, you know. Somehow, I managed not to choke on this one.

The egg has some weight to it, obviously from the toy inside. It's also very satisfying to shake, but while I was shaking mine, it started to melt. Not good for photographs, so I put it down in my desk until I would have a chance to review properly.

The Egg

The egg came home with me and after dinner, my husband and I decided to crack it. Well, it actually just fell apart when I unwrapped it, but it broke in half pretty evenly. I suspect the yellow plastic egg (with toy inside) is what I was supposed to choke on.

Cracked Egg

As the pictures show, the egg had a milk chocolate outer layer and a white chocolate inner layer. I wish it had just been milk chocolate, because the white chocolate layer made it too sweet. I wasn't in love with the chocolate, but since the chocolate is only part of the deal here, I'll let it slide. It's definitely for kids, but at least it tasted better than Palmer. It's nice when companies give kids a little credit.

The Toy

I wasn't crazy about the toy, though. It was definitely fun to wonder which toy I would get. Too bad I got this one. All in all, though, it was a fun experience that Americans don't often get to enjoy. The chocolate was a B-, but the experience was an A!


Magic Kinder Website

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Meiji Takenoko no Sato Cookies and Cream

Cookies and Cream Takenoko no Sato

For some reason I thought I already posted review for this one, but I looked back and found that I did not! Anyhow, it's more Meiji chocolate (yum)! I love Takenoko no Sato, and this is the third kind I've tried. Once again, it did not disappoint. I picked this up at a Lawson in Kyoto, I think. It didn't come in a box.

One of the things I really like about Takenoko no Sato is the texture balance of cookie and chocolate. There are a lot of similar snacks in Japan, by Meiji and other companies, but this one really gets it right. Plus, they are adorable.

Meiji Cookies & Cream Takenoko no Sato

See? Although they always come out of the bag dusty. One of these days I should brush them off and take pictures. But getting back to the point, these are attractive little snacks, especially in this flavor.

The cookie part reminded me of the cookie part of an Oreo, only not as sweet or as dense. The cream was milky, rich, and similar to but not as sweet as a Hershey's Cookies & Cream bar. This is proof that there is Japanese white chocolate that doesn't burn my throat!

Overall, they tasted like cookies and cream ice cream, so my husband and I were pretty much won over. As I mentioned above, they were well balanced and had a great texture. I would definitely recommend trying any flavor of Takenoko no Sato!


Meiji Website (Japanese)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nestle KitKat White

KitKat White

Recently, my parents went to the Chicago area because my grandpa lives there, and those Chicago area trips usually include a visit to Mitsuwa, a big Japanese grocery store. I asked them to pick up some groceries for me, and they brought me, among other things, KitKat White.

We have white chocolate KitKats in the US, but I believe they are only in mini KitKat variety packs (along with darks and regulars) and are no longer available in full size. I actually really like those mini white chocolate KitKats, but maybe it's because they are small.

KitKat White

This one was not small. The Japanese version tasted creamier than its American counterpart, but, as is expected with white chocolate KitKats, it was very sweet. It wasn't as bad as some others have been, but it was the kind of sweet that burns your throat. But in this case, there was none of the bizarre flavor payoff that makes it kind of worth it!

To be fair, it wasn't supposed to be a bizarre flavor, but I just can't help feeling like something is missing. I realize I'm being biased and that there should be basic KitKat flavors, but I just wish this one didn't have that painful sweetness. I found the box to be very elegant, though, it's definitely got that going for it.


KitKat Website (Japanese)