Friday, October 30, 2009

Meiji Cheesecake Takenoko no Sato

Takenoko no Sato Cheesecake

I am a dessert person. However, cheesecake is not one of my favorites. It's so rich that I can't ever seem to eat a whole piece (even though I can put away a lot of cake), and I'm lactose intolerant.

Still, I purchased this cheesecake Takenoko no Sato because the line hardly ever steers me wrong. These are much bigger than the normal chocolates and they come individually wrapped. The flavor is Takesato's cheesecake, although I don't know if Takesato is a real person.

Takenoko no Sato Cheesecake

The smell of these reminded me of cheese cracker sandwiches or Cheese Whiz, which was a big turn off. After touching them, my fingers smelled like that, too. I could smell a little white chocolate sweetness, and my husband thought they smelled just like cheesecake. Luckily, they didn't taste like electric orange cheese.

The chocolate itself was sweet, but not cloying, and the cookie center reminded me of shortbread. It lacked the sharp tang that often comes with cheesecake, but I didn't mind. I was too busy being impressed with the mildly sweet white chocolate and vanilla flavor. As usual, the textures went well together. Even though the chocolate was very rich, in a nice small portion, I was pleased.


Meiji Website (Japanese)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tirol Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake Tirol

Tirol is one of the harder Japanese sweets for me to find in America. I only ever see the variety pack strips, and more often than not, they are a little old. Aside from the expiration date, it's easy to tell how old the pack is by the limited edition flavor bundled with the regulars.

This Strawberry Shortcake came from a pack that was nearing the end of its shelf life, as it expires in December and doesn't have the current special flavor (which should be hot cakes, though I think kinako mochi might be making a comeback). The cute packaging appeals to me, as I am a big fan of pink.

Bitten Tirol

The strawberry milk scent was very strong in this Tirol. It had a fruity, tart strawberry white chocolate flavor that reminded me of strawberry jam. In addition, there was a bit of a soapy taste that I didn't care for.

Normally, I love the biscuit varieties, but something about this one put me off. It wasn't bad, but it was very sweet. The biscuit and fruit flavor did give it the feel of strawberry shortcake, but I think the cream/frosting flavor in this chocolate gave it a hint of soap, which ruined the whole thing for me.

Kelly of Tasty Japan liked them much better than I did, so be sure to look at her blog before you decide!


Tirol website

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wrigley Eclipse Breeze Exotic Mint

Eclipse Breeze Exotic Mint

Cardamom is one of my favorite spices. I don't know about it being exotic, but it is fairly common in Indian cuisine. It's great on rice pudding and in chai tea, but you do have to be careful how much you put in. Once, I made brownies and added too much cardamom, rendering them inedible.

This is the first cardamom gum I've ever seen. There was a berry flavor available as well, but the mint sounded better to me. I had seen pictures of this gum on Flickr, but didn't know it contained cardamom until seeing it at the store. I figured the cardamom wouldn't be distinguishable from the mint.

Eclipse Breeze Exotic Mint

The gum didn't really smell like anything special at all, but from the first chew, the cardamom was obvious. It made for a spicy cooling sensation that was just a tiny bit hot on the tongue. It was very fresh and authentic.

This is unlike any other mint gum I've tried, and I have to hand it to Eclipse for that. The flavor lasted a long time, and the texture was just about right. My husband and I were in agreement - this is a great gum.

The Impulsive Buy and Gigi-Reviews also reviewed this one (and they both liked it).


Eclipse website

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bissinger's Key Lime Chocolate Bar

Key Lime Chocolate

This is a lovely chocolate bar. I purchased it at Whole Foods a couple weeks ago, entirely for looks. Later, I noticed that it was all natural, and the white chocolate swirl in the middle of the bar was colored with turmeric and green plant extract. I'm not a stickler for all-natural stuff, but that's pretty cool.

The combination of chocolate and key lime conjures up images of central Florida souvenir shops. Aside from having everything under the sun, all under a ridiculously gaudy exterior, there's usually a section of touristy treats like key lime mini-pies and chocolates.

Key Lime Chocolate

Again, the bar itself is gorgeous. The first whiff was fruity, and reminded me of lime-flavored Tootsie Rolls, but in a good way. The chocolate had a good snap with a mild and subtle lime flavor, made from lemon zest oil, key lime flavor, and citric acid. The effect was a nice gradient of sweet-to-sour, but the citrus flavor gave the bar a very slightly odd aftertaste.

I liked the smooth, cool texture and feel of the chocolate. All in all, it was a very fresh, tasty bar. According to the back of the box, this is dark chocolate, but it was definitely on the lighter side. No cocoa percentage was given, but it did suit the lime. While I'm not in love with the flavor combination, it was well executed and made for a tasty treat. I'd love to try more from Bissinger's, and from the looks of their website, they have tons of pretty, swirly bars to try.


Bissinger's website

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stride Uber Bubble

Stride Uber Bubble

I am a big fan of blowing bubbles with gum. I try not to chew gum at work because the temptation of blowing bubbles is too great. I think it makes me look childish and it gets gum on my glasses.

It doesn't necessarily have to be bubble gum, and in fact, I prefer other flavors. One of my favorite gums for blowing bubbles was Dentine Ice vanilla. Still, bubble gum is a nostalgic flavor, and every now and then it's nice to have.

Stride Uber Bubble

It smelled like bubble gum, and with the first could chews, there was a sour bubble gum flavor. It was a little fruity, a lot of sweet, and had a bouncy chew. My husband called it a more refined bubble gum flavor. Most of the tang was gone after a few minutes, and the remaining flavor was more typical bubble gum.

Unfortunately, the bubble gum didn't actually work well for blowing bubbles. Although the nostalgic flavor was tasty, bubble gum without the bubble seems a little pointless to me. At least it was a good bubble gum flavor. I guess that's what "Uber Bubble" means.


Stride Gum Website

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kabaya Matcha Pakiri

Matcha Pakkiri

Normally, I don't go for Pocky or Pocky-clone snacks, but the lure of matcha made me buy these. Unfortunately, they were a little melted (as I suspect they were shipped during summer to the store from which I bought them), but I don't think the taste was affected.

Kabaya is a big snack company, but this snack is definitely a Pocky-clone. According to the package, these are extra crunchy sticks, and should make a "snap" noise when eaten (paki, in Japanese onomatopoeia).

Matcha Pakkiri

The scent of matcha was very strong when I opened the package, which is always a good sign for me. The flavor of the matcha white chocolate coating was also strong, just how I like it. However, they were not kidding about these being crunchy.

The stick part was very hard, crunchy, and a little tough on my teeth. It also had a distinctly salty flavor that I didn't love, but didn't hate. The saltiness was especially apparent in the aftertaste. So, even though I loved the matcha flavor, the stick wasn't to my liking.

I should mention that I wrote those notes about the crunchiness the day I opened the package. After a day or two of being opened, the sticks seemed a little softer and I liked the Pakiri better. However, if you like crunchy snacks, eat these right away.


Kabaya website

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sour Razzles

Sour Razzles

Another birthday has passed for me, and I received a new crop of candy from two friends who obviously have a good handle on my interests. The stash included these Sour Razzles, a sour version of the famous candy that becomes gum. Despite growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, I had never tried these before, so I didn't know what to expect.

From looking at the package, I think I assumed that they would be like miniature Blow Pops - a hard candy shell with gum inside - but this assumption was incorrect. Razzles look nothing like they do on the box. They reminded me of the dye tablets that come in Easter Egg decorating kits.

Sour Razzles

The Razzles smelled like citric acid and came in five flavors: Orange, Lime, Cherry, Blue Raspberry, and Lemon. They all had the texture of Sweet Tarts (or chewable vitamins) at first, and the nubs on the one side reminded me of candy blocks. It only takes about 10-15 seconds of chewing for the candy to turn into a soft gum. Here's a rundown of each flavor.

Orange packed a serious sour punch. This was the first one I tried, and after just a couple chews, I was puckering. It had a strong vitamin C flavor, but (as with all the flavors) shortly after becoming gum, had very little flavor at all. It was my favorite of the bunch.

Lime was much less sour and lacked the punch of the orange (or maybe I was used to it). When I spit this piece out to move onto the next, the gum was an intense shade of forest green.

Cherry was a full bodied, decent sour cherry flavor that had the same powerful tang as the orange. The sourness had a bit of a delay, but then came on very strong.

Blue Raspberry was sweet and blue-flavored at first, and then the punch of sour had a strong raspberry candy flavor. The height of the sour flavor was great, but then it faded to sweet. I should also mention that when I brushed my teeth that night before bed, my white toothpaste turned blue.

Lemon, which I had saved for last, was a disappointment. It was sour, but the flavor was completely fake and reminiscent of cleaning products. This was my least favorite of the bunch.

I would never choose these as a gum, but as a sour candy, the intensity of the sour flavors surprised me. Despite the weakness of the lemon and lime, I found it hard to stop eating these, and didn't mind spitting them out once they become gum and lost their flavor. They were fun to eat, and definitely would please kids (and adults) with a sour craving.


Razzles section of Tootsie Roll website

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Orbit Pina Colada Gum

Orbit Pina Colada

I'll admit it - my heart did a little dance of joy when I saw this gum at the grocery store. Orbit is my favorite brand of gum, and rarely am I disappointed by it. One such case was the recent flavor, the polarizing Positively Pomegranate, which tasted good but had a bizarre texture. I should pick up another pack to see if anything has changed.

On the topic of this flavor, both my husband and I thought we had tried Pina Colada gum before but couldn't remember a specific instance. In any case, the gum came home with us because I couldn't resist.

Orbit Pina Colada

It smelled like toasted coconut, which might instantly put off some people, but I can't imagine those people choosing to buy this gum. The piece was hard at first, and took some tough chewing to get started. It was fruity and sour on the tongue, and sweet coconut dominated the flavor profile, with a background pineapple and a hint of mint.

The sweetness was the first to go, after a couple minutes, and then it was just a mild coconut. The mint hung around for a while, and the leftover flavor wasn't bad. There were occasional bursts of pineapple as I continued chewing. The gum seemed to get harder as I chewed, and had somewhat of a rubbery texture. It became a workout for my jaw after about 15 minutes. Despite this, the flavor was tasty and original, and it makes a great addition to the Orbit line up.

Have a look at Gigi-reveiws and The Impulsive Buy for more.


Orbit Website