One would think that I would be in an ideal position to acquire any non-regional Japanese snack food. I'm surrounded by convenience stores for starters. I mean that literally. The closest one is barely over a minute away and within a 10-minute radius of my apartment, there are at least 8 more. One would think Japan was utterly indifferent to energy waste given how many of these shops are running lights and refrigerator cases around the clock. I imagine that if my life were half as convenient, say if there were only 4 convenience stores in easy walking distance, Japan would make its energy conservation goals.
I've also got about 7 pretty decent supermarkets at my disposal (and a myriad of other little shops which sell snacks), and I have a major line's train station not too far from my home which has kiosks and NewDays (another convenience store). I've also got 2 discount snack shops available.
Despite the wealth of opportunities, I could not locate this new KitKat for quite some time. It was released on November 1, and I've been pounding the pavement waiting for one of the plethora of shops around me to stock it. Finally, I found one, just one, remaining box for 200 yen ($2.42) at one of the three 7-11's in my area.
Incidentally, I've given up on getting clear pictures of white KitKats. My camera will not focus on them, but, seriously. It's a white chocolate KitKat. There's nothing special about how it looks.
Mind you, I don't think this is some sort of gangbusters seller. In fact, I think it may simply not be overstocked because of the size and flavor. If you look at the box design, it's a bit on the elegant side and designed to open up like a "treasure chest". There's even a little lock and key graphic on the side. It's becoming clear that autumn and early winter are when Nestle Japan abandons their umpteen releases oriented toward encouraging students and concentrates on the adult market. This release along with the "adult sweetness" KitKat leads me to believe that is so.
Despite my hunting of this particular KitKat, I'm actually not too worked up about the flavor. The truth is that new releases are so few and far between at the moment that I'm interested in this simply because there are fewer to sample at this time of year. Currently, there's a sweet potato "big bar" in shops, which is essentially a repeat release in a different size of the mini sweet potato KitKat I already reviewed. I've also been seeing banana big bars on sale for 59 yen (72 cents) each, which is about half the usual price. It has been slim pickings as of late, especially if I want to continue to turn my nose up at big bags of mini bars like the blueberry KitKats.
This box contains only 10 tiny little morsels that are individually wrapped. This increases my sense that these are for adults. This is the perfect thing for office ladies to open on the table during tea time for sharing and each bar is a figure saving 25 calories. Essentially, they are about half the size of one regular KitKat finger. It's an example of wasteful packaging and extreme portion control at its finest.
When I open the package, I smelled both pungent cheese and the sweetness of white chocolate. This is as I expected since these are 58% Gouda. The flavor at first was of sour dairy. It was a bit like powdered milk then the more cheesy elements hit you. It's not as bad as it sounds, and it certainly isn't as bad as the Tirol cheese chocolate that I reviewed previously. There is a better balance between the pungency of the cheese and the sweetness of the chocolate in play here. It's as if they went as far as they could with the cheesiness and then knew when to pull back so it didn't taste too rank.
This isn't a bad thing at all, but I wouldn't buy it again. It stands out as a unique experience, but it is neither an outstanding chocolate experience nor a great cheese one. It's just different without being gross. If you're curious, and have a few bucks to spare, you could do worse than sampling this, but you may want to make sure you have several friends around to help you with the sampling because you're probably not going to want to consume all 10 pieces yourself.