Monday, November 23, 2009
Tirol Gundam Chocolates
Gundam is one of those parts of Japanese culture that I constantly see, but never read about. Every Japan blogger in Tokyo has taken pictures of the giant Gundam robot that was set up somewhere in the city, and many reported on the marriage that was done near the robot statue thingy.
For those who are as ignorant of Gundam as I was before I had to research for this post, it's an animated series about big ass robots. It's so integrated into Japanese culture that it has been featured on postage stamps. It is brought to us by the same people who created Godzilla. Gundam has always struck me as a real male interest type of thing, but what do I know? There may be legions of female fans out there who find all of the potent phallic imagery of guns and tall, erect robots appealing.
Displays for Tirol Gundam candies have been showing up in 7-11 convenience stores and I decided to sample one of each flavor. The picture above is of just two of the package designs. There are far more pictures, but only two types of candy. One is American cherry and the other is "white and coffee". I'm sure Gundam fans might want to collect all of the wrappers, but I'm really just interested in the candy itself. These are Tirol premium size candies that cost about 40 yen each and are 1 inch (2.54 cm) square in size.
White and Coffee:
I refrigerated my candies and the white chocolate and coffee one fragmented rather badly when I cut it in half for a picture. It's a pretty straightforward candy made up of white chocolate full of little coffee bean fragments.You can really smell the coffee when you give it a whiff. The white chocolate is soft and sweet and the coffee beans are crunchy and bitter, as one would expect. Despite being a simple combination, it's actually pretty good. The sweetness of the white chocolate is offset well by the strength and harshness of the coffee flavors. This one is 64 calories, which makes it about 10 calories more than the average Tirol premium chocolate.
The American cherry is filled with a sticky, thick cherry jelly. It smells a lot like Cellas chocolate-covered cherries. The chocolate is dark and bitter and the center is sweet, but not overly sweet, cherry flavoring. There's no alcohol flavoring like many chocolate covered cherry confections. The combination is intense, but good. The chocolate dominates just enough to keep any cough syrup notes in the cherry center well at bay. This chocolate was 54 calories.
Of the two, clearly, the cherry is better for me. I love chocolate covered cherries and used to get a box of them every year for Christmas. I might stock up on several of these as a substitute and keep them in my refrigerator for the holidays. I think these are both very good consumer chocolates. I like that both have high contrast flavors and think that fans of either coffee bean candies or cherry chocolates might enjoy them.