Monday, June 13, 2011
Tirol Premium Shio Pine
Note: It has been pointed out to me that this is "shio" (salt) pine, not "shiro" (white) pine. You'd think that'd be clear from the big white letters written on it in English as well as the Japanese characters, but my addled upper-middle-aged brain missed that. That being said, there is nothing at all that is salty about this candy!
When I first saw this, I briefly entertained notions that it was going to be some sort of white pine flavor, like a pine nut, cone, or tree. I forgot all too quickly that "pine" in this case was "pineapple" and missed the fact that there were a bunch of yellow rings illustrating the package indicating the fruit this was supposed to taste like. This is surely an indication that I do not think in Japanese language, which is no surprise considering the fact that I spend most of my life speaking English despite where I live. Aside from asking, "how much is it", and "where is it," I rarely need to say much in Japanese. Yes, that may sound odd, but such is the life of an English teacher with an American husband. We don't all need to spend our nights trying to pick up natives in Roppongi and therefore have ample opportunity to speak the native tongue.
The fact that this is pineapple in no way disappointed me. I love pineapple, and it's one of those flavors that is harder to get wrong than others even if it is "shiro choco" (white chocolate). The combination of something with an acidic edge to it often cuts through the sweetness. The only way that Tirol was going to mess this up was to make the flavor too weak or the chocolate too sweet.
The chocolate is soft and cleaves rather easily with a knife, something which I value because it makes it easier to get a detailed shot of the interior. Inside, there is a little gummi candy topped with a few bits of crisped rice. Most of the pineapple flavor is in the gummi and lends a good bite and a fairy realistic pineapple flavor. The rice crispy bits add a nice textural contrast to the soft, sweet white chocolate exterior.
This is a tasty little candy that you can pick up at convenience stores now for about 20 yen (24 cents). It's a small morsel, about an inch (2.54 cm.) in diameter, and makes an enjoyable bite or two with a cup of tea. At only 54 calories, it also offers good portion control. If you're a fan of pineapple sweets, this is one that you don't want to miss.