Friday, May 11, 2012

Louck's Sesame Snaps

When I was shopping in Tokyo, I never looked carefully at the origin of a product before I bought it. In fact, most of the time, I didn't pay attention after purchasing unless there was a reason. This carelessness about attending to the origin of products is something I intend to continue since I'm really just too damn lazy to bother to investigate where something was made. This is my roundabout way of saying I bought this sesame snap because it sounded vaguely Asian and I wanted to compare it to a sesame treat that I bought in Japan. It wasn't until I brought it home and started writing this review that I realized that it was made in Poland.

The product that I had in Japan that I want to compare this to is Daitii Seika Goma Sesame Crunch Candy. When I had this treat in Japan, I loved it. It would be pretty awesome if I could find something similar to it here. While the two products look similar, the Louck's Sesame Snap is made only with sesame seeds and the Daitii Seika candy is made with peanuts as well as white sesame seeds. This means that there will at least be less complexity of flavor.

I did a little search on the history and origin of sesame seeds because that's the sort of thing you do when you're spending your days in a cabin watching deer nibble grass in your front yard and largely isolated from civilization (as I am for now). Well, it's also what you do when you have a curiosity about food culture and how it developed based on the origins of certain crops. Sesame seeds are thought to be the world's oldest condiment, which I guess makes them more accessible but less interesting than the world's oldest aphrodisiac (which I'm guessing is oysters, or Spanish fly, depending on where you live and whether oysters or flies were more common in your area). Getting back to the point though, sesame seeds came from India originally, and most of what the world consumes comes from central America, China, and, unsurprisingly, India. Japan is apparently the world's largest importer of sesame seeds. Given how many sesame treats I had in Japan, especially black ones, that is absolutely no surprise.

I found this at a local supermarket in the impulse buy section near the register for $1.09 (87 yen). For 40 grams, that's somewhat pricey, but not out of line. I've read that these are pretty popular high energy snacks, so I'd wager most people can get them locally in the U.S. However, Amazon carries them if you want to try them and have no other access and the price is much lower than what I paid, though you do have to buy more of them at once. Note that I am not trying to necessarily toss business Amazon's way when I link to them, but rather that the same laziness that has me not checking the origin of the food I buy until long after it is in my home applies to searching out where to buy things. It's just easiest for me to see if they carry it and link to them if they do. 

These smell nutty, as should be expected. The texture is like that of nut brittle, which is also unsurprising. The sesame seed flavor is fairly smooth at first, but as you finish one of the 4 slabs, it takes on a slightly bitter aftertaste. I don't know if this the effect of the concentrated flavor of naked sesame seeds encased in sugar and glucose or if it's a cooked sugar flavor manifesting itself, but I suspect it's the former.

I liked this pretty well, but it's not the bee's knees of sesame seed snacks. It certainly is inferior to my reference snack, the Daitii Seika sesame treat. The inclusion of peanuts in that snack mellows out the flavor of the seeds and adds a balance. That's not to say this is bad nor that I wouldn't buy it again. Certainly, as a nut brittle, it's a tidy little treat with a nutritional boost. I imagine it'd be especially good to carry around and eat on a long hike or bike ride. One package is 230 calories and the sesame seeds are a good source of various minerals. I'd buy this again, but not if I had a choice between this and the previously mentioned Japanese sesame candy.


Susie Eichel said...

These are delicious! Well I am not sure about this particular brand. My grandmother's favorite guilty pleasure was this sesame snack. She was diabetic so only one bite and I got to reap the spoils. I have only seen them in Spanish packaging from Mexico.

I will have to keep my eyes peeled for some that come from places other than Mexico and do a taste comparison. These will always give me a sense of nostalgia and a twinge in my heart for old grandma play days.

ceb said...

I like the bitterness. Have you tried the dark chocolate ones? They are AWESOME.

dallas hodgson said...

They are! Amazon charges a huge premium for the chocolate ones, buy 'em by the box on eBay or grab 'em at Cost Plus World Market.