Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Cratz Alpen Salt & Chicken
It's interesting how many products in Japan contain invented words which are a merger of two English words. My guess is that Cratz is a combination of "pretzel" and "cracker", though I guess it may possibly relate to "nutz", but that'd be a stretch. Honestly though, the name sounds like the consequence of some sort of unfortunate intestinal disorder. "I ate too many prunes and had a bad case of Cratz".
Now that I've no doubt destroyed all interest in actually consuming Cratz, let me tell you that they're quite flavorful. In fact, after sampling the rather bland cheddar Pretz, Cratz are a pleasant surprise. The chicken flavor is very present and not in a chicken buillion cube way. One of the ingredients is "fried chicken powder" and that stuff really conveys the right chicken flavor. It's more like chowing down on actual chicken flavor-wise. There's a hint of pepper and, of course, salt. Even though "Alpen salt" is a part of the flavor, these are not overly salty. The salt quantity is perfect.
While Cratz are a much better pretzel-based otsumami (snacks to be consumed with alcohol) than Pretz, there is a price to be paid for all that goodness. A 44 gram bag (1.55 oz.) has 220 calories. Part of this is the almonds which no doubt carry heavy fat-based calories, but the pretzels themselves are heavy and dense. When you chew them for awhile, they start to reveal a rather "bread-like" finishing taste which is reminiscent of the experience of eating soft pretzels back home.
Cratz are a little expensive for the quantity you get and tend to be sold right next to cans of beer, making their relationship clear. I bought this package for 99 yen ($1.00), but it was on sale. Usually, the price is closer to 160 yen ($1.64). If you favor a bolder flavor and want to get a small amount of protein with your pretzels, it's definitely worth the extra yen to pony up for a small bag of Cratz.
This is also reviewed on The Japanese Snack Food Review.