Monday, May 16, 2011
Tiramisu KitKat Mini (Quick Review)
Thanks to the earthquake, I'm going to start a new type of review. No, I'm not looking to dash off a quick review between tremors or before the bookshelf crashes down on me. The truth is that the earthquakes have lessened in frequency as of late, much to my great relief. However, economic circumstances as a result of the quake have reduced my husband's income and I have taken on a part-time job to make up for some of the shortfall.
Working two more days per week (which leaves me working 5 days a week like "normal" people) means I have less time to write reviews and other blog posts. I find myself faced with a choice and that is to either reduce the frequency of posting or to write some shorter reviews once or twice a week as necessary. Fortunately, I've also found that there are some snacks which require very little in the way of commentary anyway so it's all for the good. In fact, KitKats are ideally suited to short reviews since there is little to say about them beyond what they taste like. They're all the same format (wafer + chocolate of some ilk) and require no history or research. So, thanks to the Great Tohoku Earthquake, you will now receive "quick (aka brief) reviews". You may thank the shifting tectonic plates at your earliest convenience.
I saw these tiramisu KitKats for the first time a few days ago at New Days convenience store. They were being sold as part of a medium size bag with a "half and half" assortment. That is, half plain chocolate KitKats and half tiramisu flavor. I've still got plain mini KitKats on hand and didn't want to spend more for something which I didn't want half of so I cased the local 7-11's until I found one with a box of single minis on sale for 42 yen (52 cents). That allowed me to sample this without the delicious chocolate ballast. Note that the box I bought this from was pretty decimated, and only the second 7-11 had them for sale in this fashion. If you want to try a single bar, you may have to search around a bit for the right shop.
The advertising on the package says "cheese plus coffee harmony". I'm not so sure anyone feels coffee pairs well with "cheese", though this is supposed to be mascarpone, which is relatively bland. This is supposed to be .2% coffee, and 1.2% cheese, which I guess makes it 98.6% chocolate and wafer. It's the average body temperature of chocolate, I guess.
The white chocolate-based bar (the bar is white, I'm not taking pictures of KitKats anymore as they all look the same) smells strongly of coffee. There's also some weird artificial flavor that reminds me ever so slightly of rubber which I imagine is the cheese. On the second bite, this develops more into a somewhat gouda-like flavor. I wish I could say I was surprised that the Japanese version of a tiramisu would include a flavor which is too pungent, but it's actually what I expected. You learn a few things after a few too many experiences with "cheese" sweets flavored like cheddar instead of cream cheese.
This is a bizarre little bar. It has complex flavor which comes through with depth and intensity. The coffee flavor is bitter, strong, and well-balanced by the sweetness. The cheese flavoring tastes different with every bite and by the third bite vanishes into the coffee. The first bite was rather unpleasant, the second strange, and the the third pretty good. It's hard to render a verdict based on this experience but I'd recommend curiosity seekers who have access give it a try, especially if they like coffee. I wouldn't recommend, however, that you buy the whole bag of minis nor that you pay an expensive import price. As a curiosity, this is okay, but I wouldn't buy it again.