Thursday, October 8, 2009
"Bamboo" Cookie Crunch Bar
Meiji has a well-known line of cookies that resemble trees and mushrooms. There are variations on them, but the basics are a cookie covered with a bit of chocolate. There are many people who are great fans of these, though I haven't really gotten around to sampling them. Ebidebby at Snack Love has reviewed several varieties so you can use the links in the first sentence to read a bit more about them on her blog and see her pictures.
This candy bar attempts to keep the theme of sweets that resemble things found in nature by being molded in the shape of bamboo. I haven't seen any candy bars in this line before, and this was a New Days convenience store specialty item that you supposedly cannot buy at any other shop.
I stored my bar on top of the refrigerator on a day when room temperature was about 72 degrees F. (22 degrees C.). It wasn't an especially hot day, but the bar was quite soft when I tried it. It easily started to melt on my fingers when I sampled it so I put the remainder in the refrigerator. It seems that a lot of Japanese chocolate softens up even in modest weather. This is rather unfortunate since the flavor of chocolate is diminished if it's too cold.
The package front points out that there are crushed cookies and macadamia nuts in the bar. Among the ingredients listed on the package are almond paste, macadamia nuts, margarine, cocoa powder, and cocoa butter. The entire bar is 189 calories for a 32 gram (1.1 oz.) bar which is about 13 cm (5.1 inc.) long x 3 cm (1.2 in.) wide.
The outside is a chocolate shell around a softer filling which is filled with very finely crushed nuts and cookie bits. The pieces are so small that the crunch is rather subdued. I think it would have been more satisfying from the texture viewpoint if the cookie pieces had been bigger. As it was, you get a rather grainy finish because there are so many little bits in there. It's a bit like it's dissolving into tiny little pellets of sand.
The bar smells like sweet milky chocolate and that's what it tastes like with a touch of malt. It's somewhat atypical for Japanese chocolate in that it doesn't have the characteristic bitter aftertaste of most Japanese candy bars.
This is a pretty nice tasting candy bar with mildly flawed texture. I wish that the filling were smoother. I get the feeling that the graininess in it is the result of nuts that were ground too small or a lack of something which binds all of the elements in the center together into a smoother whole. I'd certainly consider buying this again for the taste alone, but I wish the texture was just a bit finer.