I complained a lot about strawberry chocolates in Japan because there were so many of them constantly being put on the market and most of them tasted the same. I'm sure that that has not changed. The thing that has changed is me and my access to such things. It seems a lot less mundane when you're only seeing about 1/6 of what is coming out in Japan and opens the mind to the possibility of such treats being enjoyable. Of course, reality may serve as a teacher of a lesson I should have already learned. The strawberry chocolates are usually the same old formula with very marginal variations, especially from our good friends at Tirol.
I think the main reason to buy these candies is that they look so cool when you line them up.
Nonetheless, when I discovered a variety pack of strawberry candies at Nijiya market for a mere $2.19, I took the plunge. It's not only that it was relatively economical, but that my love-hate relationships with Tirol has grown more affectionate as I've been absent from their offerings for some time. Absence can make the heart grow fonder, or so the saying goes. However, presence may soon make you long for that absence once again.
The three favors in this are all white chocolate based. The main way in which they differ is in regards to the added "twist" flavor (jam, cream, red beans) and the textural element (marshmallow, cookie, gummi). It doesn't require much of their equipment to make such changes since these are all commom ingredients in Tirol's candies.
Funwari Ichigo Jam (fluffy strawberry): The "fluffy" in this is a tiny little slab of marshmallow that is between the sticky dollop of jam and the semisweet chocolate base. This has the best flavor combination with the strongest strawberry flavor and good contrast between the chocolate base and the berry flavor. The marshmallow also lends a certain sweetness, but mainly it's pillowy texture.
Strawberry Shortcake: In the world of Tirol, anything which is "cake" or "cookie" means the same thing. It means that there is going to be a bland little biscuit inside that is surrounded by some sort of flavored chocolate. This always provides a nice crunch and is there for texture only. The chocolate that surrounds this tiny little crackery biscuit is soft and only mildly sweet with a finish that includes a hint of berry tang. There may even be a small hint of cream flavoring, but it's so faint that I may have imagined it.
Starwberry Daifuku: I already reviewed a "premium" version of this, and this one appears to be little different. There's a little hint of strawberry in the white chocolate coating, but more of it appears to be flavorless and slightly tough gummy with a slightly gamey red bean flavor. I knew when I bought this assortment that this would liekly be the "dud" of the mix, but I wasn't going to allow that to dissuade me from trying.
The daifuku is clearly the loser of the lot. I actually like the jam version a fair bit and am good with the shortcake one as well, mainly because I'm a sucker for crispy additions to candy. On the whole, however, with 1/3 of the mix not being to my liking, I don't think this is on I'd go for again.