Wednesday, June 30, 2010

UHA High Concentration Matcha Milk Candy

UHA High Concentration Matcha Milk Candy
Press Sample

Another product included in the generous sample pack I received from was this UHA Matcha Milk candy. Despite my love of matcha, I had never tried these before - probably because the packaging never jumped out at me. Many UHA products (like Puccho) have eye-catching, colorful designs, but this Matcha candy is clearly marketed to adults. For the record, I'm an adult and colorful packaging full of cute mascots nearly always works on me.

When I opened them, I wasn't sure if they were chews or hard candy - they looked like they could go either way. After a tentative bite, it was obvious that they were hard candy. My memory could be failing me, but I think this is only my second true hard candy review.

UHA High Concentration Matcha Milk Candy

The candies didn't have much of a smell, but they had an immediately rich and milky matcha latte taste. The flavor was very authentic; just like a thick matcha milk drink (despite containing artificial flavoring). The grassiness was well balanced with cream, and the sweetness was just right.

It's such a shame that the dull packaging put me off, because these are some of the best matcha hard candies I've ever had! The richness prevented me from having too many in a row (2 was plenty). I'm not much of a hard candy person (thanks to my dentist), but I don't think I'll have any trouble finishing these.


UHA website

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

UHA White Soda Puccho

White Soda Puccho

This flavor of Puccho is a bit of a mystery to me. Though I have some guesses, I'm not positive on what white soda is. Maybe a generic term for Calpis? This one has a very cool package, and contains some milk products, so I'll go with my gut.

One thing I know for sure is that the little Puccho guy on the package is cute. His bubble 'fro is adorable! It's almost as cute as Ultra Puccho-kun, who has been known to sport a pompadour.

White Soda Puccho

The candies were quite sticky and had a mild citrus scent. The first thing I noticed was that, along with the Puccho hard gels, there were fizzy candy balls embedded in the chew. I love a good fizzy candy, but these were pretty mild.

Overall, the flavor was not strong. There were hints of citrus but not much dairy, and they weren't addictively good. That's not a bad thing if you're trying to cut back on candy, but it makes for a standard, unspectacular Puccho flavor.


UHA website

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pure Ume Gummy

day 145

Even though I love all kinds of flavors, matcha is my favorite. Just about everyone seems to have their own signature flavor - the one that they're always happy to see/smell/taste. Ume (Japanese plum) is that flavor for one of my friends - or at least she seems to like it when I send her ume candy.

Pure is one of my favorite gummy brands, and even though ume is not my favorite flavor, matcha Pure gummies would be a bit weird. These were purchased at the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights, IL. I noted that it's a new flavor with a Japanese taste.

Pure Ume Gummies

The gummies smelled and tasted just like ume. At first, they were quite tart, but they had a sweet plum finish. The prickly sour sugar melted in my mouth, leaving the slightly tough gummy to chew. Pure claims that their gummies have the texture of real fruit, and while I'm not sure that's true, it definitely pleasant.

The flavor was so sour and authentic, and the firm Pure gummy texture was a perfect match for the ume flavor. They weren't as puckeringly sour as umeboshi (pickled plum), but I would recommend these to any ume fan.


Pure Website

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Morinaga Cola Hi-chew and Canned Pineapple Hi-chew Jr.


In the past, the flavors of Hi-chew Jr. that I've tried have had tiny, tooth-shatteringly hard sprinkles in them that make them too treacherous for me to enjoy. Thankfully, these two flavors of Hi-chew, provided by, were sprinkle free!

The yellow package of Hi-chew Jr. is Canned Pineapple flavored, and the small (but not Jr.) black package is Cola flavored. Both of these flavors are on the rare side in the United States, but both are flavors I enjoy.

Canned Pineapple Hi-chew

The candy had a strong pineapple aroma, and as you can see, it was solid yellow instead of white on the outside like normal Hi-chew. It tasted like pineapple, but it was very sweet, which made it more like the canned variety. There were also hints of cherry and tropical flavors, making it quite authentic. A-

Cola Hi-chew

Cola had a good cola scent and flavor, but it seemed extra sticky. It may have been my imagination, but there was a slight fizz to this Hi-chew. The caramelly cola flavor was decent, but I've had better cola candy. More fizz would have made this one a winner for me. B

Morinaga website

Friday, June 18, 2010

Godiva Ice Cream Parlor Truffles + 1 Bonus Truffle

Ice Cream Shoppe Truffles

That Godiva Chocolate Rewards free truffle every month program is still working out in Godiva's favor, and this surprises no one. This review includes my free truffles for May and June, plus some others I just had to try. Most of these come from Godiva's new Ice Cream Parlor Truffles line, along with one random truffle that sounded good.

Long ago, I regarded Godiva as the best of the best, then after starting this blog, I saw their chocolate as not-so-good. Now, after sampling many truffles, I do have more respect for Godiva. Not all of their truffles are winners, but they make some superb pieces.

Pistachio Truffle

First, my selections from the Ice Cream Parlor line, starting with Pistachio. It was subtly sweet with an ultra soft and creamy ganache. The pistachio flavor was quite subdued, but it was still very good. Pistachios are my favorite nuts, so I wish the flavor would have been a bit stronger. A-

Oranges & Creme was creamsicle all the way, but it was very sweet. It was like super sweet orange frosting, with a mild citrus and tons of creme. The cloying sweetness was too much for me, though. C+

Neapolitan Truffle

Neapolitan was a favorite ice cream flavor of mine growing up, and Godiva definitely nailed it. The strawberry flavor was distinct and delicious, and the vanilla portion was not too sweet. Despite these distinctions, somehow, the special Neapolitan taste when all the flavors come together was still there. This was my favorite piece out of the line. A

Mint Chocolate Chip was a very good interpretation of the ice cream of the same name, but since I'm not a huge fan of that ice cream, it didn't stand out for me. The mint was cool and creamy, and the sweetness was well balanced. B+

Lemon Sherbet Truffle

Lemon Sherbet was very tart and had an authentic lemon flavor, but like the Orange & Creme, the sweetness far outweighed the sourness. It seems like they overcompensated for the sour lemon, and it ruined this truffle for me. B-

Godiva Extra Dark and Hazelnut Gelato

Hazelnut Gelato (pictured above on the right) was quite unique; it had a very smooth and almost whipped mousse ganache center like no truffle I've had before. The hazelnut flavor was very mild, but that suited me fine. A hazelnut lover might be a bit disappointed. B+

I didn't try all the flavors from the Ice Cream Parlor line; I'm missing Double Dark Chocolate, Rocky Road, and Coffee Gelato. UPDATE: I tried Pecan Sundae!

Pecan Sundae Truffle

Pecan Sundae was very sweet, but pretty good. It was another double-chamber chocolate, with caramel and vanilla cream sections. The candied pecans on top were delicious, and the texture of the caramel was like a Caramello - soft and runny. Still, it was a bit too sweet for me. B+

Godiva Extra Dark Truffle

Finally, the bonus truffle! Extra Dark was literally amazing. The ganache was thick and bitter and the texture reminded me of the center a brownie. The balance of sweet and bitter was perfect, and the dark cocoa flavor was just right. I would definitely buy this truffle again! A+

Check out more reviews of the Ice Cream Parlor Truffles at Chocolate Obsession and Sugar Pressure.

Godiva website

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bourbon Matcha ChocoChip Puchi Cookies

Bourbon Matcha Chocochip cookies
Press Sample

I haven't thought about this kind of cookie much since I spent the summer of 2004 at a university in Nagoya, Japan, but I used to get them all the time at the local Valor (a Wal-Mart type department store). I can remember many different kinds of these tiny cookie tubes, including vanilla cream sandwiched and chocolate chip, but of course, matcha suits me best.

It would have never occurred to me to order this type of cookie for myself, but now that I have some, I realize I missed them. These Matcha ChocoChip cookies were provided by, an online shop with an extensive selection of Japanese candy as well as some other specialty items.

Bourbon Matcha Chocochip cookies

The scent of matcha was definitely noticeable, along with the familiar aroma of packaged cookies. They had a nice, crunchy texture with vanilla notes that reminded me of Chips Ahoy (or other branded chocolate chip cookies). The grassy and delicate matcha flavor was certainly there, if a little weak, and it went very well with the slightly bitter chocolate chips.

If you exert a little self control, these tiny cookies make great little indulgent snacks. The are around 25 mm in diameter, and even if you eat the whole package, it's still under 300 calories. I enjoyed mine with a cup of green tea. My only complaint is that the matcha flavor could have been stronger, but that's just because I'm a matcha nut.


Bourbon website

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Orbit Mist Raspberry Lemon Dew

Orbit Mist Raspberry Lemon Dew

It's been a little while since I've done an Orbit review, but I am still on track for my goal of trying every flavor of Orbit available in the US. Raspberry Lemon is from the somewhat recent Orbit Mist line, which is supposed to be juicier than the regular Orbit gum.

I love the swirly fun inner packaging, but I don't love that all the boxes are the same shade of blue. One of my favorite things about Orbit is the fun, distinctive colors of the packaging. I love seeing a rainbow of colored gum packages in the checkout lane, and Orbit Mist just doesn't stand out as much.

Orbit Mist Raspberry Lemon Dew

The gum smelled like a fake lemony raspberry, leaning a little towards cleaning solution. The gum seemed crispy as I chewed it, and it was very juicy. The flavor wasn't realistic, but still pretty good. I was reminded of the flavored lemonades sold at American restaurant chains like Applebee's or Red Robin.

This was not a long-lasting flavor gum, and after a few minutes, I had to resist the urge to pop another piece. The flavor was definitely enjoyable, but once it was gone, the remaining flavor was very non-descript and mediocre.

The ladies at Gum Alert adored this gum, so be sure to check out their review.


Orbit website

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tirol Matcha Milk

Matcha Milk Tirol

The current rotating flavor in Tirol variety packs is Matcha Milk, and that's good news for me. Hot Cake was interesting, but trying Matcha Milk is required. The quality of a matcha piece can make or break a line of chocolate products for me.

Tirol's matcha chocolates have been good in the past, but the only ones I've tried have been from the premium line; the quality doesn't always translate to the regular sized products.

Matcha Milk Tirol

From the top, it was a solid green chocolate, but on the bottom, there was a lovely white and green swirl. The piece didn't smell like matcha, just a little like milk, but the flavor was fantastic.

The moderately sweet solid white chocolate had a cool, creamy, and smooth matcha latte taste without any special filling. The matcha level was right in the middle - not too strong or grassy, but not disappointing, either. In short, even for a cheaper price, Tirol does matcha right.


Tirol website

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chocolove 70% Cocoa Content

Chocolove 70% Cocoa

From previous experience, I can say that 80% chocolate is just too strong to enjoy often (though it makes lovely cookies). Still, sometimes 60% just isn't enough. Thank goodness for Chocolove.

This cute little bar will set you back about 200 calories if you eat the whole thing, but at 70% cocoa content, it's tough to really scarf down (unless you REALLY love dark chocolate, perhaps). Two or three pieces at a time was plenty for me, and still, the bar was gone too fast.

Chocolove Strong Dark Chocolate

The bar had a gorgeous satin finish and a nice crisp snap. It smelled just a bit like coffee, and was very slow to melt on the tongue. The cocoa was fairly bold but not very acidic; it was bitter and just a tad fruity.

The finish was very clean, and that slow melt gave the bar a pleasant texture with no hint of oiliness. It was such a sad moment when this bar was gone, and I would love to eat it again, or even better - try other Chocolove bars.


Chocolove website

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wonka Fruit Exceptionals Grapefruit

Wonka Exceptionals

That sexy package in the picture is from Wonka's fancy new line of products, Wonka Exceptionals. The whimsical packaging definitely evokes images of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, if you prefer).

Movies that scared me when I was little aside, I must mention that whimsy comes at a cost - the tiny gummy cubes came in a bag in a box within a box. At least the pieces themselves were very cute, and that's a plus for me.

Wonka Exceptionals

The candies smelled strongly of grapefruit zest, and they had a nice, authentic flavor as well. As such, it was quite tart and a bit bitter, and I think Wonka may have overcompensated with sweetness. I really liked them, but they hurt my teeth a bit to eat.

The gummies had the texture of fruit gems or jelly fruit slices, which is my favorite texture for a gummy. They were a bit sticky, but still held their shape well. The accuracy of the flavor reminded me of the Japanese Pure gummies. If these hadn't been so sweet, I'd give them an A+.


Wonka Website

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stride Shift Flavor Changing Gum

Stride Shift
Press Sample

Despite its permanent place in my purse, it's been a while since I have reviewed chewing gum. Recently, it seems like gum companies are branching out with some interesting new products, Stride Shift gum included. My conscience dictates me to mention that these were free marketing samples, and that I am not being paid to write this (or any) review.

The packages certainly are eye-catching, and the colors had a very 1990s feel, probably to appeal to people of a certain age. I wasn't sure how Stride would pull off the flavor changing, but I'm a fan of fruit-mint combination gum, so I approached them without fear.

Stride Shift Citrus -> Mint

The initial orangey flavor of Citrus -> Mint was a mild citrus with hints of tropical fruit. It reminded me of orange suckers (specifically Dum Dums), especially because there were little crunchy bits in the gum. The mystery of the Shift was solved! The crunchy bits had a tart, citrus zip to them, and the chewier bits carried the mint. I suspect the food chemistry here aims to have the fruity bits dissolve before the mint, which was a sweet peppermint that I couldn't quite place. For a bit, I was getting punches of both flavors, but it only took a couple minutes to transition completely from orange to mint. From then on, the mint flavor lasted a very long time, and I was sick of chewing gum before the flavor was gone. B-

Stride Berry Gum

The Berry -> Mint smelled like strawberry and grape. At first, it tasted very sugarfree, but the initial flavor wasn't bad. I tasted blueberry and strawberry with a hint og mint. Again, most of the berry flavor was gone after a few minutes, leaving the gum minty with bursts of non-descript tartness. The final mint was the same sweet peppermint as the citrus, and again, the flavor lasted quite a while. B

I was a little obsessive about chewing up all of the flavor bits, so I could see that if you weren't, the gum might taste a bit weird. Still, Stride tried something new, which is always commendable. But unlike Stride's Eternal Melon (which I should review), I can't say that I'd seek these flavors out again.

Check out reviews of Citrus and Berry at GumAlert for another point of view.

Stride Gum Website

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mars Starburst Sour/Sweet

Sour/Sweet Starburst

Since I usually pay for gas with my card at the pump, I don't often go in gas station convenience stores around town. However, they tend to be treasure troves of new and old candy, and an easy place to find regional items when travelling.

These Starburst don't fall into the "new" category. I'm not sure if they are still in production, but they were purchased in a gas station, and there were only a couple of packages left. It was a risky move, but I went for it.

Sour/Sweet Starburst

Sour Green Apple was so sour that it prickled my throat. The apple flavor was very fake, but recognizable.

Sweet Blue Raspberry had a nice sweet (albeit fake) raspberry taste with hints of the tart zing of the fruit, and it was probably my favorite.

Sour Watermelon had an impressive sour punch, but I didn't think it tasted at all like watermelon. It's such a mild fruit that adding sour really makes it unrecognizable.

Sweet Strawberry reminded me of ChupaChups suckers, with a fake but familiar strawberry flavor. It did seem sweeter than the normal strawberry Starburst, and it wasn't as good.

This variety was nothing special, although the sour ones were quite sour. Maybe it's just bad execution, but this variety of Starburst didn't add anything to the brand. I'll stick with the original.

Have a look at Candy Blog for another review.


Starburst website

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Morinaga Straberry Daifuku Hi-chew

Hichew Strawberry Daifuku

I don't often blog about traditional Japanese snacks (known as wagashi) for a couple of reasons. First, I live in the United States and they are a bit hard to come by, and second, there's already an excellent blog for that!

Instead, I have to settle for reviewing cheaper candy based on wagashi, like these strawberry daifuku Hi-chew! The real thing is a strawberry covered in red bean past and wrapped in mochi. Here's a recipe for real strawberry daifuku, in case you can't track down the Hi-chew. The real thing is most definitely better.

Strawberry Daifuku Hichew

There was no detectable mochi smell to these candies, just a strawberry aroma. Mochi was just barely present in the flavor, though the strawberry dominated. It was a tart, authentic strawberry, and it was quite good. As with all Hi-chew, the candies had a chewy, almost rubbery texture.

Red bean paste was completely absent from the flavor profile, but despite the failure at tasting like daifuku, it still made for a tasty strawberry candy. It's been a long time since I've had regular strawberry Hi-chew, so I can't say how it compares - I doubt there is much of a difference.

Check out another review at Tasty Japan.


Morinaga website

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nestle Mixed Juice KitKat

Mixed Juice KitKat

Every time I review a snack, I try to approach it with an open mind. Whether it's something I know well or something I suspect I won't like, it helps to try and forget expectations and taste as if everything were brand new. Of course, a little prejudice is normal and unavoidable - taste buds are strongly tied to memory.

I ordered some Mixed Juice KitKats from NapaJapan, knowing full well that they wouldn't be a likely hit with me. It was quite a challenge to forget that notion as I sampled it, but review blogs are 99% subjective, so I don't feel too bad about it.

Mixed Juice KitKat

The KitKat smelled like sweet fruity cream, and at first, all I could taste was white chocolate. After the chocolate melted a bit, the fruit flavors emerged, but I could only pick out banana and a hint of peach. When mixed in with other fruits, banana tends to dominate, so I wasn't surprised.

It wasn't bad, just very sweet and heavy on the banana. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of the vegetable juice KitKat of last year, without the nasty aftertaste. Overall, it was a forgettable KitKat and one of the weaker offerings so far this year.

Check out more reviews at Jen's KitKat Blog, Japanese Snack Reviews, Tasty Japan, and Razterized.


KitKat website