Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mont Blanc Dessert Pocky

If you're not familiar with Mont Blanc, it is a dessert made of pureed chestnuts and whipped cream. You can find many permutations of it in most Japanese convenience stores, markets and patisseries. The original dessert is Italian and is named after a mountain in the alps. Mont blanc (the dessert, not the Pocky) has a pile of chestnut with whipped cream on top and vaguely resembles a snow-topped mountain in appearance.

Mont blanc is one of my favorite desserts so I was very pleased to see this version of Pocky in the stores. In fact, as fall arrives, many chestnut and mont blanc sweets start to appear on the shelves of Japanese stores. It's just one more reason to be happy that summer is over, as if the stifling heat and humidity ending and the cockroaches packing up and leaving Tokyo weren't good enough reasons. The popularity of chestnut sweets at this time of year is linked to the habit of consuming chestnuts in Japan at this time of year less so than to mont blanc desserts, popular as they may be.

Like the previously reviewed orange dessert Pocky, the Mont Blanc Pocky is sweeter and has a thicker coating than regular Pocky. They are also a little more expensive and each individual packet contains fewer sticks. Run-of-the-mill Pocky gives you 5 sticks with a puny coating. Dessert Pocky offers 3 decadently coated sticks. When you open the packet and give it a sniff, it smells pleasantly of chestnuts. The sticks mimic the appearance of the dessert by having a brown "chestnut" colored coating and a white drizzle representing the whipped cream.

The coating is sweet, but carries good chestnut notes, particularly at the end of chewing. I've complained about too sweet desserts before, but it isn't the sweetness that I object to so much as the fact that it's difficult to detect any other flavor behind all that sweetness. The chestnut dessert Pocky does a great job of keeping the flavor despite being pretty sweet without being overwhelming or artificial tasting. This is a balancing act Glico, the company which makes Pocky, did well with on the orange dessert Pocky as well.

Unsurprisingly, the ingredients are very similar to the orange dessert Pocky, including artificial sweeteners to keep the calories down. Three very satisfying sticks only set you back 97 calories. If you like chestnut and are in the mood for something with a hint of decadence, these are really a splendid option. If I allowed myself to buy another box, I think they also might be interesting to try after a quick dip in hot coffee.

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