Friday, May 3, 2013

Meiji Horohorone Chocola Almond and Candy-san

When I was growing up, it wasn't especially uncommon for girls to be named "Candy". Of course, this was usually short for names like "Candace", but some people just liked to name their kids after confectionery. I guess they wanted a reminder to eat something that would ruin their teeth at regular intervals or were on the cutting edge of naming your kids after food long before Gwyneth Paltrow called her kid "Apple."

If you go to Japan and are, unfortunately, named "Candy", then there's a good chance that someone somewhere along the line will call you "Candy-san". I know that I was called "Shari-san" all of the time, even though they should have been adding "san" to my last name rather than my first one. As an aside, I should mention that those who called me "Ms." would call me "Ms. Shari" rather than by my last name and it always made me feel like I was a character in "Gone With the Wind" (a la "Miss Scarlet or "Miss Melanie").

The reason I'm mentioning Candy-san is that I was contacted by a mail order company by that name and their representative (who is not actually named "Candy") asked if I'd like to sample some of their snacks. Why, yes, I said, I'd love to, and I received a nice package of 4 tasty snacks for review. Before I get to the snack I'm going to review today, I would encourage my readers to check out Candy-san's web site. If you've been looking for a place to locate Japanese snacks at a reasonable price, they've got you covered. I can say this because I've been shopping for such snacks at Japanese markets in Northern California and their prices are competitive with those I've been paying. For example, I bought the Ujimatcha KitKat for $2.19 at Nijiya. Candy-san carries it for $2.03. Most, if not all, of their prices are lower than what I'm paying in shops and their selection is broader, so I hope you'll give them a look. Of course, my treats come gratis so I'm bound to be sweet on them anyway, but that doesn't negate the fact that their prices are lower than what I'm paying at various shops (and believe me, I'm buying the cheapest stuff I can find). 

Getting to the matter at hand, the "horohorone chocola almond" thingy, it was not what I expected from a cursory inspection of the box. I thought it was going to be some sort of crispy shell with a nutty chocolate center. it turns out that it is a tender, floury biscuit which is soft as a cloud hiding a delectable soft almond chocolate interior. The center has just the barest hint of crunchy almonds, but that doesn't matter because its the super soft and rich center which makes it great. It's like gianduja, only with almonds instead of hazelnuts. It is reminiscent of Nutella (and hazelnut paste is an ingredient) but with an almond twist and no pesky need to spread it on something or guiltily lick it straight off the spoon as is the case with Nutella. The flavor of the filling is rich and deep and will leave a lingering taste of nutty chocolate on the back of your tongue.

These are a rare treat in that they are old things that are put together in a new way. I've had soft cookies. I've had this type of filling. I've had almonds. However, I've never quite had anything like these soft little balls of biscuit with a creamy filling. They feel like they melt in your mouth, but also have some enough heft to have a textural hit which satisfies. They're unique, but still quite approachable for foreign palates. 

There are 8 of these to a box, and each is about 40 calories. As far as I know, you can only get these via importers like Candy-san as I have not seen them in local Asian markets. If you're a fan of Nutella or gianduja, I'd absolutely recommend giving these a try.


Shen said...

Great review as always! And dang, it's great to finally have somewhere to buy Japanese treats, haha!

PS. Those snacks look really delicious, but not nearly as eye-catching to me as the Pontevedra souvenir right below them. There's a BIG distance between Jijona and Pontevedra, haha.

Grocery Gems said...

I love Nutella so these look very good to me! :)

Orchid64 said...

Shen: The dish was a gift from my husband's sister. His family roots are in Spain and Pontevedra so his father and sister have been there several times. The dishes are made by a place that is native to that area called Sargadelos (I think). My husband's family has a large collection of their dishes, but we just have that dish. ;-)

Grocery Gems: I'm with you on the Nutella front so I loved them!

gossip_bangkok said...

Thanks for the review! :) I've seen these at local supermarkets, but these sounds interesting, especially when you mentioned Nutella. I'll definitely check these out. Thanks!