Friday, January 9, 2009
Blueberry and Strawberry Cheesecake KitKats
The number of KitKat flavors in Japan is pretty well known by most people actually living here and abroad. In fact, I'm guessing we're not too far away from Nestlé Japan exhausting all the potential flavors and having to travel the road of the Harry Potter Jelly Belly jellybeans. That is, we'll get flavors like "sumo wrestler's sweaty salty belly" or "geisha lipstick" in the near future.
Until such a time as Nestlé Japan formulates a taste resembling things like the "emperor's belly button lint" to continue to expand its line, we'll have to amuse ourselves with the ever changing sizes and packaging that are being offered to add more variety to the KitKat line. You can now buy single finger sized bars for about twice the cost of a regular bar's contents. The cheesecake varieties I'm reviewing here were 40 yen (43 cents) each and were sold individually whereas you'd get 4 fingers for about 100 yen (around a dollar) in a regular bar.
Being a huge fan of cheesecake, I was looking forward to sampling these bars. Opening the wrappers provided further encouragement as they each smelled rather strongly of cream cheese and vaguely of their respective berry flavors. The bars look identical to one another despite being different flavors and I wondered if I'd be able to tell the difference between them if I mixed them up.
Taste, unfortunately, did not go hand-in-hand with the scent of cheesecake. I found the cheese flavor to be very subdued and mainly the bars just tasted of the sweetness of white chocolate. The strawberry bar carried some of the tartness of berries, but the blueberry one was quite weak in my opinion. All in all, these were a big disappointment for a cheesecake fan.
I wanted to test how strong the berry components were in a blind taste test so I gave my husband half of each bar and asked if he could tell which was which. He immediately discerned which was strawberry and which was blueberry, but he his impression of the intensity of the berry flavors was the opposite of mine. That is, he felt that the blueberry was more powerful. He did agree, however that the cheesecake component was very weak and mainly the bars were like white chocolate flavored with berry, though he does like white chocolate more than I.
These are not bad bars, though they are a little too sweet for my tastes. The portion control of buying these packets is very appealing, but the expense and wastefulness certainly are cause to hesitate. There was no calorie information given on the packet, but I'd guess that these are probably about the same as any other KitKats and will set you back 50-60 calories per finger. There is a list of ingredients which includes "natural cheese". Note that sometimes "cheesecake" in Japan includes things like Gouda or processed cheese and not cream cheese so it's hard to know what the cheese component in these really is, not that you could actually taste it anyway.
As a footnote to this review, I'll mention an experience my husband had with these bars. In Tokyo, it's not uncommon for certain buildings to rent their space to a seller for a few days or a week then for a new seller to rent that space. Each seller offers different items. One week it might be kitchen wares and the next a tea seller. Sometimes, they sell a potpourri of discounted items. My husband was looking around one of these short term sellers shops and saw that 30-unit cases of strawberry or blueberry cheesecake KitKats that would normally sell in convenience stores for a total of 1260 yen ($13.88) were on sale for 500 yen ($5.50). My husband wondered if they were sold off the back of a truck or something and continued to look around the shop.
The seller noticed his attention and came up and gave him two free samples. A short while later, he offered him the box for only 400 yen ($4.40). In the entire time we've lived in Japan, we've never spontaneously been offered a discount to entice us to buy. It's just not that common, at least in Tokyo. At that price, my husband decided it was worth it to buy them, though we both are still curious as to why there was such a drive to unload these. The expiration date on the box is September 2009, so it's not like they're anywhere near their sell-by date.
These KitKats are also reviewed at Snack Love.