Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ferrero Melon Mango Tic Tacs

Melon Mango TicTacs

Here we have yet another impulse buy of mine. This seems to be how I acquire most of my candy. I grabbed this at the last moment with some other essentials. Melon is one of my favorite flavors, and I'm pretty fond of mango, too, so I was curious to see how they would translate to Tic Tac.

Although both colors could have been melon, only one could have been mango. Surprisingly, it was very easy to tell the two flavors apart by taste. I'll start with melon.

Melon Mango TicTacs

Melon was green, and it had a nice sour honeydew flavor. It reminded me of melon soda, which is one of my favorite beverages. It's probably not that authentic, because I don't like real honeydew melon very much. The flavor of this Tic Tac was consistent throughout. There was a slight minty aftertaste, but nothing too major for my taste.

Mango, the orange one, was a pretty decent representation of mango with a hint of orange. To me, it seemed like this flavor had less of a minty aftertaste. My husband thought both flavors reminded him of Nerds. This flavor was good, but I liked the melon better.

As with most fruity Tic Tacs, these aren't great breath fresheners, but I enjoyed them. The melon in particular was tasty, and the slight minty finish was a plus for me, because it didn't leave me with a stale aftertaste like the melon did.


Ferrero Website

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nestle Ume Soda KitKat

Ume Soda KitKat

I worked very hard to get this KitKat. It came from a Namco Wonder Tower in Osaka, and I probably paid way too much to win it, but it was great fun. After struggling to knock over the tower of KitKats and Tirol chocolates in the machine I was playing, a kind employee took pity on me and opened up the machine to make the game a little easier. So, even though I had help, I am proud of the KitKats I won that day.

Anyhow, I am slowly getting over the fear of fruity KitKats that developed after eating Muscat of Alexandria. Even though part of me wanted to write this KitKat off as a bad idea right away, I did my best to approach it with an open mind.

Ume Soda KitKat

The KitKat was a pretty pale green and had a nice, slightly floral, light plum candy scent. It smelled fruity in general, much like the Ramune KitKat, only a little lighter. At first, I didn't think I would like it, because it seemed a little sickeningly sweet, but then, the tartness of Japanese plum kicked in, and it was quite interesting.

It was a lot like plum candy in the finish, and that's what saved this KitKat for me. The contrast of the sweetness of the white chocolate and the sharpness of the plum (which seemed to come from between the wafers) was a fun balance. It's definitely not my favorite, but I definitely enjoyed it! Maybe it just tasted better because I worked for it.


KitKat website

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hershey's Chocolate Bubble Yum

Hershey's Chocolate Bubble Yum

Chewy chocolate is risky business. Although I'm not a big fan, Tootsie Rolls are much better than chocolate Skittles. When I came across this gum in a gas station in Kentucky, I was compelled to buy it. Maybe it was morbid curiosity.

When I was younger, I loved bubble gum, and that hasn't changed. For some reason, though, Bubble Yum and Bubblicious seem like too much gum for me now. However, it's hard to find such vivid flavors, or sugared gum, without buying this type of gum.

Hershey's Chocolate Bubble Yum

To sum it up quickly, it looked, smelled, and tasted like a Tootsie Roll. There was also a hint of hot cocoa, enhanced by weird crystals in the texture. The gum was hard to chew, since it was firm to begin with, and it kept getting harder the longer I chewed.

Surprisingly, it wasn't bad. I don't think I'll be buying it again, but the chocolate flavor was decent. The main thing I didn't like about it was the firmness, but maybe my pack just wasn't very fresh.


Bubble Yum website

Meiji Creamy Almond Kinoko no Yama

Creamy Almond Kinoko no Yama

I'm afraid my reviews of Kinoko no Yama are rather predictable. Nearly every kind I've tried has been a huge hit with both my husband and myself. I am a lifetime Meiji customer because of Kinoko no Yama and Takenoko no Sato. The shapes are cute, the original flavors are delicious, and there are always new, tasty varieties to try.

We found these Creamy Almond chocolates at Jungle Jim's in Fairfield, OH and bought them without hesitating. We were so excited to eat them that I didn't wait to get home to review them; I took the pictures in the car that night.

Creamy Almond Kinoko no Yama

The chocolates had a generally nutty and lightly sweet smell. I tasted the chocolate by itself, and it was a mild white chocolate with tiny chopped nuts inside. However, Kinoko no Yama are meant to be enjoyed as a whole, so it doesn't really matter how the chocolate tastes alone.

Together, the crunchy cookie blends well with the chocolate, balancing out any difference in sweetness and adding a fantastic texture. The almond flavor was pleasant, enhanced by the real nut pieces, and never too sweet. My husband and I had no problem polishing off the entire box in under 30 minutes.


Meiji website

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I just got back from visiting friends in Kentucky, so I have plenty of new snacks to review, but in the meantime I just wanted to remind readers in the United States that the Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act is still going on.

If you haven't gotten in on it yet, every Friday, Mars gives out coupons for a free candy bar to the first 250,000 people to register at the website. The promotion is only running until September 25, so be sure to sign up. There is a 4 coupon per household limit, so you still have time to get all 4 if you haven't yet!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Diet Mountain Dew UltraViolet

Diet UltraViolet Mountain Dew

While listening to the radio, I heard a commercial for Diet Violet Mountain Dew. I was mildly interested, since it's rare for Mountain Dew to release a flavored diet soda. When I got to work the next day, a friend told me it was available in the snack stand, and I had to sample it.

When I poured the soda, the bubbles at the top (do you call it "head" when it's soda?) were blue, as you can see in the following picture. The drink itself was a pale violet color, much like the various non-diet violet Mountain Dews of the past.


There was a generic berry smell to the soda, but it smelled stronger than it tasted. The first notes were a bit medicinal, giving way to a fuller, but nondescript, berry finish. Unfortunately, I was painfully aware of the artificial sweetener throughout drinking, even more so than with regular diet Dew.

I have to give Mountain Dew an A for effort for putting out a new diet soda flavor, but I don't think I'll choose it again. There are other diet sodas I like much better (Sunkist Diet Sparkling Lemonade, for example).


Mountain Dew website

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bourbon Matcha Mont Blanc

Matcha Mont Blanc

On the last day of our time in Japan last month, my husband and I went to a nearby grocery store in Kyoto to get some cheap things to fill the empty space in our suitcases. That was the only place I saw large packages of single serving cakes, so I decided to try these.

Mont Blanc is a famous and fairly popular dessert in Japan. It is very pretty, and though typically made with chestnuts, sometimes there are other flavors included, like in these matcha cakes. Of course, being a packaged product, I didn't expect these to be as good as the real thing.

Matcha Mont Blanc

Although the box claimed that these had the aroma of matcha, all I could smell was something odd (probably preservatives). Moving past the smell, the taste wasn't really matcha, either. Or at least it wasn't as strong as I would have liked. It might have been masked by the chestnut flavor.

To call the spongecake mild would be kind, as there wasn't much flavor to speak of, and the cream in the middle was not terribly noticeable. Even the chocolate on the top didn't really taste like matcha, just sweet white chocolate. The azuki beans throughout the layers did add a nice texture, and surprisingly, carried their own flavor well.

I might like this more with some actual matcha brewed tea, as I think the bitterness would bring out the flavors in the cake, but on it's own, this cake just wasn't flavorful at all. It wasn't a bad taste, but it was very disappointing. I would like to point out that Bourbon can make good prepackaged cakes. I took some vanilla and chocolate cakes into work, and they were much better.


Bourbon website

Nestle Kinako KitKat

Kinako KitKat

This Kinako KitKat bar has been around for a while, so I'm not sure if it's a long limited edition, a permanent fixture, or if I just hit the tail end of the season for this flavor, but I picked this up at a convenience store in late July.

Kinako (toasted soy flour) usually goes well with milk chocolate. It has a nuttiness often compared to that of peanut butter, and since it's a powder, the texture fits well in many applications. I am a kinako fan, and had heard good things about this bar, so I was very happy to find it.

Kinako KitKat

The first thing I noticed upon opening the bar is that I could smell the nutty aroma of the kinako. Then, I cut the bar and saw the huge wafer in the middle, going all the way to the bottom of the bar. Even compared to the Big Kat bar sold in the US, this kinako bar had a lot of wafer.

The kinako was subtle, but definitely different from a regular KitKat. The wafers carried the nuttiness, and they were very well balanced with the silky, milky chocolate. The whole thing had a nice roasted chocolate flavor at just the right level of sweetness. My husband could taste the kinako more than I could, and he loved it, too.


KitKat website

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nestle Ramune KitKat

Ramune KitKat

When I was in seventh grade, I had my first Ramune. I got it in Chicago, and made a huge mess when I popped the marble seal and Ramune went fizzing everywhere in my father's car. I've since improved my technique (hold the marble-popper down for a while after opening), but I don't drink Ramune much anymore.

In any case, while I don't have the same feelings of nostalgia about Ramune that someone who grew up in Japan probably does, some nostalgia is there. It's hard to describe the taste (citrus-y), but it's distinctively Ramune, and therefore easy to associate with memories.

Ramune KitKat

This KitKat, a very pale blue in color, definitely smelled like Ramune. Of course, it was very sweet. The chocolate was a milder flavor, and the cream between the wafers packed the citrus punch.

It tasted a bit like bubble gum, but what it really reminded me of was a kids' fruity cereal like Trix or Fruity Pebbles. It had the same kind of non-specific fruity flavor and sweetness, so this added to the nostalgia (my childhood favorite was Fruity Pebbles). It was fun to try, but I didn't want to have more than one of this KitKat. For some other opinions, check out Japanese Snack Reviews, Jen's KitKat Blog, and Tasty Japan.


KitKat website

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tirol Aloha Pack

Hawaiian Tirol Flavors

This is the last of the Tirol I have to review. I saw this cute little bag with a Wallace and Gromit-esque character on the front and was interested, but the real selling point was the pineapple flavor. I love pineapple, so I was really looking forward to seeing how they would handle it.

Hawaiian Tirol

I liked the muted colors on the wrappers, and even though I'm not usually a fan of coffee flavored candy, I've never tried Kona coffee. Macadamia nuts go well with chocolate, and Tirol does a great job with their plain almond chocolate, so I had high hopes for it.

Hawaiian Tirol

Kona coffee smelled like coffee and had a toffee-esque caramel inside. The chocolate carried the coffee flavor, while the caramel was bitter and similar to (if not the same as) the caramel inside the plain Tirol flavor. Overall, the whole thing was mildly sweet. It was a nice change of pace, but not something I want to eat all the time. B

Macadamia nut had normal, nice milk chocolate with small macadamia nut pieces inside. It was simple and tasty! My only complaint is that I wish there were more or bigger macadamia nut pieces inside. I would definitely seek out this flavor again. A-

Pineapple smelled just like pineapple, and wow, the jelly center was awesome. It was tender and fruity, like a fruit gem without the sugar coating. The flavor was spot on pineapple, too. The white chocolate on the outside was a little too sweet, but the center was so delicious, I didn't mind. A

A friend of mine said she tried these last year, too, but I saw on the Tirol site that they are a current flavor, so it must be a re-release. The pack was great as a whole, even better for those who love coffee-flavored snacks.

Tirol Website

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Nestle Apple Vinegar KitKat

KitKat Apple Vinegar

I had been scared of this KitKat when I had seen pictures on Flickr. Not only is vinegar in a bit scary in candy, apple KitKats don't have a history of being good. Actually, the apple was more worrying than the vinegar.

Fruit KitKats don't have a good history with me, but I'm always willing to try a new flavor. I had already read a few reviews online (like in Japanese Snack Reviews and Jen's KitKat Blog), so I knew what to expect, but I had to try this one for myself.

KitKat Apple Vinegar

The smell of the KitKat was mostly apple, with a hint of something sour, probably supposed to be vinegar. I tasted the apple right away, again with a hint of sour, and it tasted a bit like cider. The sourness wasn't much like vinegar, though, more like a tart apple.

The apple flavor seemed to be coming from the cream between the wafers, because the tartness wore off quickly, and then all I could taste was white chocolate. The KitKat was much better than I thought it would. It was an appropriate sweetness, and the flavor was pretty good!


KitKat Website

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tirol Strawberry and Melon Kakigori

New Tirol Chocolates

Every time I went to a convenience store in Japan, if felt like I saw a new kind of Tirol chocolate. I don't know if it was just luck or if they are releasing new chocolates faster now, but it was surprising.

These particular chocolates feature the characters Gachapin and Mukku, about whom I know almost nothing. However, what interested me is the fact that these were kakigori (flavored shaved ice) chocolates. The green was melon, and the red was strawberry.

Tirol Strawberry and Melon Kakigori

Strawberry smelled like a basic strawberry white chocolate; milky and fruity, with a hint of authenticity behind the white chocolate. It was very sweet, and the white chocolate overpowered the strawberry flavor - I would have preferred the other way around. I was curious how kakigori would come into the picture, and was surprised to find sugar candy inside. It was like Pop Rocks without the pop, and the candies had a cooling sensation on the tongue. All together, it was neat, but a little too sweet and heavy on the white chocolate. B-

Melon smelled like melon soda, but the consistency was similar to the strawberry - very heavy on the white chocolate. The melon flavor was even subtler, and I really would have liked to taste more of it. The white chocolate was good, but sweet and plentiful. The same sugar candies were inside, and the cooling sensation made these really fun to eat. B-

Although I enjoyed these, I found myself wishing these were smaller (they were the premium size). It felt like a lot of white chocolate and not a lot of fruit flavor. The cool sugar really took me by surprise, though!

Tirol Website