Friday, February 18, 2011
Meiji Tasty Cinnamon Chocolate
I've been away from the U.S. for so long that I can't remember if products are named with adjectives like "tasty", "delicious", or "arousal-inducing." I may be amused that this has the word "tasty" in the product name when it's not really funny at all. When someone has to tell me it tastes good rather than allowing me to assume it is so, it makes me think they doth protest too much... but I can't remember if it's just a Japanese marketing thing or if all manufacturers name their products in this manner. Perhaps my readers who haven't lived abroad for a little over two decades can enlighten me.
I found this box of cinnamon chocolate for 138 yen ($1.67) at a Lawson convenience store while out for an early morning walk with my husband. We were resisting the bakeries full of fresh pastries, Mr. Donut with its, well, donuts, and all of the other morning enticements. The only thing we gave in and bought was this pack of 6 sticks (36 grams total, 35 calories per stick) of cinnamon chocolate.
My husband sampled this first and remarked that he wasn't quite sure what to make of it because cinnamon and chocolate weren't a natural pairing in his experience, but Mexican hot chocolate preparations often put these two flavors together. Additionally, I've got a recipe for Amish brownies which combines cocoa, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. It's not an alien combination, but these two-tone bars offer a far more potent aspect of cinnamon than either of the aforementioned concoctions.
The chocolate is a dark chocolate with a heavy "bottom" flavor that hits you at the back of the tongue. The cinnamon, though infused into white chocolate, isn't incredibly sweet, but is quite potent. In fact, it remands me a lot of Dentyne chewing gum. Together, these do indeed make for a strange pairing. Imagine eating a dark chocolate Hershey's kiss while chewing cinnamon gum (or while brushing your teeth) and you'll have an approximation of what this is like.
I think Meiji dropped the ball on this by making the cinnamon too overbearing. I love cinnamon, and I even prefer super strong cinnamon but it's important that it have a chance to shine through with the proper background flavor, and this Meiji chocolate is all wrong for this purpose. I'm not sure if I'll bother to finish this box, small as it is, and I definitely wouldn't buy it again. However, this isn't bad enough to qualify for an "unhappy" rating, and my husband said he'll eat the rest even if I don't.