Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tirol Air In Salty Vanilla Premium

The Japanese are crazy about "soft cream". That's the sort of processed non-dairy product that oozes out of machines in family restaurants and Dairy Queens. By the way, does anyone else think that there should be a royal marriage between the Dairy Queen and the Burger King? Okay, maybe not. Anyway, putting a picture of a "soft cream" cone on one of these candies is sure to evoke memories of creamy artificial deliciousness.

The Air In aspect of this means that it is an aerated chocolate like Lotte's Airs. That means less candy for your yen. Given that this is a small, single piece candy, I think introducing air into the equation is grumble-inducing. For those who don't know from my other reviews, Tirol premium candies are about 1-inch square (2.55 cm) candies what are sold individually for about 30-40 yen (about 35 cents).

This was on offer at a local Family Mart convenience store. It's the second "salty vanilla" snack I ran across at the same time. The other was a Sequoia bar. This makes me think we're seeing the makings of the next food fad in Japan.

This smelled strongly of vanilla and white chocolate. When I cut it in half for the detailed picture, it was very crumbly and soft. Usually, the air bubble-filled chocolates are firm and the bubbles provide a somewhat "crispy" textural sense, but this was just soft all the way through, even though I took it right out of the refrigerator.

The flavor at first was intensely sweet vanilla followed by very, very salty. I'm not sure, but I think I actually crunched on a large bit of kosher salt. This was good in that it's the first salty vanilla treat where I could actually taste the salt. It was bad in that the flavors were really intense, too intense. Where most of these sweets are too bland and don't go far enough in laying on the flavors, but this one has gone too far in the other direction.

I wanted to like this and came really close, but it's just too much. I don't regret sampling it because it was interesting. However, I don't think I would go for it again.

Incidentally, Tirol is doing desktop pictures showing ice cream for May as well as have added some new pictures to their previous line-up. If you're interested in downloading them, they can be had here.


Kelly said...

I think the "salty vanilla" fad has been underway for some time, Orchid.

It all started with the vanilla shio kit kat last year, then I saw a Crunky vanilla shio, and Pocky salty white.

I also just picked up a salty praline bar by meiji that I will review tomorrow. So the salty aspect is moving from vanilla through to milk chocolate as well.

I have to say I like the combination of white chocolate and salt. It's sweet and salty has always been a favourite. As a kid i loved dipping my french fries into my soft serve icecream! (when my mum wasn't looking of course...)

I don't know dairy queen or what it's like, we only have burger king here, and their soft serve I like much better than the mcdonalds one.

ebidebby said...

Interesting! It looks kind of like Aero on the inside - bubbles without any real texture, just melty. The three color ice cream variety pack looks neat, too, hope I can track some down!

Orchid64 said...

Kelly: I can only go by when multiple items start showing up in shops and the issue date on the salty vanilla sweets when I research them. Generally, I don't see something as a fad until I see it in more than one place and have seen it for more than a month. Before then, I'd call it simply a trend. The salty/sweet thing started with the chocolate-covered potato chips and salty butter cookies (which have been around since last year around the time I started this blog). I only recently started to see salty vanilla everywhere (starting with the Hard Stick salty Vanilla I reviewed awhile back).

Ebidebby: I've seen that 3-pack around for awhile and have been resisting it. My experiences with Tirol variety packs have been less than overwhelming so I've been sticking with the premium ones instead. I may yet give in, but first I've got 3 premiums waiting in the refrigerator to work with.

Thanks to both of you for your comments!