Thursday, August 20, 2009
Morinaga Banana Caramels
The spawn of the banana fad in Japan continue to multiply like bunnies on aphrodisiacs. I wish they'd give it a rest because, frankly, I'm tired of thinking of things to say about banana-flavored stuff and my husband isn't going to stop buying these things. Of course, I don't have to review them because he buys them, but not doing so would seem like a wasted opportunity.
These caramels are actually rather special because you can't buy them anywhere except New Days convenience store and you can only buy them as part of a big box containing 6 smaller boxes. Most of Morinaga's line of caramels, which includes milk, brown sugar, green tea and adzuki, are sold for about a dollar (100 yen) as single boxes. I don't know why you have to buy six boxes in one bigger box for these banana caramels, but it certainly meant my husband took on a far greater risk when he forked over about $6 (600 yen) for the whole lot.
The caramels look similar to and have the same texture as Morinaga's other very good caramels. They're firm and a little sticky, but soften easily in the mouth and become very chewy. They're very small, about the size of the base of a Hershey's Kiss candy and about 20 calories apiece. They don't smell especially strong, which always encourages me with fruit-flavored items. The ingredients state that the banana flavor comes from "banana powder". Other than that, they're mainly sugar and whey.
The banana flavor in these is strong, but not in a nasty or overbearing way. They very much remind me of some banana-flavored candy I had as a kid back in the U.S. but that memory is so far back in the recesses of my mind that I can't attach a brand name or even a candy appearance to it. The main point is that it's not fake tasting and isn't one of those chemical bombs that reminds you of the esters you worked with in high school chemistry class.
I'm not a big fan of banana sweets (though I love bananas as a fruit), but I found these fairly tasty. I wouldn't seek them out necessarily because, well, I'm not big into banana-flavored sweets. The rating I'm offering is based on the fact that I wouldn't balk at eating one of these if offered and that my husband likes them a lot and said he wouldn't hesitate to buy them again. If you tend to like banana-flavored items, as he does, you'd likely enjoy them.