Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Morinaga Funwari Chocola
I found this at my local Lawson 100 shop for 100 yen. The bar caught my attention because of its somewhat low calorie count, only 165 calories for a 72 ml. sandwich, and the fact that it is an ice cream sandwich.
When I cut open the plastic packaging on this ice milk sandwich, I was greeted with the greatest chocolate smell. I don't think I've ever had that sort of olfactory experience with a cheap frozen confection before. The cookie part is very soft and dusted with a powdered sugar type of substance, but it isn't as sweet. You can taste this sweetness when you bite into the soft, cake-like sandwich. The way in which the texture of the ice milk and cake-like exterior come together reminds me of the classic combination of ice cream and cake (only without the fork).
The flavor of this really blew me away. The chocolate is much deeper in flavor than most ice milk. It carries just the slightest bittersweet notes. It's not enough to put you off if you dislike darker chocolate, but it is enough to enhance the intensity of the chocolate taste. Like much of the ice milk I have had in Japan, this is very creamy and feels quite similar to real ice cream. The ingredients for this include almond oil, "fresh chocolate" (very soft chocolate which is like ganache or a truffle), and hazelnut paste. I believe the "fresh chocolate" (nama chocolate or 生チョコレート in Japanese) is the small drops of darker filling the middle of the bar which you can see in the cutaway picture. These are all expensive and unusual additions to this type of product and I believe they contribute to the overall quality of the flavor in a highly favorable manner.
For the low price, the good flavor, and the lovely textural combination, I wholeheartedly recommend giving this a try if you can locate it. I had half of the bar at a time to really allow the brilliance of the deep flavor to strike me anew twice. I suggest savoring every bite of this lovely chocolate treat, slowly, and with undivided attention.