Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dars Mint

I wasn't aware of these Dars mint chocolates until they were mentioned to me in comments. Given my love of (almost) all things Dars, I headed off to a local convenience store to see if I could find them. They are new enough that not every place is stocking them, but I located a box at a Lawson's for 128 yen ($1.60).

I snapped up a box from the display case as well as a new Tirol chocolate for review later on and went to one of the two registers. One was occupied with a single customer and the other apparently free but the minute I stepped up to the register, the clerk bolted down to the other end of the counter and fussed around behind the other clerk. I patiently waited for her to return after doing whatever needed to be done. When she came back after about a full minute, the first thing she did was look at me and say, "just a minute please" and went to run off in the other direction. At this point, I figured it wasn't worth the time and I'd put the candy back and try another store. After I picked up my chocolates and went to put them back, she suddenly decided she could actually manage to do her job and accept my money for the goods on offer at the store. How gracious of her... Yeah, service in Japan is universally wonderful, except when it blows chunks as it occasionally does.

That's not a minty filling oozing out. It's water from the knife I used to cut this with so don't get your hopes up.

Getting to the Dars, the thing I love most about Dars is that it is creamy and fatty and unfortunately, that aspect is strangely missing from this. It is much firmer than usual and the chocolate is bittersweet with a good hint of mint which is neither overpowering nor too sweet. I have to wonder if the chocolate used in this is simply not milky enough for the rich, creamy feeling in the mouth that I associate with this particular brand name. Each candy, incidentally, is 22 calories so there isn't much of a calorie reduction coming along with a less creamy experience.

These are certainly nice enough. The flavor balance is good, but, as one of my commenters said, these are not my favorite mint chocolates. For a better quality experience with a similar flavor profile, I'd recommend After Eight mints. That being said, these are cheaper than those particular candies and at the moment easier to locate. The only thing I don't like about these is that they do have the aftertaste that I sometimes experience with Japanese chocolates which are on the bittersweet side. These are not the sort of thing you want to clear your palate after a meal, but rather just to satisfy a craving for mint and chocolate together. Soon after though, I need a cup of tea or to brush my teeth to wash away that aftertaste. I'm giving these a slightly grudging "happy" rating. I like them and will finish the whole box, but I'm not sure I'd buy them again.


Blue Shoe said...

Ahhh, I love Dars, too. Maybe I'll give this mint variety a try. I really like those ones with the light filling...what are they called, Air or something?

Orchid64 said...

I think they are called "Airs", but I haven't had those for awhile. None of the new flavors have struck my fancy, but my fancy is getting increasingly particular. ;-)

Thanks for commenting!

Jisoo said...

Hi,I haven't tried the mint Dars yet, so I can just guess of it from your review. Thank you.
By the way, I am wondering if you also feel the aftertaste of chemical or foil bag like taste and smell from Dars milk chocolate?
I love white Dars so much, but whenever I tried Dars milk, I feel weird aftertaste, though melting is good.
You are a big fan of Dars, so I want to know about it.
Similar to the Fujiya plastic like aftertaste,but the Dars milk feels stronger.
Why? Only me?

Orchid64 said...

Hi, Jisoo, and thanks for your comment.

When I first starting eating Dars, there was no plastic bag. The packaging was different, and I didn't detect any aftertaste.

I wonder if whether or not one detects that is a matter of personal taste, the age of the chocolate, or the temperature at which it is stored. Honestly, I still don't notice that taste, though perhaps it is what I sometimes sense in Fujiya chocolates.