Monday, August 23, 2010
Kyoto Green Tea (Regional) KitKat
Thanks to my student, who procured the wasabi KitKat and Jizou-san sesame bean cake for me, I have another regional KitKat to sample. This one comes in a different type of packaging than my previous experience with such KitKats. It's in a box designed to have a message written on it and then be mailed to a lucky recipient.
This KitKat was made with special green tea which is a specialty of Kyoto, Japan's former capital and a place which is famous for its old world culture. It's where you go to experience "old Japan". Tokyo is where you go for "new Japan". Of course, this KitKat is made up to remind you of traditional culture with the accoutrements of tea ceremony sitting next to a cup of tea and a picture of shoji leading into a Japanese garden. Suffice it to say, as a Tokyo dweller, I never see anything remotely like that scene. The packaging on this is really quite lovely, particularly with the rich green color used. There are 5 mini bars with 69 calories each in the box. Note that this is a "KitKat Mail" version which you can slap a stamp on and address directly. This box cost 367 yen ($4.26), information I only know from the product page since I didn't personally buy it.
I've had green tea KitKats before, and liked them well enough for the most part. I was sure I was going to find this reasonably good. The big question was going to be whether or not this was different than other green tea KitKats as a result of it being made with special Kyoto tea.
While I expected this to smell strongly of green tea based on the fact that the bar is a much deeper, richer color than the other green tea bars appeared to be, it really didn't have a strong scent. The flavor was also somewhat different from the previous versions. It has a very "roasted" flavor which is deep without being bitter. It's a little grassy, but not as much as some types of green tea. The most surprising thing about it is that it's not too sweet! This is actually amazing for a white-chocolate-based KitKat.
I'm not a tremendous fan of green tea sweets, but I actually liked this a lot. I can't say this is for people who don't like green tea, but I can say it's for those who like deeper roasts of tea and who don't like overly sweet candy bars. For lack of a better way of expressing things, I found this to be very "Japanese" in its taste profile. The sweetness, rich, deep tea flavor, and crispy texture all provided a good balance of tastes and textures. It's quite different from usual KitKat fare, but also very good.
Incidentally, a complete gallery of all of the regional KitKats here. The link includes the word "omiyage", which means "souvenir".