Friday, November 30, 2012

Bourbon Petit Tart Cookies

I was delighted to discover that Japanese markets tend to carry a portion of Bourbon's range of "petit" snacks. At present, there are 24 varieties in their line up, and I didn't count, but I believe about 10 of them are at Niijiya supermarkets for 99 cents a pack. Since they are sold for 80 yen in Japan, this makes them essentially the same price in both countries (at least at current exchange rates).

The bad news is that the available flavors are, for the most part, the most boring ones. While I'm hoping for the kinako wafers, they're giving me chocolate chip cookies and mini potato chips. The most exotic possibility when I last went there was shrimp crackers. Sure, these are fine things (except the shrimp crackers which are nowhere near fine), but I want something which I can't buy the American equivalent of in the local convenience store. Even the "jam cracker sandwiches" would do as a distraction from the more mundane options, but, alas, they're catering to the limited tastes of the pedestrian American palate (that's a joke, folks, so, please, unwad those undies before making comments).

Oh well, relative beggars can't be relatively choosey, and while they're not exactly exotic, these tart cookies did look like a nice tea time snack which could be eaten in modest portions. For those who aren't familiar with this line, both sweet and savory snacks are sold in small plastic sleeves. They are very tiny crackers or cookies that are a little bigger than an American quarter or a 100-yen coin. Each pack is 1.86 oz. (53 g.) and contains two servings (usually around 50-80 calories, these are 60 calories per serving). The packaging both makes it easy to share and to eat a little and set the rest aside, provided you're going to have a clip of some sort to clamp the top shut.

The cookies are like a cross between shortbread and a graham cracker both in taste and texture. While not as buttery or rich as shortbread, they have a somewhat earthier flavor and a very nice crunch which isn't too brittle. Of course, even if it was brittle, you can easily slip the whole cookie in your mouth so there an no worries about crumbs.

Since this is a "tart", there's a dollop of chocolate in the middle which is slightly firm and soft. This is where much of the interest comes from in terms of the flavor. The chocolate comes on sweet and mellow, then develops into a bittersweet taste and finally seems a bit strong. That assumes that you keep the tiny cookie on your tongue long enough to let the flavor do its thing. I'm not sure everyone has the patience for these and wouldn't be surprised if most people gobble them down in a munching frenzy. Trust me, I can empathize with the impulse, but these do have something going on and are worth giving your tongue a few extra seconds to appreciate the flavor.

While these cookies are not a "must have", they are nice enough for a snack that you keep around in your hand bag or office desk drawer. If you can exercise a little self-control, the small size should encourage sensible portions. If not, the most damage you can do is 120 calories for the whole thing. If you consider that most Oreo cookies are 75 calories for one cookie, this sure feels like a whole lot more cookie eating experience for your calories.

Note that Bourbon has a bear as its requisite cute mascot. You can download colorful wallpapers featuring it if you are so inclined. You can also view commercials featuring the Bourbon bear and lots of annoying music and infantile singing if that is the sort of thing that floats your boat. If not, perhaps you'll enjoy watching the animated bears gathering together all of their treats in some sort of pagan pastel bear ritual in which they finish by gnawing ineffectively at their snacks. There's a delay in loading (at least there was for me), but take advantage of it and turn off the sound before it crawls into your brain and starts scratching on your frontal lobe like nails on a blackboard.

1 comment:

Nat said...

I love these! They are the best :)