Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Morinaga Soft Biscuit Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwich

There has been a dairy shortage in Japan for quite some time now. This mainly manifests itself in a butter shortage. You can't buy butter just any time but rather must wait for those special days with blocks of sweet fatty yellow pleasure happen to show up on the shelf.

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.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the visit Orchid =) I have not had the chance to read your post yet but I wanted to reply to your reply here.. if that is okay because it was so through and thoughtful...

It is so sad Orchid, it really is! Each time I try to escape these women- here comes another! It is especially hard living in Japan- there are many of us here (with Japanese Husbands) but I find myself constantly having to defend the skills I hone or my various eccentric likes with things and gadgets, and food and somehow some automatically consider me a snob- I just like things the way I like them, what makes me happy.

I have friends in their 20's,30's, 40's and so forth and I don't really think it is age but more the person as a whole and how mature or immature they are- I think the person or persons who judge me are in fact being rude and by default I would then judge them as being "insecure", for me I judge myself heavily, and hold my self up to my own criticism, I would consider myself a perfectionist in a lot of ways. I have also often found that "OTHERS" are unable to be happy for me or generally supportive and those, I would not consider my True friends, hell they are not even worthy of being an acquaintance.

I am spiritually fulfilled, happy marriage, happy life for the most part, certain people or things that I am unhappy with are out of my control BUT>>> but I don't think I am emotionally completely fulfilled, and I am not sure I will ever be, to make up for an awful career or lack there of I buy gadgets or I fill my mind with tasks, and school, or take classes at a challenging university. There must be a LOT of unfulfilled folks running around with their knickers in a twist, which reminds me of the days working in Silicon Valley-- don't even get me started there. For the most part I don't really generally talk to the gals who said I was fat at a size 6, but I am most comfortable being underweight than overweight, even if it does sound trivial but I wonder if it is in fact the media and businesses who tell us to think and feel like this- does that mean 90% of the population is insecure and unfulfilled?

I have yet to master how to deal with them, and some are still my friends but I wish people could be honest, I think being honest is the first step toward liberation, a step toward feeling secure. I would not consider my thoughts or feeling trivial or the perfection I hold myself up to because that is what makes me happy and I am doing if for me but I wonder where the line can be drawn? I most certainly do my best not to judge people unless given a reason like you said above, but I have not yet reached the goals that I want to achieve yet but I don't judge others and I hope others don't judge me I wonder if I will ever feel %100 emotionally fulfilled but while I am working my way to that fulfillment I am most certainly not superficial about it, or at least I try not to be even though I like superficial gadgets and things or are they? Fantastic reply, you have given me a lot to think about.

Anonymous said...

Hi, i'm wondering what happens with places like baskin robbins etc, who sell icecream, were they also hit by the dairy shortage, and if so do they sell limited flavours as a result? Just curious. That sandwich bar looks sooo yum, i could eat it off the page!

Orchid64 said...

I don't partake of Baskin Robbins very often, but my husband (who occasionally picks up a pint) says they have raised their prices by at least 100 yen per pint. I think that it's likely that places like Baskin Robbins were behind the lack of dairy in the first place. A lot of the big makers bought up the supply in anticipation of price increases which led to the shortage. I'd guess the parent companies of various premium ice cream products were ahead of the curve on the whole deal.

It's a very interesting question though, and I wonder if they did have to scramble for supplies.

Venus said...

I love this ice cream sandwich. So delicious, and easy to find, when i stay in Japan, this mostly my evening snack, this is the most thing i miss from Japan.

Orchid64 said...

These are so excellent that I wonder why Morinaga never tried to market them in other countries. You can buy a Hershey bar or Kisses here, but you can't buy many mass produced Japanese treats back home.

This is my favorite ice cream in Japan!