Monday, October 4, 2010
Tirol Petit Autumn Dessert Assortment
I've been thinking about the product positioning of Tirol (non-premium) candy in Japan and it occurred to me that they represent the same place in the market as Hershey's kisses do in the U.S. They're small candies that are individually wrapped and can be manipulated into a variety of flavors while still maintaining their essential nature. The main difference is that the Tirol candies are more sophisticated based on their more versatile shape, and have about 10 calories more per candy because they are slightly bigger. Being a Japanese product, they also are more elaborately packaged, of course.
I was drawn to this variety pack of autumn dessert candies at 7-11 (for 105 yen/$1.25) because of the inclusion of Mont Blanc roll as a flavor. All of the flavors have appeal for me, but it's hard for me to resist a sweet based on this chestnut-paste-based pastry. As readers of my other Japan-related blog know, it is my favorite item when I have access to a patisserie. Frankly, I was also drawn to the sophisticated package design and autumn colors as I trudged around in 95 degree F/35 degree C. lingering summer weather.
There are three types of candy and nine squares in total. The entire bag is 314 calories and each is about 35 calories. There is a huge list of ingredients since each one has its own separate listing but nice things like real orange peel, apple puree, and mikan (Japanese tangerine) pulp are included as are a lot of not so impressive things like oblaat (the stuff used for medicinal capsule casings), gelatin, and cornstarch.
Mont Blanc Roll:
This one smells a bit like coffee, but I think it's a misleading olfactory cue. It really does taste just like the pile of creamy chestnut paste that is heaped onto Mont Blanc cakes. In fact, if it weren't for the difference in textures, you'd probably be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this candy and the real deal. If this weren't so small, the flavor may actually be too intense. The pastry has some other aspects with it to dilute the flavor but this is purely the taste of the cream. Still, as a small morsel (about 1 inch/2.54 cm. square), it's very tasty as is. The texture is soft and yielding, but not particularly creamy.
When I cut this in half for a picture of the interior, it was a little tough because of the thick gummi-like interior. It smells very strongly of orange and the dark chocolate coating combined well with the sweet interior. Still, this seemed to have a bit of an orange Tootsie roll thing going on which I didn't simply love. I think this would have been a bit better had it been milk chocolate or even more intense dark chocolate. The orange flavor is the real deal though, and this was fine. I wouldn't buy it alone, but I'm good with eating the three pieces in this assortment and they won't go to waste.
This is exactly the same as the premium apple pie that I loved so much and praised in an earlier review. It's every bit as good as the original with nice chewy bits of apple, a strong hint of cinnamon, crunchy bits of "pie crust" and a white chocolate base.
This is a very nice assortment. In fact, it's one of the better ones that I've come across from Tirol in a long, long time and I would recommend it to anyone who finds the flavors appealing. In order of preference, I'd say that I still loved the apple pie best, then the mont blanc roll, and finally the orange. My husband liked the orange one best, so tastes do vary.