Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Morinaga Soft Biscuit Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich
Another way in which the dairy shortage has been showing an effect is in the ice cream case. You see a lot more ice milk (アイスミルク), which is often called "rakuto aisu" (ラクトアイス) in Japanese and scant quantities of the real deal with all of its full, creamy badness. The majority of dairy products have increased in price across the board, so finding anything which is both real ice cream and cheap is a rare find.
The Morinaga vanilla ice cream sandwich is one such rare delicacy. It is a full-size ice cream bar (119 ml./4 fluid ounces) filled with real ice cream that is peppered with actual vanilla beans. The wrapper says that the ice cream contains 20% more vanilla bean flavoring than the previous incarnation and 10% full fat milk products and 10% low fat milk products. This bar cost about 100 yen (95 cents USD) before the dairy shortage and continues to be sold at the same price.
When you open the package, you smell the biscuit. It smells pretty much like a cookie with no particular flavoring. The generous portion of ice cream is flecked with tiny black vanilla beans and the first bite reveals strong, natural vanilla flavor. The ice cream is creamy and sweet. This is what good vanilla ice cream should be and the type of thing that would win over a chocolate lover who thinks vanilla is just too boring. It's that good.
The biscuit portion doesn't have much flavor, but that's okay as it is merely a convenient holder for the yummy ice cream The cookie is soft, but not fragile. It has a very good texture for eating a slightly melted bar. It's easy to bite into, but doesn't crumble or fall apart. However, I have purchased these bars on occasion and found they have a crisper cookie. I believe that they are likely designed to soften with a little time as they absorb moisture and fresher bars have firmer biscuits.
The entire bar is 235 calories and contains no exotic ingredients. It's hardly healthy, but it's a very nice treat once in awhile. If you run across one of these amongst a variety of cheap bars at a convenience store, this is the one to choose. You're unlikely to get better quality at a such a low price.