Monday, November 23, 2009

Tirol Gundam Chocolates

Gundam is one of those parts of Japanese culture that I constantly see, but never read about. Every Japan blogger in Tokyo has taken pictures of the giant Gundam robot that was set up somewhere in the city, and many reported on the marriage that was done near the robot statue thingy.

For those who are as ignorant of Gundam as I was before I had to research for this post, it's an animated series about big ass robots. It's so integrated into Japanese culture that it has been featured on postage stamps. It is brought to us by the same people who created Godzilla. Gundam has always struck me as a real male interest type of thing, but what do I know? There may be legions of female fans out there who find all of the potent phallic imagery of guns and tall, erect robots appealing.

Displays for Tirol Gundam candies have been showing up in 7-11 convenience stores and I decided to sample one of each flavor. The picture above is of just two of the package designs. There are far more pictures, but only two types of candy. One is American cherry and the other is "white and coffee". I'm sure Gundam fans might want to collect all of the wrappers, but I'm really just interested in the candy itself. These are Tirol premium size candies that cost about 40 yen each and are 1 inch (2.54 cm) square in size.

White and Coffee:

I refrigerated my candies and the white chocolate and coffee one fragmented rather badly when I cut it in half for a picture. It's a pretty straightforward candy made up of white chocolate full of little coffee bean fragments.You can really smell the coffee when you give it a whiff. The white chocolate is soft and sweet and the coffee beans are crunchy and bitter, as one would expect. Despite being a simple combination, it's actually pretty good. The sweetness of the white chocolate is offset well by the strength and harshness of the coffee flavors. This one is 64 calories, which makes it about 10 calories more than the average Tirol premium chocolate.

American cherry:

The American cherry is filled with a sticky, thick cherry jelly. It smells a lot like Cellas chocolate-covered cherries. The chocolate is dark and bitter and the center is sweet, but not overly sweet, cherry flavoring. There's no alcohol flavoring like many chocolate covered cherry confections. The combination is intense, but good. The chocolate dominates just enough to keep any cough syrup notes in the cherry center well at bay. This chocolate was 54 calories.

Of the two, clearly, the cherry is better for me. I love chocolate covered cherries and used to get a box of them every year for Christmas. I might stock up on several of these as a substitute and keep them in my refrigerator for the holidays. I think these are both very good consumer chocolates. I like that both have high contrast flavors and think that fans of either coffee bean candies or cherry chocolates might enjoy them.


Anonymous said...

Gun what.. gun who... huh, huh??? haha
Hey there BFF! "wink". I've only heard of this name spoken twice in our household and not by me..

Marvo said...

I kind of like Gundam because it involves gun and robots. But I kind of hate Gundam because there have been so many gundam Gundam series. It's like the anime that will never die and they'll keep pooping more out.

Gundam is for guys as Hello Kitty is for girls.

Ninette said...

Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog and I wanted to respond to you. Yes, I now realize there are other breads and good sandwiches, but the Wonder Bread and bad sandwiches is what we saw other "American" people eating in our school and on commercials in the 1960s and 70s so that's what thought we were supposed to eat. I send me kids to school with bento boxes and there's much more choices these days. Not just PB&Js.

Orchid64 said...

Marvo: You have a good point about the Hello Kitty for girls comparison. I'm guessing there are more female Gundam fans than male Hello Kitty fans, though one never knows.

Ninette: Thanks for coming by! I appreciate it. As a kid, my family never had Wonder Bread because we were poor and it was too expensive. My mother made her own bread, or bought loaves of frozen dough that thawed and rose and could be baked. It was really good. To this day, I don't like white sandwich bread, and that's pretty much all I can get here.

anonymous: I'll always know you by your BFF references! And I understand why you must remain anonymous. I appreciate your comments though!

Thanks to all!

Molly said...

If you ever make your way to Australia (and you might want to go before you head back to the states because there are very reasonably priced tours available in Japan), you should try the Black Forest Cadbury bar with cherry jelly bits in it.

Your blog continually takes me back to my childhood spent in Japan. I believe your chocolates are from the original series of Gundam and the fangirl in me is bummed that you didn't pick a chocolate with Char or Amuro Ray on it...

ebidebby said...

The American Cherry sounds wonderful! Tirol seems to do a good job with fruit gel chocolates.

Lucy said...

Wow Marvo, how do you explain THIS?

Molly, if I can get my paws on those Amuro/Char chocolates, I'd keep them in a museum-grade display case.

But seriously, the gender makeup of the Gundam fanbase would probably shock most westerners. The concept is highly attractive to both men (bigass robots) AND women (deep characterization of pilots of said bigass robots, and some of the most androgynous looking pretty boys you will ever see).

In fact, I think the fanbase of one of the most popular Gundam series (Gundam Wing, 1995) is almost exclusively female... that, or the female presence is so enormous it dwarfs the fanboys completely.

Anonymous said...

Gundam has typically been a more masculine interest, as other mecha shows tend to be (Mecha are pilotable robots.). But the mecha genre has been becoming more of a girl thing since the 90s after the incorporation of more pretty boys. I'm a woman and I do like pretty males, but these newer shows tend to hold little appeal to me. I like Gundam made prior to the 90s most.

These chocolates look and sound really delicious! And have Gundam attached. I wish I could find them. I would probably hate living in Japan, but it's silly stuff like this that makes me wish I could live there. American culture hasn't produced anything of interest to me in years. Certainly not any candy with any awful/wonderful schemes to lure me. Fail, U.S.!