Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Black Sugar Kinako KitKat (Mini)
After a very satisfying experience with a Tirol Kinako Premium chocolate, I was in the market for all things kinako (toasted soy flour). In fact, I was ready to go on a kinako-flavored foods binge. When I saw this big bag of mini KitKats with a shallow bowl full of kinako on prominent display, I happily cracked open my wallet for the 285 yen ($2.91) to buy it.
I have had several experiences to date where I expected to love something and bought a big portion and then regretted it and where I expected to be indifferent to something so I bought a small portion and wish I'd gotten more. I need to keep those experiences foremost in my mind when I opt to buy a big bag of mini bars because it'll save me some money and the guilt associated with buying a lot of something and tossing it out or giving it away.
I love black sugar and I like kinako a lot. The problem is that the marriage of these elements with a KitKat is far less gratifying. The main problem as my taste buds see things is that brown sugar (called "black sugar" in Japan) doesn't naturally go well with chocolate. This is one of those rare situations where I would have liked it more if Nestlé had used a white chocolate base and flavored it with brown sugar rather than used a milk chocolate base and worked the brown sugar into the cream in the wafers.
The bars look like regular KitKats, but smell vaguely of brown sugar. They taste strongly of molasses with chocolate. These are not two great tastes that taste great together in my opinion, particularly because the molasses flavor is really strong. It reminds me of having foolishly sampled molasses straight from a bottle as a child. The kinako flavor seems to be completely overwhelmed by the black sugar/molasses flavor and the chocolate is an unwelcome passenger which is along for the ride in the back seat.
It's unfortunate that this isn't better balanced because the filling has potential. There's a slightly grainy sugary texture to the filling between the wafers which is nice and the bars are firm and fresh. Some of the mini KitKats I've tried before melted easily on the fingers at room temperature, but these weren't messy in that way at all. Each mini bar is 66 calories of black sugar badness.
If you really love molasses, you may like this. Then again, I think that you'd have to love huffing open jars of molasses to enjoy this and I don't know if anyone's tastes run so kinkily.