Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Hazelnut Chocolate Daifuku
Having one good experience with a Japanese snack will often lead me to become more adventurous with all snacks made in the same general mold. The experience I had with Lotte's Yukimi Daifuku ice cream, tiny balls of creamy vanilla goodness wrapped in soft stretchy mochi (pounded rice cake). If vanilla ice cream was good, hazelnut chocolate had at least the promise of being better.
This product is made by one of the "faceless" little companies that help fill the shelves and cases of 100 yen shops and "konbini" (convenience stores). The company is Daiichi Syokuhin and makes a lot of low quality ice milk products, including a vanilla bar that I reviewed unfavorably before and a chocolate one that I liked. I've seen a lot of their products and pondered trying them just because they look pretty good, but I always know deep down that the chances that they're going to be worth the added fat cell size is unlikely.
I found this package of two (60 ml.) balls of ice milk at Lawson 100 for 100 yen ($1.20). I did so fully aware that ice milk was unlikely to live up to ice cream, but I have had some pretty good experiences in Japan with ice milk. I'm sorry to say that this wasn't one of them. The texture was not very fine and you could detect some of the ice crystal structure that comes from too much milk and not enough fat (or not enough blending).
This was less of a problem then the fact that the chocolate flavor was extremely weak and the hazelnut completely undetectable. Mainly, there was a bit of a coconut flavor, some sweetness, and coldness and texture. The mochi covering was nicely sweet and stretchy, but so thin as to lend little more than a flexible wrapper for the ball of ice milk.
Each serving of this is only 87 calories, and certainly this offered the potential for a good portion-controlled bit of ice milk, but it just wasn't that good. It wasn't bad at all, mind you. It really needed either stronger flavors or better texture (or both) to make it a winner. I ate half and my husband ate the other, but neither of us would have it again.