Thursday, April 21, 2011
Sweet Box Choco Pie
There used to be a game show in America called "To Tell the Truth" in which three people claimed to be a particular person and the celebrity guests had to guess which one was telling the truth. At the end, they'd say, "will the real (name of person), please stand up." In Japan, one might ask that the real "choco pie" stand up, since there are multiple products with exactly the same name.
I already reviewed the Lawson VL "choco pie" which is an actual pie with a smidge of chocolate goo in it. If you go back to the linked review, you'll see that that choco pie does not resemble this one in any way. This "choco pie" is the more common type in Japan that resembles a moon pie, though this one is not like the most common variety because the filling is marshmallow rather than cream.
I found this for 100 yen ($1.19) at Lawson 100. For a box of 5 pies that are about the diameter of a large chocolate chip cookie, it represents excellent quantity for your yen. The maker, Sweet Box, has disappointed me before when it comes to sweets but pleased me when it comes to sembei. My expectations were therefore quite low. Note that Sweet Box's food is produced in Korea, but their products are widely distributed in Japan for low prices.
The box touts these as "fluffy" marshmallow sandwiches, and I'm not sure if that refers to the cake-like exterior or the marshmallow filling, but I'm pretty sure that it doesn't really accurately describe either. The sandwich parts are like a cake version of a graham cracker. It's soft, but slightly dense. The texture is satisfying and the flavor subtle but still quite nice. The marshmallow compliments the modest graham flavor well, but is also on the mild side. Likewise, the chocolate coating is so thin and mild as to be more of an aftertaste than a strong flavor component.
I liked these pies quite a lot, and at only 124 calories each, they are a very conservative treat. That being said, they win me largely by texture (which is a bigger draw to me than taste or smell) and the allure of the graham-cracker-like flavor of the cake/cookie. For those who want a stronger mix of flavors, these will likely disappoint because the chocolate and marshmallow represent so modestly on the tongue. Frankly speaking, these seem to be designed for the palates of children, who don't like intense flavors as much as adults.
I am giving these a "happy" rating because I personally liked them despite their subtle flavors. However, I wouldn't recommend them to anyone who had to get them from an importer or who has a more refined sense of taste. If you're the sort of person who is buying dark chocolates or artisan marshmallows with specks of real vanilla bean in them, this is going to monumentally let you down. If you're the kind of person who is happy slapping a few crackers together and cramming a marshmallow with a slab of consumer chocolate between them and then microwaving it for a minute, then this might be good for you to have around for nights when you feel your sweet tooth aching.