Monday, May 26, 2014

Fujiya Milky Mont Blanc Chocolate

I have reached an important conclusion about the Fujiya brand's versions of chocolate. Well, it's not important in a global sense. It certainly isn't going to impact climate change, cure cancer, or end starvation. It's also not important in a local sense. It won't end the California drought or lower the local taxes. No, it's only important in helping my readers relate to the status of this particular brand in Japan relative to the status of a similar brand in the U.S. Saying it like that sort of undermines the sense of my conclusion having any importance at all, even in my estimation. Oh, well.

At any rate, despite the less than earth-shattering nature of my revelation, I will finally offer it. Are you ready? Fujiya is the Hershey's of Japan. By that I mean that they make sub-standard chocolate products which are popular mainly because their taste is familiar, their packaging and logo can be related to, and their mascot a long-standing icon in the culture. Their products aren't great, but people know them so they like them.

This is not exactly a criticism of Fujiya. I like Hershey's kisses despite their chalky texture and sour milk/yogurt-like flavor profile and less than endearing chocolate notes. You can enjoy something and recognize that it's not the greatest quality version of that item on the market. Bad pizza is a case in point. I love bad pizza because it is familiar to me as someone whose mother would purchase an enormous quantity of bread-like squares with some form of ketchup and vegetable-based cheese-like product on it. It was a fast food meal from our freezer that provided a welcome alternative to the disgusting sloppy mess of canned vegetables, stacks of day-old white bread, and meat stuffs cooked into a grey, tough mass that my mother used her very special culinary skills to create. Yes, I like things because they were introduced to me in my childhood when I had a very different frame of reference.

The chocolates look cute with the adorable little embossed faces.

You may guess from that introduction that this box of twelve "Milky" mont blanc (a chestnut-paste-based dessert pictured on the lower right of the product's box) candies let me down. Indeed, it did. There is a particular flavoring in all of the Milky chocolates which I am not a fan of. I don't know what it is, but it is like the sour milk flavor in Hershey's chocolates. You either like it or you don't, and I don't.

The bigger sin than this weird taste is that the chestnut/mont blanc component, which was the part of this candy which compelled me to buy it at Nijiya market for about $2.20 (224 yen), is quite weak. It tastes a little like caramel at first, but it dissipates too quickly to really detect any greater depth of flavor. Mostly, you're just getting the very soft, fatty weird chocolate exterior. I should note that this is not because it is fake chocolate, or at least I think it's not. Fujiya uses cocoa butter and cacao mass. It also uses vegetable oil and "artificial flavor", which may account for the strange taste that I dislike. This is not horrible by any stretch of the imagination, but I'll turn to this when I'm out of other candy or want a tiny portion (each square is 20 calories) and only have big amounts on hand.

I have to try to remember that I don't care much for Fujiya's products. I buy them so infrequently that I forget and make mistakes like buying this. That being said, the chestnut part would probably have sucked me into buying it even if I remembered Fujiya's freaky chocolate recipe. Besides, if I keep eating it, I may get used to it and actually learn to like it. It worked with Hershey's, after all. 

No comments: