Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Look Chocolat 18
As someone who reviews food in an ersatz "professional" way, I've found out a thing or two about tasting food. One thing is that you never want to eat all of your supply at once. In fact, if you can string out the tasting through two or three different experiences, it's all the better. This is because your ability to perceive flavors is not always the same, and something which is pretty so-so in the morning might be very tasty at tea time.
In addition to when you sample, it's also important to consider what you ate before hand. The cleanliness of your palate has a profound effect on how you perceive the taste of something. This is particularly true if you have consumed a Lawson VL pizza with yuzu koshoo sauce just before eating chocolate. It's bound to leave a less than favorable impression. So, remember kids, a clean palate is an accurate palate!
So, since first sampling of these chocolates was tainted by my occasional penchant for bad pizza, I decided that I needed to give them a second chance. Fortunately, with 18 very tiny chocolates in this 47 gram (1.6 oz.) box, I had plenty of opportunities. When I snapped this up at Okashi no Marche discount snacks, I didn't really pay attention to anything other than the "Look" brand and the reduced price of 79 yen (98 cents). Usually, these come in boxes of 12 for 100 yen ($1.24). I've had good experiences with the Look chocolates that have various flavors in their soft fillings and I figured that these had a chance of being rather tasty.
There are 6 each of three flavors, ganache cream, truffle cream, and chocolate mousse. This is a nice way of saying, "chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate" of varying intensities and bitterness. That's not a bad thing in theory though. Who doesn't love chocolate except for sugar-eschewing freaks and mutant monkey men? In practice, however, I was a little disappointed. The "ganache" flavor is a bittersweet chocolate while "truffle cream" is a milky one with the telltale Fujiya aftertaste. I've mentioned this in previous reviews, but there's a distinctive flavor that comes along with all Fujiya chocolates of all brand types that isn't necessarily bad, but it really doesn't belong there. The final flavor, "chocolate mousse", is halfway between the somewhat intense bittersweet of the other two.
I don't think these are bad chocolates, but I also don't think they are great ones. Keep in mind that all of my opinions about food in Japan are relative to other food in Japan, not in comparison to foreign candy. I think these are actually better than a lot of consumer-level chocolates in the U.S. They certainly aren't as good as the more flavorful and varied Look varieties I've sampled before and if I could buy a box of Dars (which are similar consumer-level chocolates with soft cream fillings) for 100 yen or these for 79 yen, I'd go for the Dars every time. On their own, these are fine, though I really can do without that Fujiya aftertaste, and the serving size at only 14 calories per bite is pretty appealing for portion control. However, compared to other options that are easily available, I'd go for something else.