The next step down the path of reviewing food from my ZenPop box (the "Peach Festa") is paved with things for children. Both of these dagashi (kid's snacks) are made by a company that most people know best for their savory corn snack sticks. I have to admit that I don't recall every having seen the pastel marshmallow barber's pole that is the "softmallow," but I have a hazy memory of the little tiny dorayaki. Since I left Japan six years ago, I imagine I'm going to continue to have hazy memories.
The softmallow looks like something someone would try to recreate on Instagram or Pinterest, and then someone else would try to recreate it and it could be an epic Pinterest fail. It's adorable enough to be snipped into little pieces and be used as unicorn cow pies as part of a cake decoration.
So, the marshmallow has definitely won the remains of my twelve-year-old self's heart in terms of looks, but what about taste? It is indeed very fresh and soft, but soft like a pillow that gives and then rebounds. The marshmallow is lightly sweet and has no other flavoring added, but it is a nice flavor. I'm pleased to say that most of the Japanese marshmallow's that I had in Japan had a strange aftertaste that is absent in this one. The only difference between this and an American marshmallow is that it's less sweet and just a hair more "rubbery," but not in a way which is off-putting.
The dorayaki has an amazing smell that reminds me of freshly-baked cake. The chocolate filling is so similar in appearance to red bean paste that I forgot it was chocolate until I put it in my mouth. The cake is surprisingly moist for a shelf-stable product and does have a more "cake-like" taste than regular dorayaki which tends to be like a pancake which is a bit dry.
In terms of the filling, it's not super flavorful on the front end (the cake dominates), but hits on the back end when you get a little burst of chocolate that falls somewhere between dark and milk. The filling is nicely fatty and adds to the texture to some extent. This was shockingly good for a kid's snack and reminded me of a less cloying version of a Hostess snack cake.