Saturday, January 31, 2009

Vosges Mo's Bacon Bar

Mo's Bacon Bar

I was on vacation for most of this week, so I haven't done a review in a while. Last night, I remembered that I still had this Mo's Bacon Bar from the last time I went to Whole Foods several months ago. I was worried that it would be bloomed (because these things are not cheap), but the airtight packaging saved the day and the bar was still in great shape!

I'm not a huge fan of bacon. I like it by itself or on a BLT, but I don't like it on pizza...or in chocolate. So I'm not really sure why I bought this. It was hard to pass up such a weird flavor combination, though, and my husband was interested in it, too.

Mo's Bacon Bar

When I opened this, it was hard not to notice the strong, overpowering smell of bacon. I could hardly smell chocolate at all. The chocolate has a great texture, as expected from Vosges. The taste was milk chocolate all the way, and for how much it smelled like bacon, I could hardly taste anything but chocolate. The bacon mainly added a weird texture and lots of saltiness.

It was good, but it smelled more like bacon than it tasted like it. That's probably a good thing. The aftertaste was very salty. My husband remarked that this must be what dog treats taste like for dogs. The bacon really didn't add much here, and I prefer the other Vosges bars I've tried.


Vosges Haut-Chocolate

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Nestle Hokkaido KitKats

Hokkaido Potato and Roasted Corn KitKats

Nestle Japan is out of control. Pictured above are two limited edition KitKat bars from Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan's four islands. The flavors are Roasted Corn (above) and Potato (below).

That's right. I'm not sure why, but for some reason, these flavors seemed weirder than soy sauce flavor. But, I had to try them, so I ordered some online. My husband and I tried them right away.

Hokkaido Potato

Potato flavor seemed tamer, so we tried this one first. I had heard that it tasted like chocolate covered potato chips. The bar itself smelled like potato, and tasted like extremely salty white chocolate. It was very buttery, too, and had a light potato taste in the wafers. The main flavor seemed to be butter. I didn't really care for this one. At least it wasn't too sweet. C+

Hokkaido Roasted Corn

Seemingly the weirder of the two, we tried Roasted Corn next. It didn't really smell like corn at all, just white chocolate. The taste was again very buttery. It did taste like corn, but maybe just in the sense that some people put so much butter and salt on corn on the cob that you can hardly taste the corn anymore. It was hard to tell. But again, the main flavors were butter and salt. Still, I liked this one better than the potato. B-

These flavors were, obviously, for novelty. They certainly were fun to try, but I do kind of look forward to sharing them with friends because I won't have to eat any more of them. Plus, it should be funny to watch their faces.

KitKat Website (Japanese)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tirol Strawberry Pack

Strawberry Tirol Trio

A good friend in Kyoto sent me a bunch of candy, including a pack of Tirol chocolates called いちごがいっぱい (ichigo ga ippai), which means lots of strawberries. I suppose strawberry flavor is common right now, as one of the latest Japanese KitKats is also strawberry (review coming soon). There were three varieties of strawberry chocolates in the pack, so I'll review them one by one.

Tirol Condensed Milk and Strawberry

First up is Condensed Milk and Strawberry, and of the three, it had the most authentic strawberry smell and flavor. There was also a hint of cream in the smell, which was neat.

From the picture, you can see that there is a layer of condensed milk inside and WOW did it make this a sweet piece of chocolate. It was a little too sweet, actually, but the chocolate tasted really nice. There were even some strawberry seeds in the chocolate. I was surprised, but this was actually my favorite of the three. I would have rated it higher were it not for the intense sweetness of the condensed milk, but that is one of the sweetest things out there, so I wasn't terribly surprised. A-

Tirol Strawberry Jam

Next, I tried Strawberry Jam. I thought this would be my favorite, but it wasn't. There wasn't much of a strawberry scent, but I could smell milk chocolate. The taste was similar in that the milk chocolate overpowered both the strawberry chocolate and the strawberry jelly in the middle. On a positive note, the strawberry center was really fruity and tasty.

Even though I was disappointed at how much the milk chocolate took over the flavor of this chocolate, it was better than the last jelly chocolate combination from Tirol (Christmas Soda), and it still tasted good, just not particularly impressive. B

Tirol BIS Strawberry

Finally, I tried BIS Strawberry. "BIS" is short for biscuit, and I've always been a fan of chocolates like this (such as the Ritter Sport with the biscuit inside, and the regular BIS Tirol). This one also didn't have much of a strawberry smell, which was disappointing.

At first bite, I thought this one was delicious! I was all set to give it an A, but then the aftertaste kicked in. The strawberry chocolate here tasted a little soapy, and it ruined it for me. The biscuit was great, but I couldn't get over the soapyness. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't perfect. I wish it had the flavorful strawberry chocolate from the Condensed Milk and Strawberry. Oh well, it was still my second favorite. B+

I was really surprised that only one of the flavors packed a strawberry punch, but I can't say any of them tasted bad. In any case, I love Tirol chocolate and can't wait to see what flavors they roll out next! For another take on these, check out Japanese Snack Reviews.

Tirol Chocolate website (Japanese)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tic Tac Chill Exotic Cherry

Tic Tac Chill

This little guy was a pain to open. It called to me at the gas station one day, so I bought it. It came in clear plastic wrap that was quite hard to remove, and even then, I couldn't figure out how to open it. Finally, I slid the front panel down (see photo below) and was able to access the Tic Tacs inside.

Later, I saw a commercial on TV that showed me that the top opens, too, like regular Tic Tacs (see photo above). A diagram or something on the box would have helped.

Both the box and the Tic Tacs themselves are larger than regular Tic Tacs. The shape is still the same, and, despite the fancy box, it doesn't feel like much has changed.

Tic Tac Chill

The Tic Tac felt really cold in my mouth, and had a slight cherry flavor, but wasn't too strong (or exotic). I don't know if it would be a great breath mint, but it tasted okay. I chewed it up after about a minute, and it was very sour, but not terribly cherry. It didn't really do much for me, but it wasn't bad.

Although it suffers from the same problem as orange Tic Tacs (as in it makes your breath worse), Exotic Cherry just didn't taste as good as orange to me, so I doubt I'll buy it again.


Ferrero Website

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Nestle Muscat of Alexandria KitKat

Muscat KitKat

I bought this KitKat when I was in Japan about two months ago, and I've been avoiding reviewing it. My husband took one of the packs inside and I tasted a little bit, and I really, really didn't want to eat any more of it. I finally mustered up enough courage to eat and review my half of the KitKat this morning.

Grape always makes me nervous. I love grapes, and like some grape candy (purple Skittles, grape Hi-Chew), but it just doesn't seem like a flavor that goes well in chocolate. My suspicions were confirmed - this KitKat didn't work.

Muscat of Alexandria KitKat

The KitKat is a pale green and smells strongly of muscat grapes. I guess that's good, mission accomplished. The taste was a strong muscat with a fake aftertaste that lingered for quite some time. I could only eat one of the fingers in the pouch.

This was not a good idea. Chocolate and muscat grape do not go well together, at least not here. It was okay when I couldn't taste the grape, but even then, the white chocolate was overly sweet. It was the aftertaste that really pushed me over the edge. It wasn't inedible, but it was the worst KitKat flavor I've ever tried. Funny, you'd think that title would go to soy sauce flavor. Anyhow, this KitKat was not for me. My husband liked it more than I did, and Orchid64 at Japanese Snack Reviews didn't hate it, either. Please check out her review, or ZOMG, Candy for other perspectives.


KitKat Website (Japanese)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sunkist Cherry Limeade

Sunkist Cherry Limeade

I'm a huge fan of Sonic's cherry limeade. Until recently, there was no Sonic in my city, but just last year, one opened. I've only been there once so far, but the cherry limeade is delicious. So, when this Sunkist Cherry Limeade popped up in the snack area at work, I bought a can right away.

In the end, it was pretty disappointing. The soda smelled like medicine when I opened it, and the taste was a bit blah. There was very little lime flavor or tartness; it was mostly a weak cherry. My friends at work also tried it. One thought it was good, and the other didn't seem to hate it, but compared the flavor to NyQuil and snow cone flavoring.

The soda wasn't bad, but it wasn't nearly as good as the stuff from Sonic. I don't think I'll buy this again, but at least it was fun to try.


Sunkist Website

Monday, January 5, 2009

Nestle Peanut Butter KitKat

Peanut Butter KitKat

This is actually something I had months ago, when I was in Toronto, but I remembered that I hadn't reviewed it yet. I found my tasting notes (recorded on my cell phone, of all places), so I thought I'd post it!

I love peanut butter. It's definitely one of my favorite foods, so I was really excited to see this KitKat in Toronto, even though it wasn't the freshest. We found it at a gas station, and they only had the one left because it was limited edition (I think). Therefore, it was a little stale.

Peanut Butter KitKat

The chocolate coating still tasted good, and was the standard milk chocolate. The wafers were okay as well. The peanut butter seemed to have suffered from sitting on a shelf, though, and was drier than I had hoped. At least, I'm assuming that was why.

Still, despite being past its prime, the peanut butter KitKat was pretty tasty! I hope Nestle makes these again, even though I'll probably never see them in the US. I don't know if it's fair to rate this bar, but I'll revise if I ever get my hands on a fresh one.


Nestle Website

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tirol Christmas Flavors

Christmas Tirol

Another thing my friend brought when she visited for New Year's Eve was a cup of Tirol chocolates, including two Christmas flavors. Although I've never reviewed the basic Tirol flavors, I'm just going to review the new ones here. Limited edition flavors are always more fun, right? I'll start with Christmas Island Salt (the orange one).

Christmas Island Salt

First, look at the cute little crab on the wrapper! I didn't notice it until I looked at this picture after I took it. Anyhow, Christmas Island is Australian territory apparently famous for guano mining, and possibly salt.

The chocolate has a strong caramel scent and taste, and it's definitely oversweet. Thankfully, it's so small that the burn doesn't set in (as it might with a giant KitKat). The salt is definitely strong as well, and I found that as I ate it, the saltiness and sweetness came in alternating waves, which was kind of neat. There's a cracker inside, but it doesn't really seem to add much. It was hard to tell if the saltiness came from the chocolate, the cracker, or both. It was fun and interesting to taste, but not delicious. B

Tirol Christmas Soda

Next was Christmas Soda. I've bought some kids' fizzy beverages from Japanese markets in late December before, so maybe this is based on that concept. Nothing too cute on the package for this one, though.

The smell reminded me of lemon Pez. The chocolate was almost buttery and melted away quickly, not giving too much flavor. What's left is a sticky, chewy gummy center that's rather sour. The texture combination was fun, but the flavors didn't go together well at all. But, it's a limited edition flavor, meaning it doesn't matter how it tastes because it will be gone soon. B-

Tirol Chocolate website (Japanese)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Glico Giant Matcha Pocky

Giant Matcha Pocky

Here's another matcha snack from my friend who lives in Kyoto. I had seen these giant boxes of matcha Pocky when I was in Kyoto last fall, but didn't buy any because I'm not crazy about the normal-sized matcha Pocky. They're okay, but I figured these would be more of the same. I was pleasantly surprised!

The photo doesn't really capture the fact that these are giant sticks of Pocky. There are 18 individually wrapped sticks in the box. Unfortunately, the one I chose for the picture was broken in the bag, but none of the other ones I ate were.

The stick itself is great, with just a hint of a matcha flavor (and a slight green tint). It's crispy, a little sweet, and reminds me of small, round Japanese kids' crackers (I can't remember what they are called). The stick is coated in a thin layer of matcha chocolate. The chocolate has a strong matcha flavor, and captures a great balance of sweet and bitter without tipping the scales to either side.

I really enjoyed these, much more than regular sized matcha Pocky! The sticks make a fantastic, slightly sweet snack. Each stick has 2.4 grams of fat and just over 60 calories. I wish I had tried these sooner, they were delicious for a matcha fan like me!


Glico Website (Japanese)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Nestle HomeCafe Brown Sugar Matcha Latte

Nestle HomeCafe Matcha Latte

Happy New Year, everyone! Unfortunately, I spent most of the holiday sick with a cold, but I am feeling much better now. A friend came to visit me from Kyoto, and she brought all kinds of awesome snacks, so I hope to start 2009 with lots of reviews! Anyhow, one of the things she brought was a box of Nestle Matcha Latte packets. It's getting cold where I live, so I was very happy to see these.

The first thing I notice is that the serving size is very small for someone who is used to large portions like me. To make a cup, it only takes 130 mL of hot water! It's the perfect size for the small teacups I have, but I wish the serving was a little bigger.

When I added the water to the powder, the liquid got really frothy, and I could even hear the powder fizzing as it dissolved! The powder dissolved very quickly and easily with a little stirring, and it was ready to drink in less than 1 minute. There was a light green tea smell and the color was perfect.

The taste was very comforting and delicious. It wasn't too bitter, but wasn't too sweet, either. I couldn't really detect the brown sugar, but I wasn't looking for it. The flavor could have been just a tad weak, but I also might have added a little too much water. There was no powder blob in the bottom of the cup when I was finished, so I was pretty pleased. Although small, the matcha latte was quite enjoyable. I wish the box had more than 5 packets!


Nestle Website (Japanese)