Sunday, October 26, 2008

KitKat Mini Caramel Purin Flavor

The Japanese don't celebrate Halloween, but they have all the trappings of wanting to do so. Scary television programs are scheduled in line with the holiday. Some shops sell decorations and many of them sell candy as if kids were going to be going door to door begging for sugary niblets. The bag of mini KitKats pictured above has all the earmarks of being the sort of candy you'd buy and pass out when kids in costumes ring your doorbell. However, no kids are going to go out and mooch for candy in Tokyo on October 31. It simply isn't the sort of thing the Japanese would do.

The bag design for these Kitkats has ghosts, witches hats, stars, bats, and a pumpkin on it and is in traditional Halloween orange. The individually wrapped small bars inside also have a similar theme. When you open the bag, you smell artificial caramel immediately. This was a bad sign in my opinion. If the sealed packets can't contain the smell, how strong must it be?

After opening a packet, I was heartened to see that they are covered in milk chocolate rather than white chocolate. That means that the coating probably is just regular milk chocolate and not infused with the artificial caramel purin flavor. Despite the intense smell, the bars themselves have a good balance of smokey caramel purin flavor and chocolate. Purin, by the way, is really just custard with a burnt caramel sauce on top of it (like flan or créme caramel). This bars taste exactly like one of those custards covered in milk chocolate and the taste is quite enjoyable. I'm guessing they succeeded because the flavoring is kept in the cream between the wafers where it belongs rather than mixed in with the chocolate.

One side note about the mini bars is that they seem to melt quickly when you hold them. I'm not sure why the melting point of these should be so low, but I'd recommend refrigerating them. Room temperature bars will melt on your fingers and make a mess.

There are about 14 or so little individually wrapped bars in one bag. The packets all have different messages on them. One of them said, 'Halloween is the time when children's dreams come true.' I'm guessing a lot of Japanese kids dream of not learning thousands of Chinese characters or cramming for brutal rounds of entrance tests more than candy, but I'm thinking such dreams are unlikely to be fulfilled.

I don't believe you can buy this flavor in a "single serving" bar size, but it could simply be that they are not sold in that form in my area. Each bar is about half the length and about the same width as a conventional Japanese KitKat bar. There are 66 calories in one mini bar. If you'd like just a little something sweet, they're just the right size.

While I wouldn't rate these higher than a classic KitKat, they are definitely one of the better flavored variations that I've encountered lately. If you want a change of pace, or want something you can share around the office, these would be a good choice.


Here are other reviews of this bar which you may enjoy:
badmoodguy in paradise: Nihonjin Nibbles: Halloween KitKat and Jen's KitKat Blog.

The Japanese Snack Food Review


Unknown said...

I love me some Kitkats! Those are so cute. :)

Orchid64 said...

It's nice how some of the guilt of eating these is mitigated by their tiny size. ;-)

If my readership ever grows, I'll hold a contest of some sort giving away an assortment of Japanese KitKats.

Thanks for commenting! :-)

Anonymous said...

I prefer the non-halloween purin mini's that had the white choco. They were so yum. These ones are nice, but i do n't really think it's a "smoky" purin flavour..

I guess the reason why they might put out something like this for halloween is because there are alot of americans living in japan who have japanese families, maybe their kids are trick or treating, or celebrating the festivals from home.

ebidebby said...

You can buy the individual servings for about 40 yen in some stores, but they are the mini ones. I really liked these! Plus, my husband won a bag of them from a UFO catcher on the first try, so we only paid 100 yen for the bag!

Anonymous said...

Oi! I guess we didn't much like these when we tried them out. The caramel had a pretty artificial taste to it which was really off putting. Thanks for cluing me in about the custard fella...wasn't sure what that was about and J-List (where we got these) didn't list the purin part of the flavor.

the soul of japan said...

These ones are the best!