Thursday, September 25, 2008
Caramel Macchiato Kit-Kat
There are so many different Kit-Kats in Japan that I could probably populate this entire blog with reviews of nothing but various Kit-Kats. While I enjoy Kit-Kats, I'm not prepared to consume them quite so regularly. Also, to be quite honest, many of the flavored Kit-Kats in Japan are simply white chocolate ones with artificial or real flavors and colors stirred into the coating or filling.
My expectations of any particular short-lived flavor of Japanese Kit-Kat are usually pretty low because I know the roots of most of them. Many of them are too sweet and come too strong. I approached the caramel macchiato variety with this apprehension out in full force.
This Kit-Kat comes with a big advertisement on the cover for a McDonald's McFlurry. This is related to the fact that McDonald's is now featuring a caramel macchiato flavor McFlurry (and possibly to the fact that there is also a Kit-Kat flavored one). There may have been some sort of cross-advertising agreement between Nestlé and McDonald's or Nestlé is getting some sort of cash infusion from the golden arches, but the ways of business are a mystery to this simple food blogger. On the back of the box, there is a barcode which can be read by cell phones that can be read in and will allow you to get a coupon for a free McFlurry.
If you look at the upper left corner of the box, you'll see that the calorie count per serving is offered. This is a new trend among Japanese snack products. They put the calorie information both on the front and back so that consumers can consider whether the purchase is going to be worth the added calories. Note, however, that the 115 calories is for "1 package", not the entire box. Kit-kats in Japan are boxed with two packages of two fingers, not one bar of 4 fingers. The entire Kit-Kat is therefore 230 calories. You can also see that it says this caramel macchiato flavor is 1.0% coffee. I'm sure that'll make a huge difference in the flavor.
The bars are white chocolate with tan marbling. When you open the package, you are hit very clearly by an artificial burnt caramel scent. The information on the back says that the coating is caramel chocolate and the coffee component is in the cream between the wafer layers. This means the bar is sure to have a much heavier caramel flavor since the amount of coating greatly outweights the "cream" between the wafers. Also, even the scant cream is billed as having both caramel and espresso. My first bite confirmed this. I tasted the caramel on the super sweet coating and detected no coffee flavor at all. There was just the barest hint of a coffee-type bitter aftertaste on the tongue after the first bite, but it was very faint. The caramel taste is okay, but pretty obviously fake. Mainly, I get the sweetness.
The second bite revealed more coffee taste to me. My husband sampled it as well and he felt it carried a much stronger hit of coffee than I did right off the bat. In fact, his first response was that it had a strong coffee flavor. This could be related to the fact that he took bigger bites than I or that he feels less overwhelmed by caramel flavors. It could also be related to the fact that I sniffed the bar a few times first and smelling something often enhances taste.
I'm inclined to go with my husband's opinion on this more than mine as I am not a huge fan of caramel. He said that it carries more of a burnt caramel note rather than a buttery, pleasantly well-rounded caramel flavor and that he detects bitterness in it. The bar has a heavy artificial flavor and I asked if he'd buy this again and he said he would not. When queried about whether he'd even finish the other 2 fingers in the second package (we each had one finger from the first package to sample it), he said he'd only do so if he was seriously in the mood for something sweet and nothing else was around. Since he's a caramel fan, this isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of this bar.
This is also reviewed at Snack Love.