Friday, January 21, 2011
Fujicco Chestnut Pudding
Pudding or "purin" as it is called in Japan, is sold pretty much everywhere here, and I tend to pretty much ignore it. It's not that it's bad, but rather that the flavors tend to be pedestrian (vanilla, chocolate, and coffee) and also I'm not the biggest fan of pudding. There's also the fact that most of these little cups of thickened goo are full of fat and carry a high calorie punch for their size.
This caught my eye at the local Peacock supermarket for 108 yen ($1.33) because 75 grams (2.6 oz or about 3/4 cup) is only 91 calories and it is "kuri" or chestnut-flavored. Granted, chestnut is a common flavor in autumn and winter in Japan, but I never noticed it in pudding before. That's probably because I wasn't paying attention rather than because it wasn't on offer before. I was probably distracted by all of the chocolate in the next aisle.
This is made by a company called "Fujicco" and it was my first experience with a product of theirs. The company makes a vast array of foods for markets including "Caspia" yogurt (greek yogurt), health and diet foods, nata de coco, and vacuum-sealed bags of things which look like they have been regurgitated by a bizarre sea creature. The last item is my way of summarizing "food that is used in Japanese cooking which I don't consume."
The texture is surprisingly decent considering that it breaks up like a gelatinous blob rather than as a smooth creamy pudding. The smell is really quite nice with a roasted chestnut aroma that also brings coffee to mind. It is the roasting that brings about this comparison, not the actual presence of coffee.
The flavor is incredibly good. Chestnut is a flavor that is easy to screw up because too much is gag-inducing and too little leaves you shrugging. To me, this had the perfect balance of chestnut flavor and sweetness with a hint of something that reminded me of the brandy so often used in mont blanc desserts. I truly enjoyed this, and that surprised me.
As a great fan of Mont Blanc, I really loved this. It was like eating just the top off of a pastry except with a bit more intensity and sweetness and a lot less fat. I will definitely have it again, and would recommend it to anyone who is a great fan of chestnut paste or chestnut pastries.