Thursday, July 9, 2009
Dars Affogato Chocolates
Sometimes you buy something in Japan based on the pictures because you can't read the characters. This is a rare situation where I can read what the Japanese says, but I still have to judge by the picture because prior to doing a bit of research, I didn't know what affogato meant. When I purchased this, I thought it was supposed to taste like an ice cream sundae. Of course, if I'd turned the box around, I'd have known that this is flavored with espresso, but there's no time for that when you're a busy snack reviewer.
"Affogato-style" means that espresso is used to top a dessert either by itself or in conjunction with another type of sauce like chocolate. This explains why this chocolate has a white center (to represent ice cream) and a chocolate shell.
Incidentally, "Dars" is a well-known brand of chocolates made by Morinaga. Though you may not guess it, "dars" is actually short for "dozen" and refers to the fact that there are 12 chocolates in the package. There are several varieties of it on offer at any given time (milk, dark, and white) and the occasional special flavor like this affogato version. It's a very rich and fatty chocolate which is designed to melt in your mouth. The texture is super smooth and the texture is very fine for a mass-produced chocolate. I've been a fan of the milk chocolate Dars for a long time, though I rarely indulge in it because it's very high calorie. Each small piece is 22 calories (the entire box is 275 calories for 44 grams (1.5 oz.).
This version of Dars has all of the same texture high points of the other varieties of Dars. It also has the same tendency to start melting in your fingers if you handle it too much at room temperature. If you buy any type of Dars, it's better to keep them refrigerated and then eat them by melting them slowly in your mouth. This particular variety smells like mild chocolate despite the fact that it is coffee flavored. In fact, this tastes a lot like a soft center premium candy (like those from See's) with a coffee filling. There are milk chocolate notes, but mainly it has a pretty nice, rich coffee flavor. The part of this which is supposed to be like vanilla ice cream is very subdued. It comes across mainly as an aftertaste of vanilla beans.
This is a nice chocolate. My rating may mislead you to believe that I dislike it, but I don't. The main problem is that I'm not sufficiently enamored of coffee chocolates to want to revisit even a very good one. If you're a big fan of coffee candy, this is definitely worth a try, but if you like things which are more chocolate than coffee, then I'd say give this a pass.
Note: The character in red on the box cover is "winter" which indicates this is seasonal. I bought this in spring and the expiration date is July 2009, so it's available outside of the winter season dates. Also, I still see these on sale at the local discount snack shop.