Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kanro Almond Sweets

Most nuts in Japan cost a great deal. You can generally buy rather small packets of them for about 100 yen ($1.07) at convenience stores, but they tend to be of a less than favorable grade. Because of this, you find that nuts are used rather sparingly here, and blanched or heavily roasted (but unsalted) peanuts are the most common type of nut. Almonds, which are my favorite nut, in particular are hard to come by and pricey.

Given my love of almonds, I was happy to pick up these sweets at AM/PM convenience store for somewhere in the ballpark of 200 yen ($2.15). I forgot to get a receipt so I've lost track of the precise cost. The bag is 80 grams (2.8 oz.), which was about 22 candies. They are made by Kanro, which is better known for its Puré gummy candies and Calpis-based offerings than for it's vast selection of hard candies.

These candies smelled of roasted almonds, and even though they look very hard, they easily shatter when you bite down on one. The texture is wonderfully crunchy, though the size is so small that it doesn't take much to polish one off. Their small size is reflected in the calorie count of 14 calories per candy. You can't detect them in the flavor, but one of the ingredients is "corn puffs". I'm guessing that is to enhance texture without having to include more expensive almonds.

The candy tastes both of nicely roasted almonds and of carmelized sugar. The combination is very gratifying though rather fleeting. It's easy to find yourself wanting to eat one after another. Note that these are wrapped rather loosely in gold foil packets. If you keep them around long enough, there is every chance that they'll get moist. Most hard candies in Japan are sold in sealed packets to avoid this problem in their humid sub-tropical climate.

I really enjoyed these, and I'd definitely buy them again if I could trust myself not to lose control and eat half a bag at one sitting. Though I really liked the texture, part of me wished that they were something you could suck on first, but they disintegrate too rapidly.

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