Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Tirol Sakura (Cherry) Mochi Premium Chocolate
When I saw this little square of chocolate for 30 yen in a Family Mart convenience store, I was happy to see another "mochi" version of a Tirol candy. For those who don't know it already, Tirol sells small square candies either as part of variety or multi-packs or "premium" candy in 1 inch square (2.54 cm) sizes. The ones in the variety pack are about the same volume as a Hershey's Kiss, perhaps a bit bigger. The premium ones are about 1/3 larger than the small versions and sell for 30-40 (about 35-40 cents) yen each.
I'm pretty sure that this newest flavor was released to cater to the Valentine's Day buyers as well as get a leg up on spring-themed treats since "sakura" is cherry and cherry blossoms are all over the package.
The premium candies are molded with different designs on them. There are only 5 picture designs, a rocket ship, house, clock, car, and an airplane, and a basic checkerboard pattern. I think this is a good reflection of the fact that the companies earlier offerings were geared mainly at kids, but I believe the premium flavors may be equally oriented at the adult market, particularly the sweets hungry "office lady" (OL) crowd.
The top of the candy is pale pink tinted white chocolate with what I'm guessing are supposed to be little specs of cherry. The base appears to be regular milk chocolate. Inside, is the "mochi" gummy center which is a brownish blob. I was disappointed that there was no flavored "sauce" on the top as there has been in some other Tirol premium candies.
The candy smells like cheap cherry-scented perfume or air freshener. It's not a good smell. Unfortunately, it tastes like overly sweet cheap cherry perfume or soap. The coating is soft and carries all of the flavor. The chewy gummy center doesn't have much taste at all.
This was really quite dreadful, and a huge disappointment. I'm pretty tolerant of strong flavors and tend to favor them over bland ones. I also like cherry quite a lot, but this was a real failure in flavor balance. This is probably one of the worst things I've ever had and tops the Oshiruko KitKat as my most disliked snack food. I guess that means I'd rather eat a moldy sock over a bar of soap, not that that's a competition I'd relish taking part in.