Saturday, January 17, 2009
"Genius" Kyrorochan Choco Balls
The theme of candy targeted toward kids who are studying or taking exams continues in January with this latest member of the "choco ball" family. Choco balls are little pea-sized candies with different fillings and shiny chocolate exteriors. Their mascot changes in appearance to suit the flavor being offered. In this case, he has donned his mortarboard and graduation gown to hawk his candies. Presumably, consuming these will make you feel smarter, or help you pass your tests, or at least assist in the cultivation of a cavity.
Since I'm not taking any tests, I'm mainly interested in how they taste. I was drawn to these because the picture on the outside of the box is reminiscent of malted milk balls. Based on the Japanese description, I didn't expect malted milk taste, but I was mainly looking at the same sort of textural experience as malted milk balls.
The information on the outside of the box says that these are made with grape sugar. In fact, this appears to be a pretty important point as it is mentioned twice (and prominently) on the front. I'm not sure if grape sugar makes you smarter or is supposed to be healthier or what, but it's apparently a big deal. Note that these do not taste like grape in any way.
As promised, the center of these Choco Balls is super crispy. It tastes vaguely of corn flakes though I think it was made with potato as well as that is one of the ingredients. The chocolate is strong and nicely sweet. It's just intense enough to keep the chocolate flavor present even though it is greatly outweighed proportionally by the crispy interior. By the third one, the chocolate gets a bit stronger. Though the interior is a little airy, the center is denser than a malted milk ball. It's not hard to chew or bite into, but it is brittle.
I liked these, but they're a little expensive for a small portion at about 160 yen ($1.76 U.S.D.) per 35 gram/1.2 oz. box. They're also a bit hefty on calories (185 for the whole box) for what is mainly a texture-based pleasure. I think they'd make for nice movie-watching munching because there are a lot of them and the box design makes them easy to fish out while you're focusing on something else and you wouldn't have to really be think about how you should be paying attention to the deeper tastes or complex flavor. If I were in the mood for a super crunchy chocolate treat, I'd buy these again. However, I'm guessing they'll be gone after exams are over.
Incidentally, eating these didn't make me feel any smarter, but it did make my teeth hurt a little, so let's hear it for new cavities.