Sunday, November 30, 2008
Tirol Passion Fruit Chocolate (Premium)
Tirol, maker of small chocolates which can be purchased in bite-sized quantities, offers two versions of many of their candies. The "premium" size is bigger, can be purchased individually and has a better quality filling in some cases. The "regular" size is about 2/3 the size of the premium version, is sold in multi-packs and has a scaled center which is not always as good. I learned this when I purchased both a premium and regular size version of their kinako mochi candy. The premium one had a softer flavored mochi center surrounded by a syrup/sauce. The regular one had a "mochi gummi" in it which was more rubbery and had no sauce/syrup. Clearly, the premium is better in more ways than just size, though it is more expensive.
When reading these reviews, it's important to keep in mind that the small version, should you get your hands on one, may not live up to the rave reviews of the larger version. And, yes, that means this is going to be a good review of this candy.
The passion fruit flavor is so new that it does not yet appear on Tirol's web site, or it's so regional that it is the first time I've seen it in Tokyo. The wrapper says "Okinawa", so that could mean the passion fruit was grown there or these are usually sold in Okinawa. I found it at a Family Mart convenience store while I was paying my water bill (in Japan, you can pay your bills at such stores). It cost 40 yen, as do most premium Tirol candies. Each square is 58 calories and the ingredients list includes passion fruit concentrate and "powder", so Tirol went out of its way to get some real fruit flavor in this.
When you open the package, it smells strongly, but pleasantly, of passion fruit. When you bite into it, you get a tangy, slightly perfume-like hit of sweet passion fruit flavor. The outside is soft and easy to bite into, but still firm and does not melt in your hand. There's a firm jelly center in the middle which probably carries a lot of the flavor, but it's hard to separate the coating's taste from that of the filling. The flavor is strong, but not overwhelming. The balance of citrus bite, fruit flavor, and sweetness is excellent. I don't even like passion fruit, but I liked this.
It amazes me how good this is at a fruit-flavored confection. There are so many ways to mess up when incorporating fruity flavors into candy, but none of those problems are in this one. By all means, seek this out and sample it.