Friday, January 27, 2012
Lotte Fresh Chocolate Yukimi Daifuku Ice Cream
Remember on Monday when I said winter is the time for chocolate? That applies to ice cream, too, though I'm guessing that this is not due to a lack of refrigeration in the supply trucks as I speculated about other types of chocolate snacks in the previous post. Maybe chocolate is a winter food because it tends to make you fat if you eat a lot of it and being fatter when it's cold provides much needed insulation and padding on the posterior for those who park themselves under the kotatsu for warmth.
The fact that all of the chocolate comes out to play in winter coupled with the fact that it's about a million degrees and there is sauna-like humidity in summer make me feel that, if you're going to come to Tokyo, winter is definitely the time. Sure, if you're a big sissy about a little chill in the air, you might find it less than optimal, but the chocolate, which all appears to be marketed as "limited edition" is worth wearing a scarf and bringing a big coat along.
Yukimi daifuku is a dollop of ice cream (or sometimes, ice milk) wrapped in a thin mochi (pounded rice cake) shell. The mochi is stretchy and fairly flavorless and provides a nice textural contrast to the soft, creamy ice cream. These are usually sold for about 100 yen ($1.24) for two small (47 ml.) balls of mochi-wrapped ice cream. The outside is dusted with flour or starch to keep them from sticking to the packaging, but it has no effect on the eating experience. Each is 92 calories and I split this with my husband. They are best when you allow them to sit for several minutes to allow the ice cream to soften a bit. That reveals more of the creamy nature and for a better texture.
The chocolate flavor comes mostly from the dollop of bittersweet syrup at the top/bottom of the little ball of ice cream. The mochi is brown, but doesn't seem to have any more flavor than standard mochi (which is to say, very little). The flavor is very good with a deepness to the chocolate that you don't always find in cheap consumer-grade ice cream. The unique part, of course, is the outer wrapper which adds a lovely textural quality. Lotte has a technique for keeping the mochi soft while still being frozen which makes this very similar to eating fresh daifuku.
This is my second encounter with Lotte's daifuku ice cream and it did not disappoint. My previous experience was with the vanilla variety which left a very favorable impression on me. This one similarly did so and I am keen to try all flavors on offer through time. If you have an Asian grocery that stocks these or live in Japan, don't hesitate to try these. They are delicious, unique, and provide excellent portion control.