Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chocolat Framboise Marble Pocky

For those who don't live in Japan, I'll give the shortest possible explanation of how Valentine's Day works in this country. Women buy men chocolates. Men don't buy women anything. I'm sure that every Western man who ever felt pressure to find the perfect Valentine's gift is dialing up an Asian dating service and putting in an order for a Japanese girl right now.

I should note that a lot of women are obliged to give chocolates to men they don't even like. They also give to men who they are friends and acquaintances with. It's not about romance. That means that there is a whopping great marketing opportunity for confectioners to sell a ton of low rent candy and chocolate-based items to women who have to give their bosses and coworkers token gifts on February 14. Most companies rise to the occasion and get out there with themed items which feature the color red and hearts, though they don't always overtly state "Valentine's candy" so that the items can be bought any time by anyone.

This leads us nicely to this Chocolat Framboise Pocky. It's clearly been released for the Valentine's Day crowd (note the hearts on the box). There are three sleeves with 4 sticks each inside the box and each package has hearts all over it as well. Red fruit like strawberry, cherry, and raspberry are particularly popular inclusions for these treats, and liquor-infused candy is also readily available. I guess that men are supposed to enjoy boozy chocolates. Framboise is a sort of raspberry beer, so these sticks are three great Valentine's Day concepts fused into one - chocolate, liquor, and red fruit. How can it lose as a marketing concept?

These sticks smell very good. They smell both of chocolate and raspberry. The coating is relatively generous and the flavor is quite strong. Note that the raspberry flavor is pretty intense so you have to really like raspberry to enjoy these.The first bite tastes of dark chocolate and the second brings the raspberry more heavily into play. The coating is pretty much the usual for Pocky, a little soft and easy to bite into, and the sticks are crunchy and fresh. The sweetness is just about right and the fruit flavor doesn't taste artificial or perfume-like. The quality level is really surprising for such a "common" snack. These have cocoa butter, butter, and raspberry powder. I really liked these and I'd definitely buy them again if they were to be available after the Valentine's season ends.

Though I haven't been a fan of Pocky throughout most of my time in Japan, I have not been disappointed in the flavors I have tried. Considering that the calorie count on these is so modest, 4 sticks at 93 calories, I think that these are a very good choice as a sweet treat for anyone.


Kelly said...

Every year i look around for a Japanese chocolate to give to Yasu for valentines day. I couldn't pick these as unfortunately Yasu hates raspberry and like you said it seems to feature in alot of chocolates both in Japan and Australia.

I like all berries pretty much and this sounds nice though!

I usually get practical things for V day, last year i got a hairdryer, which i suppose in a way is good as unlike flowers it lasts for many years. :) We do it the traditional way, not the Japanese way, so i don't have to wait til white day to give something back. :)

I'll keep my eye out for these for myself! :)

Orchid64 said...

The hub and I don't "do" Valentine's Day especially. We say (and people HATE) this, "everyday is Valentine's Day," and it really is. All the gushy, lovey stuff is said and done on a daily basis (ah, the bliss I live in!).

Also, since starting this blog, and even "only" posting every other day, I've got too much candy and whatnot around to be adding more to the pile. ;-)

I'm all for practical for gifts. The last birthday I got a gift for (which would be the last one I wanted a gift for), I got a video processor for my computer.

Thanks for your comment! :-)

Anonymous said...

Pocky is a favorite as well, I wonder if their under layer is more like bread rather than a pretzel? I like berries of all sorts esp. raspberry.

V-Day... ahh... "he surprises me" always... and this year I'd like to bake him a "heart" shaped pizza with his favorite toppings (Potato Sausage and Mayo), I already made him Matcha Shortbread cookies.

I'd like to get him the whole season of "Dexter" or one a non-fiction book which he loves.

Kelly said...

Yes, it's a good way to go saying "every day is valentines day". I have a few friends who go by the motto of "every day is christmas" in order to spread joy.

It's a good way to live. :)

CrackerLilo said...

I've had these, and they are delicious!

Thanks for the lesson on how Valentine's Day works in Japan. I'm in a two-woman relationship, so neither of us *ever* forget or are forgotten, and then we watch the Daytona 500.