Today's review fodder comes your way via Candy Japan, a service which provides two surprise packages of candy each month for a subscription fee of $25 (postage and handling included). They also provide translations and descriptions of the items they send on their site and by e-mail so that those who can't read Japanese can understand the surprises they receive. My previous review of their service is here. Candy Japan sent these items to me gratis.
One of these two items, Meiji's "Marble Choco", is a revisit. I reviewed it as part of a "petit" assortment in the past and without having had recent experience with M&M's. Now that I've lived in the U.S. and had access to M&M's for awhile, I find the Marble Choco a much better experience by comparison. This time around, they seemed to have a much stronger chocolate flavor, seemed appropriately sweet, and all around seemed to have greater flavor depth. It's possible that the "petit" version is different than the full-size tube, but I'm guessing it is me that has changed and not it. Note that the current version comes with one of a current series of stickers stuck inside the tube (free bonus).
The Hore Hore Choco is something I have not only not experienced before, but have never seen. It's a kid's candy which has one of the niftier concepts for these things. Last time I had one of these types of things, it was a sticky mess which didn't taste good at all. This time, the taste experience is mixed and the concept is for the Indiana Jones in all of us.
That's a sour lemon gummy, so it's a fake. Also, they don't come out that clean. Like a good archaeologist, you have to, er, "clean" it to get it to look that glossy. You can't see it, but there are kanji (Chinese characters) imprinted on the gummy.
The concept behind this is a treasure hunt. You "dig" into the soft chocolate with a spoon and excavate "treasure" (lemon or orange gummies - to simulate gold, of course). There are five kinds of treasure (pictured on the back and explained on Candy Japan's site), but if you get a sour one, it's a fake. Also, I'm here to say that, if you get a sour one, you're lucky. The sour gummies are fantastic tasting, especially the lemon one.
The treasure listing on the back of the bag.
Though the gummies are pretty tasty, the chocolate itself is so-so. It's on the sweet side and lacking in depth. It's clearly designed more for the textural qualities to allow you to dig into it with a spoon rather than for its taste. It doesn't taste bad at all, mind you. It's a little like soft fudge which hasn't had quite enough cocoa powder put in it. Kids should love it as should adults who absolutely hate anything resembling dark chocolate, but those with more sophisticated chocolate needs will find it wanting.
As entertainment candy goes, I really got a kick out of the Hore Hore Chocolate. I'm 49 and I'm still a little tickled at the notion of pretending to dig for treasure. I'd suggest the next concept be something to do with pirates. I'm sure they can carve a big "X" into their chocolate to mark the spot. If you have a kid in your life, I can't imagine he or she wouldn't enjoy this. It also would be kind of cool to have these on hand for an Indy Jones movie marathon as party favors.
Both of these deserve a "happy" rating, though it's more provisional for the Hore Hore Choco as you've either got to love the gummies and tolerate the chocolate or you've got to be able to tap into your inner child to find it worthwhile.