Friday, October 10, 2008
KitKats that are flavored with traditional Japanese tastes should hold the promise of an interesting and unique experience. The KitKat Adzuki flavor box encourages this idea. It tells you that this "can be used as a Japanese snack" and it has a fan design and fancy Japanese writing. The packaging is whacking you over the head with the very Japanese-ness of this flavor.
With the aforementioned notion in mind, I picked up the adzuki (or azuki, depending on whose spelling you take as valid) variety at the local 99 yen shop. Upon opening the bar, I was immediately disappointed to see that it was a white chocolate bar studded with little brown spots.
The reason this is disappointing is that the beans being sprinkled throughout the white chocolate means that the flavor is almost certainly going to be buried deep in sweet white chocolate. I gave the bar a few good sniffs and strained my nostrils to detect any whiff of beany goodness (if nostrils can be strained). Remember receiving white chocolate rabbits in your Easter basket when you were a kid? Yeah, you remember because they were the ones your mother bought to add an aesthetically pleasing look to the basket by mixing the rabbit colors. You were disappointed to see the white ones. This bar smells like those rabbits, like bland white chocolate. It smells like disappointment.
My first bite revealed a massively sweet flavor with only the barest bit of adzuki flavor at the tail end. I was hoping that once my tongue recovered from the initial sugar shock that I'd be able to taste more of the adzuki. It's also sometimes the case that you can get the effect of layering a subtle flavor through continued consumption. Sometimes your tongue becomes more attuned to such flavors as you eat more. In this case, I found that I actually tasted less adzuki as I continued to eat. My tongue grew immune to what few notes of bean there were.
Two fingers and 114 calories later, I remained disappointed and my throat was burning from the sweetness. A look at the ingredients reveals that adzuki is pretty far down the line after several types of sugar. American candy is often cited for being too incredibly sweet, but the truth is that Japanese candy can be just as bad, or worse, than some American candy. This adzuki bar certainly proves that.