Monday, March 22, 2010
Tirol Vanilla Yogurt Chocolate (Premium)
I rarely do those "you know you've been in Japan too long" deals, but this Tirol chocolate is providing me with an irresistible opportunity to offer one. I've been here long enough to have developed a long-term affinity for a product that didn't originate in my home culture, which I imagine means I've been here too long. There's a type of "fresh cream" vanilla yogurt that I have enjoyed for a very, very long time. The label of this Tirol chocolate is based on the package design of that yogurt and I was very excited when I saw it in Family Mart. It didn't take me long to part with my 30 yen (33 cents).
This particular brand of yogurt, sold under the brand name "Luna" (ルナ) is sold in convenience stores and markets. You can get it in two or three container packages. Each pot is quite small and the yogurt is like a dessert. Its smooth, creamy, sweet, and full of lovely vanilla flavor. Part of the reason that it is so good is that it is 4% fat. That means that a small quantity (about a half cup) is 111 calories. The slogan on the package says, "it's irresistible, I just can't help it." And it is truth in advertising. Since the yogurt is so incredibly good, the bar for this candy is really high. I wanted to judge it fairly, but I also felt that there's only value in this sort of cross-company venture if something special comes out of it.
When I opened the package, there was a scent of heavenly sweetness and vanilla. The smell was a good start. The texture is soft chocolate with a soft marshmallow with a little syrup mixed in. Because they're both soft, you can't separate the textures of the two. I wish the marshmallow had been a little more distinctive in terms of texture so it would have added depth to the feel in my mouth. The taste is quite sweet white chocolate with just a little bit of yogurt sourness. To be fair to the formula for this candy, I should say that the vanilla yogurt it is based on is not particularly sour. That being said, this is a pale imitation of the yogurt. There's too much sweet white chocolate and too little of the vanilla essence. You can also smell more vanilla than you can taste, but at least the taste is there.
Don't take the rating the wrong way. This was nice. I enjoyed it, and I think others who like white chocolates and yogurt (in moderation) will like it, too. I just think that if I'm going to spend the calories, I'd rather buy a pot of the real deal and eat the vanilla yogurt itself. This 1 inch/2.54 cm. square of Tirol candy has 47 calories. For about the caloric cost of two of these squares, I can have the real deal which has more substance, better vanilla flavor, less sugar, and a decadent smooth and creamy texture. I happily consumed this, but I wouldn't buy another.
Incidentally, I haven't reviewed the yogurt itself on this blog, and I'm unlikely to with so many other things lined up, but I recommend it without reservations. If I were to rate the Luna Vanilla Yogurt, it'd get a very happy rating without reservation. Just writing about it here is making me crave it rather strongly.