Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Trident Layers Green Apple + Golden Pineapple

Trident Layers

While grocery shopping, this gum called out to me in the checkout, as new things often do. I've had some bad luck with non-Orbit fruity gum, but the idea of layered gum was too intriguing and gimmicky to resist.

If you take a look at the picture below and compare it with the picture above, you might notice that the actual gum is not green-yellow-green like the cover, but yellow-green-yellow. I'm not sure if the layers are actually flavored differently, or if it's just for show, like an Andes mint. The discrepancy wasn't really upsetting, just an odd marketing choice. In fact, I hoped it meant that the gum would be heavier on the pineapple side. I was completely wrong.

Trident Layers

The green band in the middle of the gum made it look neat, but it was very sticky and soft, making the gum a little messy to take out of the wrapper. As for the flavor, the pineapple was completely undetectable unless I used my imagination, and I never would have thought it was there if the package didn't say so.

The gum was a little on the soft side for chewing, and although it was very juicy, it was a basic sour green apple gum that reminded me of children's bubble gum. After a while (maybe 10 minutes), the flavor became stale, and wasn't doing my breath any favors. This gum was disappointing, since it tasted like fake apple and nothing else, but I can't say I hated it. I won't buy this flavor again, but I'd be willing to try others.

For more reviews, check out Gigi-Reviews, The Impulsive Buy, and Gum Alert.


Trident website

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Iwatsuka Seika Black Bean Senbei

Black Bean Senbei

I'm trying to expand my tastes, so these black bean senbei seemed like a good opportunity. Savory senbei haven't appealed to me in the past, but I've grown to like sweet ones.

These came from Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Unfortunately, senbei aren't available where I live, so I stock up on them whenever I can.
Black Bean Senbei

These smelled like most savory senbei I've tried: salty with a hint of soy sauce. They had a nice crunch, and were on the harder side of senbei. They had a mild soy taste with a good saltiness, and a slight oiliness.

The black beans added a nice raw bean texture, and they reminded me of soy nuts. I really enjoyed the beans. The senbei was satisfying and salty at first, and then the bean flavor came through. My husband and I both enjoyed these, especially him.


Iwatsuka Seika website

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wonka Giant Chewy Nerds

Giant Chewy Nerds

Ever since I saw this review of Cybele's, I've wanted to try Giant Chewy Nerds. They were actually quite hard to find, but a chance meeting at a gas station brought us together. My husband and I split them on a long car ride.

Nerds were a favorite candy of mine as a child. The idea of sugar-coated-sugar kind of makes my teeth hurt now, but I still appreciate the bright, tart flavors. I'm also a long-time jelly bean fan, hence my eagerness to try these.

Giant Chewy Nerds

The selection I'm holding for the picture is a pretty accurate representation of what was in my bag. There were very few yellows and greens and far too many oranges and reds. I refer to them as colors, because I couldn't find a flavor guide anywhere on the package.

Purple was definitely a fake candy grape, but in the best way. It was my favorite because of its bright, tart flavor, without a trace of cough syrup like some grape candies.

Orange was very sour, and went a little into the realm of cleaning product for me. There was an odd aftertaste, probably from the sour center, that I didn't appreciate. As I mentioned, my bag was mostly orange.

Red was sweet, and a mild berry. It tasted more like strawberry than cherry, and was pleasant.

Yellow was sour but sweet in the middle, and reminded me of Lemonheads. I didn't get a good idea of the flavor since there were only 2 or 3 in the bag.

Green was a bit ambiguous. I thought it was apple, but my husband thought it was watermelon. I think he was right, but either way, I liked the flavor. Again, there were only a few in the bag.

These were fun candies with a neat texture, but some of the weaker flavors put me off from buying these again.


Wonka website

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Meiji Hokkaido Melon Apollo

Meiji Melon Apollo

Despite mixed feelings on Apollo, I bought this box of limited edition Apollo at a Japanese import shop. Since it's a premium pack, the chocolates are much larger than the normal size and come individually wrapped.

According to the box, this is from Meiji's Hokkaido line, and both the white chocolate and the melon flavor come from Hokkaido. Specifically, this is Furano Melon, or melon from Furano, Hokkaido. Fancy melons are quite the treat in Japan, and it's not uncommon for them to cost hundreds of dollars.

Meiji Melon Apollo

The chocolate smelled like what a melon buttercream frosting might smell, and it tasted like that as well. The flavor, despite containing 4% Furano melon, tasted a little fake to me. It was very interesting, but maybe it just didn't blend with the white chocolate as well as I wanted it to.

The white chocolate was sweet, of course, but could have been a lot sweeter. It was creamy and rich at first, and then the fruity flavor kicked in. My husband thought the quality of the white chocolate was very good, but also wasn't crazy about the melon flavor. I'd still like to try real Furano melon, but for the time being, these provided a cheaper tasting experience.


Meiji website

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Glico Matcha Mobaccho

Matcha Mobaccho!

In the past couple years, I've seen a couple candies from Japan that come packaged in a coffee cup-like container. To my knowledge, both are essentially Pocky bits, and both come from Glico. The one I'm reviewing is Mobaccho, and the other (cuter) one is Walky Walky.

It seems like the whole point of the package design is to be cute, because even though this comes in a cup, it doesn't seem like a good idea to leave it in a car, ever. Also, the package came open in my lunch bag when I brought it to work.

Matcha Mobaccho!

Despite the packaging frustration, the Mobaccho smelled like good, if a bit mild, matcha and a hint of cookie. This was described as "matcha and crisp pretzel" but the pretzel really reminded me of animal crackers. This was good, but unfortunately, I could taste the pretzel more than I could taste matcha.

The coating was a decent matcha chocolate, but if I didn't suck the coating off, I could barely taste it. I would have liked a thicker coating or even a matcha-flavored cookie center. It was a decent snack, but a bit disappointing.

Kelly at Tasty Japan posted a review of strawberry Mobaccho, so be sure to check out what she thought.


Glico website

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

UHA Kyoho Grape Puccho


Today, my candy taught me some Japanese. From the packaging, I could tell that this flavor of Puccho was grape (perhaps Concord?), but I didn't know the kanji for the flavor name. After little internet searching, I found out that the kanji was read Kyoho, and means a Kyoho grape.

According to Wikipedia (linked above), Kyoho grapes are similar to Concord gapes, so I was optimistic about the flavor. Although usually not as authentic as Hi-Chew, Puccho typically provides a good combination of flavor and fun with the taffy and gummy composition.


In the wrapper, these smelled a little like cinammon, but the taste was a strong, fairly authentic Concord grape. The flavor felt natural, and the candy got juicier as I chewed. There were about 4 gummies in both of the pieces I sampled, and the gummies had an even stronger grape flavor. I got the sensation of grape skin from the gummies, which I liked.

I was pleased with these and would get them again if there weren't so many other flavors and similar candies to try. Also, Puccho is pretty quick about rotating flavors, so I doubt these will be around that long.


UHA website

Monday, September 7, 2009

Kabaya Watermelon Gummies

Kabaya Watermelon Gummies

It's Labor Day weekend in the US, and that means a three day weekend for many people. My husband and I did a little destination eating and shopping, and here's one of our spoils: watermelon gummies. My husband wanted to try them so badly that he took this picture for me so he could open them.

Both the bag and the gummies themselves were super cute. Although I've never tried watermelon with salt, I know it's common, and these gummies were supposed to be slightly salty. The yellow/green candies were sour watermelon, and the red/green ones were regular.

Kabaya Watermelon Gummies

The open bag smelled a lot like alcohol, especially a sweet cocktail. I wasn't sure what to make of that, but I started with the sour one. It was tart like the fruit just before the rind of the melon (my favorite part) with some citrus notes. The sweetness was balanced by the saltiness, and I enjoyed the sour flavor.

The regular one was much sweeter, but it had a very realistic watermelon flavor. I didn't detect any chemical taste, which is rare for watermelon flavor. The saltiness, again, helped to offset the sweetness. The gummies both had a great texture; they were soft but still gave a bit of resistance when bit into. These were great, especially for watermelon fans.


Kabaya website

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Meiji 100% Chocolate Cafe (part 2)


The main attraction at Meiji 100% Chocolate Cafe is their 56 varieties of chocolate. In the previous post, you can see them all together at the counter. The chocolates are hailed for their attractive, eye-catching package designs. Many are based on the country of origin for the cocoa beans, but there are also several flavors like rose hip, soy milk, and cheese.

After seeing pictures online, I assumed these chocolates were small, like the chocolate of the day. Actually, they were much bigger than I anticipated, and they were also much more expensive than I anticipated. I suppose I could have just checked the website, but 4 of these will cost you 900 yen (about $9 US). We ended up getting Royal Milk Tea and Maple. It was a hot day, so they packed them with ice for us to take home.

Royal Milk Tea Chocolate

This picture is of the Royal Milk Tea. It smelled like milk tea, and it was sweet and floral. The silky texture of the chocolate was much better than the normal Meiji fare, and the flavor was complex and delicious. If I have one complaint, it's that it was a little too sweet.

The Maple was interesting, because it wasn't maple flavored but sweetened with maple (syrup, I presume). It melted right on the tongue and had the perfect sweetness for me. The milk chocolate was again much better than normal Meiji chocolate, and there was the slightest hint of maple in the flavor.

Both chocolates were delicious and worth the price for me. If you are in the Tokyo area, it's definitely worth stopping in at the Meiji 100% Chocolate Cafe. The decor is beautiful - be sure to look up at the ceiling and see what it reminds you of. I also suggest going earlier in the day so you can have your first choice of the treats.

Meiji 100% Chocolate Cafe

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Meiji 100% Chocolate Cafe

Meiji 100% Chocolate Cafe

My recent trip to Japan included a visit to the Meiji 100% Chocolate Cafe, a place I've wanted to visit for a couple years. It is located right next to the Meiji corporate headquarters in Tokyo, about a 10 minute walk from Tokyo station. My husband and I met some friends there for a snack.

Meiji Chocolate Squash

I wanted to get a small cake and a drink, but they were out of the cakes (and I can't even remember the name), so I just got the drink. It was called ショコラスクワッシュ (chocolate squash), and it was quite tasty. Basically, it was a bittersweet chocolate soda. It was a nice, delicate balance of sweet and savory, and it was a pleasure to sip.

Meiji Japanese Pepper Chocolate

It also came with the chocolate of the day. The most exciting thing about the cafe is that they have a special, unique flavor for every day of the year. This one (Sansho, or Japanese pepper) wasn't as peppery as I was hoping. It was very good dark chocolate with a slight taste of black pepper and a gritty texture.

I also bought a couple of the chocolates that they have in stock every day, numbers 20 and 48, specifically. I will post a review of those soon.

Meiji 100% Chocolate Cafe