Friday, July 31, 2009

Nestle KitKat Mango Pudding

Mango Purin KitKat

At a grocery store in Kyoto, I bought what I thought would be a bag of mango pudding KitKats, but I forgot to read the front. If I had, then I would have known that this bag was half regular chocolate, half mango. It was kind of a let down when I got home.

But in any case, this KitKat has been reviewed a few different places (Japanese Snack Reviews and Jen's KitKat Blog, for example), but I thought I might as well throw my opinion into the pile as well.

Mango Purin KitKat

The KitKat has a strong mango smell and it reminded me of mango sherbet. The flavor was very bold and fruity, and definitely mango. It was sour and tart, but it still went pretty well with the white chocolate.

It was different from other KitKats I have tried in the past, and definitely one of the best fruity KitKats I've ever tried. It was very sweet, but I am a big fan of mango, and the flavor was fairly authentic overall (for a KitKat).


KitKat website

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer Tirol

These summer Tirol chocolates came in a fancy cup, and I bought them in a grocery store for about 300 yen. There were 12 designs (one for each Zodiac sign), but only 3 flavors: acerola, lemon, and coconut.

I love the pastel metallic colors, and even though I'm not into astrology, the package designs were pretty neat. Also, there were a lot of chocolates in this. Eating the whole cup would set you back about 1000 calories. On their own, they are about 30 calories each.

Summer Tirol

Coconut was half white and half milk chocolate. It smelled like coconut, but a little bit too much like sunscreen. Thankfully, it didn't taste like sunscreen, but the coconut flavor was very mild. Actually, I wished that the coconut flavor was stronger. It had a biscuit center, adding a nice texture. B

Acerola (cherry) was my favorite of the flavors. It smelled very fruity, and had a bright, strong cherry Starburst-like flavor. The white chocolate was light and smooth and didn't get in the way of the delicious, tart cherry gummy center. The gummy texture was sticky and chewy like a fruit gem. A+

Lemon smelled a little bit like cleaner, but tasted good. It reminded me of a lemon bar, because the chocolate was buttery and the gummy center was sour. The gummy had the same texture as the acerola. My sister didn't like the combination, but my husband and I did. B+

The lemon and acerola were nice and bold, so the coconut was disappointing by comparison. Overall, though, this was a nice variety pack, and there was something for everyone.

Tirol Chocolate website

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tirol Choco Crunch (Namco Edition)


My husband and I both like video games a lot, so when we were in Japan, we spent some time (and money) in arcades. In particular, we played a lot of UFO Catchers (also known as crane games), where players can win toys, candy, or pretty much anything (I've seen lobsters and Kobe beef).

These machines really aren't ever a good value. Maybe I'm just not skilled enough, but I'm fairly convinced they are rigged, or at least very hard to win. Usually, by the time I won something, I've spent more money trying to get it than the prize was actually worth. Amazingly, my husband won these Tirol chocolates on his first try, so it was just 100 yen. I won't mention how much we spent trying to win other things, but let's just say the house won.


The special Namco Pac-man box alone was pretty neat, as were the wrappers. Even though there were 6 package designs, they were all the same flavor: Choco Crunch. They were similar to the White & Cookie Crunch, but with milk chocolate instead of white.

Tirol Cookie Crunch

The chocolate smelled very rich and a little bitter, which was fine by me. They were a very pleasant sweetness with a nice cookie texture. The overall chocolate flavor was mild, with a bit of bitterness from the darker chocolate cookie bits. I enjoyed these as much, if not a little more than their white chocolate siblings.


Tirol Chocolate website

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tirol Mitarashi Dango

Sorry for the recent lack of updates, but I've been on vacation in Japan. So, as a result, I have a lot of candy to review! I was able to find a ton of Tirol chocolate, so I'll start with the Mitarashi Dango deluxe Tirol. It cost about 20 yen at a convenience store.

Mitarashi Dango are made with syrup from soy sauce, sugar, and starch. I ate some at the Mitarashi Festival in Kyoto during this trip, and they were quite tasty, especially washed down with blessed spring water from Shimogamo Shrine.

Mitarashi Dango Tirol

The treat smelled like rich, slightly toasted white chocolate, and inside, there was some of the mitarashi syrup over a mochi gummy center. The mochi itself doesn't have much of a taste, but the syrup was tasty, with a slightly bitter flavor.

It definitely wasn't as good as the real thing, and the sweetness of the white chocolate was a little much. It wasn't too sweet, but having tried it after trying the real thing, I thought the syrup went better with mochi than with chocolate.


Tirol Chocolate website

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ferrero Tic Tac Pink Grapefruit

Pink Grapefruit Tic Tacs

My older sister and I were big Tic Tac eaters when we were younger. We both liked the orange ones best, even though it was common knowledge that they actually made breath worse.

I first heard about these from a candy blog, but when I searched the Internet, I couldn't find it, so I can't remember which it was. Anyhow, they were released a while ago, but it takes some things a while to get to my town.

Pink Grapefruit Tic Tacs

They look like standard Tic Tacs, despite coming in a bigger box. At first, the taste is very similar to orange, but once a little of the coating is gone, the grapefruit notes really kick in. It's sour, a little bitter, and fairly authentic ("dry pink grapefruit juice" is listed in the ingredients). There's also a mintiness in the background, but I wouldn't choose these as a breath freshener.

The taste was very similar to grapefruit Jelly Belly jelly beans, or grapefruit e-ma, which also has a minty kick. The mintiness did remind me of a throat lozenge, but I still enjoyed these. They went over well at work, too.


Tic Tac website

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wrigley 5 Gum Solstice

5 Gum Solstice

While shopping for a baby shower gift for some friends, this new Solstice gum caught my eye, and I couldn't resist. From the name, I couldn't really tell what the flavor would be, but it certainly looked cool.

In fact, the packaging really drew me in. It's not that different from the normal 5 Gum packaging, but the swirls look pretty. Also, I love the color of the wrappers, which you can see in the next picture.

5 Gum Solstice

As soon as I took off the shrink wrap, there was a really strong wintergreen scent. The gum was a bit milder than it smelled, but had a very strong cooling sensation. The sharpness of the wintergreen was toned down by a subtle sweetness that I couldn't place.

The gum was pleasant and minty, and the sweetness was a nice twist on the usual wintergreen. The flavor lasted at least 20 minutes, though the cooling effect did subside over time.


5 Gum website

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Yuki no Yado Salad Senbei

Yuki no Yado

Even though I love Japanese snacks, I have always had a hard time enjoying senbei (rice crackers). The ones I ate always tasted like pure soy sauce and I couldn't get over the saltiness. But about three years ago, one of my friends came back to the US from two years abroad in Hiroshima. She shared some of her favorite senbei, Yuki no Yado, with me.

These are a little different from normal senbei, in that they have a lightly sweet glaze and less soy sauce flavor. I've always been a big fan of salty/sweet combinations (I used to dip my fries in my Frosty), and these were the first sembei I liked.

Yuki no Yado

The crackers had almost no smell (they are made from rice, after all), just a vague saltiness. They were very crunchy, even moreso than American rice cakes. Of course, these were very salty, but the subtle sweetness from the light frosting was really nice. It made for a delicate balance that satisfied many cravings: crunchy, salty, and sweet.

These make a great snack. My only complaint is that they have a weird sort of stale aftertaste (maybe the salad part), but it's nothing a glass of water can't solve. Plus, they taste so good that I don't mind. These made a good gateway senbei for me, as I now have a much better opinion of more traditional senbei than I used to. I'm no expert, though, so please see Japanese Snack Reviews for many informative senbei reviews, including another take on these!


Sanko Website

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Puccho Dragon Fruit and Muscat

Dragonfruit & Muscat Pucho

I've never had dragon fruit. I may have seen it before, but I really have no idea what it should taste like. This particular variety of Puccho was supposed to be a dragon fruit/muscat grape combo.

According to the side of the package, the green and white layers were muscat flavored, and the red gel bits that give Puccho it's famous texture were supposed to be dragon fruit flavored. In any case, the color combination was attractive.

Dragonfruit & Muscat Pucho

It smelled like muscat grape with a hint of a strawberry type sweetness. The taste was definitely strongly muscat, and was fairly authentic with a nice tartness. I didn't taste much else, but as I mentioned, I don't know what dragon fruit should taste like.

The color combination was great, but the red gel candies that were supposed to be the dragon fruit really just brought texture. I did find them to be really sweet, but with something like this, I was expecting it. All in all, it was tasty, but not something I'd seek out again.


UHA Mikakuto website

Friday, July 3, 2009

Morinaga Choco Ball Bitter

Choco Ball Bitter

Here's the second of two Choco Ball reviews. The marketing ploy worked, because I just couldn't buy one and not the other. This time, I've got Bitter, or dark chocolate. It's meant to be more of an adult taste, but I'm glad Morinaga kept the cute mascot on the package.

As you can see in the following picture, the candies are gorgeous and glossy. Again, they are like malted milk balls, but with a bitter chocolate coating over a cocoa biscuit.

Choco Ball Bitter

When I smelled the package after opening it, I mostly smelled the dark chocolate, along with a hint of something that I couldn't place (maybe the wax they might have used to make these so glossy). The chocolate by itself was all right, very bitter, and the texture of the biscuit was nice.

They certainly were bitter! The biscuit seemed even less sweet than in the white chocolate variety, and the chocolate didn't have much sweetness at all. Even though I'm a fan of dark chocolate, I wished the balance was a little better here. Bitter + bitter is good, but these weren't as addictive as the white chocolate/cocoa combination. However, those who with an aversion to sweet chocolate may like these more.


Morinaga website

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Morinaga Choco Ball Sweet

Morinaga Choco Ball

I've seen Morinaga Choco Ball many times before but never tried it. Kelly over at Tasty Japan has reviewed many kinds, so I decided that I would try some if I saw some.

So, at a Japanese store, I was excited to find Sweet and Bitter Choco Ball, and I bought them both. Today, I'll review Sweet, and Bitter will come tomorrow. Since this is a white chocolate snack, I was a little nervous that it would be too sweet, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Morinaga Choco Ball

This type of Choco Ball was essentially a malted milk ball, and this particular flavor had a white chocolate shell with vanilla bean flecks and a cocoa biscuit in the center. I could smell the cocoa when I opened the box, and the sweetness of the white chocolate.

The balls had the feel of cookies and cream, with the texture of a malted milk ball. I really enjoyed these, and the white chocolate wasn't too sweet. The vanilla flavor was mild and milky, and it was in good balance with the cocoa. I'm definitely looking forward to trying the Bitter!


Morinaga website

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red Mountain Dew Game Fuel Horde Red

I feel that I must get something off my chest. I am a gamer. There, I said it. I'm not ashamed though. Neither my husband nor I ever got into World of Warcraft, but back when we used to stay up late playing video games, we probably would have appreciated something like this. We used to drink Surge, so you can probably figure out about when I was a teenager.

Anyhow, here is part two of the Game Fuel review. At work, my friend and I split this can of Horde Red Game Fuel (again, no trace of a name on the package), eager to taste "Cherry Citrus" flavor. If you remember correctly, she had liked the Alliance Blue, and I was indifferent towards it.

Well, we were definitely in agreement about this one - it was bad. At least Horde Red made Alliance Blue seem a lot better. Red smelled like cherry medicine, and tasted sort of like a melted orange Slurpee. We might have been imagining it, but both of us felt like this even had a bit of a tongue numbing effect.

There wasn't much cherry flavor to speak of, just citrus with a hint of medicine. But, another positive was that it didn't taste like a previously released flavor of Mountain Dew, so at least they took a chance. It didn't work for me or my friend, but it was fun to try something new.


Mountain Dew website