Thursday, April 22, 2010
Echigoseika Cheese Mochi Puffs
I was thinking recently that the frequency with which I'd be covering rice-based salted snack foods, like sembei. I have been seeing less and less of interest that I haven't already tried. Of course, I'm underestimating the Svengali-like power that cheese has over me. I was forced by the cheese to pick up this mochi puff snack at Okashi no Machioka for 148 yen ($1.62).
These are made by a company that is new to me called Echigo Seika. They make a lot of what they call "fluffy" rice-based snacks in a variety of traditional flavors including soy and sesame. They seem to be a pretty popular company and even have a fan site with downloads. If you're interested in getting a wallpaper with some of their fluffy rice snacks, you can get them here.
The outside of the puffs is a little greasy, and you can see the oil on the outside of the packet. One packet is 85 calories, which isn't too bad, but I 'm guessing that oil is lending more caloric heft to them. There are six 15-gram (.53 oz.) packets in the bag
I expected that these were going to be some sort of crispy rice snack balls, but I was surprised to find that they are super light and melt in your mouth. I don't know if I've ever had anything quite like them from a texture viewpoint. They disintegrate rapidly when you bite into them. At first, it seemed too "powdery" to me, but I liked it more on the second puff.
The smell is of cheddar-like cheese. The flavor is similar to cheese that has leaked out of your grilled cheese sandwich and has had some time to cook on the bottom of the pan. It's a bit like the crispy cheese kibun crackers that I reviewed before, but without the stronger burnt cheese taste.
These are very interesting and I'm inspired to look around for more of this company's fluffy snacks. In particular, they have a white chocolate version which is a fluffy ball variety that I'm going to track down. I'm giving this a somewhat grudging happy rating. I wish the cheese tasted a little less over-baked, but I did like these and could see myself buying them again.