Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Country Ma'am 5 Flavor Cookie Assortment

Back when I first moved to Japan, there was a "Fujiya" cake shop close to the train station nearest my apartment. The shop sold elaborate freshly made cakes for a pretty hefty price as well as packaged sweets. The shop featured a "life size" (about the size of a 6 year-old child) statue of the company's lip-licking mascot, Peko-chan. Fans of Peko-chan can join a fan club on Fujiya's web site and get their hands on a variety of junk bearing her likeness.

The Fujiya cake shop closed up some time ago, but I still run across their mass-produced sweets on occasion. They make a ubiquitous milk fondant filled chocolate with Peko-chan on the cover and Country Ma'am cookies. As I mentioned in a previous review, Country Ma'am are a soft, chewy cookie with a crispy exterior which are even better when microwaved.

This box of assorted cookies includes the usual cocoa chocolate chip and vanilla as well as three new flavors: cream cheese, strawberry, and "delicious chocolate". There are two of each kind of cookie in the box, but I'm only going to review the three new flavors since I already reviewed the vanilla and cocoa in the aforementioned review. Ten small cookies are sold for about 200 yen ($2.18). Since the big bag of cocoa and vanilla cookies alone is about 400 yen ($4.36) and contains 24 cookies, you're paying a slight premium for the new flavors.

From left: strawberry, cream cheese, delicious chocolate
(Click this image for a more detailed, larger one.)

All of the cookies have the same basic texture. The outside is crispy and the inside is moist and chewy. The strawberry one seems a little strange though since it seems like pinkish dough was applied to the outside of a vanilla cookie. The interior is not pink.
  • strawberry: This smells pleasantly of real strawberries. The taste is slightly tart, with a nice real strawberry flavor and it is mildly sweet. There was exactly one white chocolate chip on the edge of this.
  • cream cheese: This one smelled very faintly of cream cheese and had a nice tangy cream cheese flavor. Like the strawberry, there was exactly one white chocolate chip stuck in the top.
  • delicious chocolate: They smelled nicely chocolatey and the taste as compared to the regular "cocoa" flavor was of deeper chocolate. I'd say it was marginally better than the cocoa version. There also appeared to be a few tiny fragments of nuts in this, but you can't taste them because they're too small. The ingredients list for this cookie mentioned almond paste, but I couldn't detect any of it in the taste.
The packaging is rather misleading and I think that it has been digitally constructed to make you think that all of the cookies are full of chocolate chips. The cream cheese and strawberry seem like they were made by having a machine drop just one chip on the corner as that was all that was in each of them. I get the feeling that that chip is simply there to add the slightest bit of credibility to the "choco chip" claim written on the packages. That being said, I don't think the cookies suffer at all for their lack of chips. They probably would be too sweet with more of them.

These were all nice cookies with good flavor and excellent texture, but they carry the tiniest hint of an artificial flavor which I connect with the preservatives or the packaging. The texture is unique among the various cookies you can buy in Japan and is about as close to homemade that you can get from packaged cookies. That is not to say they are anywhere near as good as a home-baked chewy cookie, but they're nice in a pinch.


Kelly said...

As far as cookies go, cream cheese is a rather odd flavour as mostly I think of cookies as being sweet, not savoury. Is this more of a sweet cheese flavour?

The strawberry one looks good.

Marvo said...

There's nothing wrong with more chocolate chips, but there is something wrong with less chocolate chips. It's not like we're in some recession or something...Oh wait, that's right. We are. :-(

Orchid64 said...

Kelly: It's funny because cream cheese is used for sweets about 70% of the time in the U.S. Are cream cheese sweets uncommon in Australia? Is cheesecake unpopular there? The cookies were absolutely sweet, not savory.

Marvo: Given the portions and cost of these cookies, I don't think it was about the recession, though that'd be a funny excuse for skimping on the chips. I think they ought to skimp on the packaging to save money. It's so wasteful.

Thanks to both of you for the comments!

Kelly said...

Hi Orchid,
Yeah we do have cheesecake but that is a kind of one off dessert with cheese. And i've never encountered a cheese biscuit for dessert that is sweet!

I'm really getting to realise how different the US is to us concerning foods through your blogs and second rate snacks! :) It's really interesting. I've found a site in australia called "USA FOODS" and i'm going to do a big order of interesting foods to try and blog about some of've really opened my eyes I must say. :)

Amelia said...

ooo i must keep my eyes open for this when i go to Japan again!
did you get this in the conbini?

Orchid64 said...

I believe my husband picked these up at a local shop that specializes in snacks of all types. We were recently at that same store and they still sell it. We've also seen these at certain markets like Seiyu and Peacock. I don't think I've ever seen them in a convenience store, but there is wide variation in what you can get at a particular shop.

Thanks for your comment!