Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Akagi Mikan Ice Pops
When I was a kid, my mother used to buy enormous boxes of Popsicles with a variety of flavors in them. I recall there being at least 4, possibly 5 flavors - grape, orange, cherry, and lemon or lime. The only thing I know for sure is that the kid-preferred first choice was grape. Once grape was gone, orange was second. Grudgingly, cherry came third and whatever that last flavor was was only consumed in absolute Popsicle desperation.
As an adult, I favor orange over grape, though I hadn't had anything resembling a Popsicle for decades before buying this box of Japanese tangerine (mikan) ice pops. I was drawn to them both because the box was entirely made up of orange flavor and each pop only has 48 calories for a 63 ml. (2.1 oz.) bar.
These bars are made by Akagi, a company which I was unfamiliar with until I did a little research on the web about them. Their web site has an extremely annoying flash-based interface which my Mac was a bit flaky with, but I tunneled through it nonetheless. They also have an extremely obnoxious-looking mascot named "Gari" that dances all over their web interface with his huge maw gaping at you like some deranged pervert. Anyway, Akagi makes a wide variety of frozen confections similar to these mikan pops. The best known is likely their pop version of the chocolate milk beverage, Milo.
There are five ice pops in the box and each is a good size for a frozen treat. They're neither too small nor too big. Really can't smell much from them if you give them a sniff, but you can see pulpy bits of tangerine embedded in the bar as darker orange spots. The fruit flavor is quite subtle and realistic. The first ingredient is tangerine juice and the second is "fruit". This is followed by grape sugar (which is essentially fructose) and sugar. The fact that juice and fruit are listed as greater components than any of the sugars is probably why these aren't sickly sweet and have such a refreshing real fruit flavor.
I really liked these and will definitely buy them again. They are a very adult version of a Popsicle and relatively healthy for a frozen confection. The only reservation I have about them is that the pulpy parts can be a bit distracting if you like to suck on the bars instead of bite into them. Once you run across the fruit pieces, you really have to bite into the bar and that shortens the pleasurable experience. If you like mikan, I wholeheartedly recommend giving these a try.