Monday, August 2, 2010
Meiji Orange and Bitter Marble Choco (50th anniversary)
These candies were released on July 7 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Meiji's "Marble Choco" brand. I am concluding logically that it is the product's anniversary, and not Meiji's since the company if much older than 50 years. Meiji's web site doesn't make it easy for me to research this type of special release. Doing a search on any of the key words leads me to nothing but dead ends. You'd thinking they'd want to shout a little louder about something which has survived shifting consumer tastes for as long as this has, but no, I get no results when typing in "orange & bitter" (in Japanese) and only get taken to the regular "marble choco" pages when typing the product name in in Japanese.
I'd like to take a moment here to say that one thing I have learned as a Japanese snack reviewer is that I hate the manufacturer's web sites for the most part. Most of them are full of flash animation and yield no or few results on searches (either via search engines or Google). Most of the text is embedded in graphics so key words aren't available. It's horrible design both in terms of load times, gummy animations, and searches and I wish the Japanese manufacturers would get with the program. Unfortunately, I know from experience working in Japan that most of the "higher ups" just pay some other agency to do these things and have no understanding of the value of text-based information over graphics-based information. The web site and graphic-making agencies do what is easiest for them and what everyone else does. Consumer needs are tertiary, when they are considered at all. It's all about style over substance.
I picked these up at Okashi no Machioka for about 120 yen ($1.38). It's a small box at 30 grams (1.05 oz.), and rather caloric at 160 calories for 24 candies. Being a "marble chocolate" (aka M & M's), they don't smell like anything. Biting into one causes the entire candy to fracture so I couldn't get an interior shot which was worthwhile, but they do look like the illustration on the box. That is, orange-flavored chocolate on the inside with a thin inner coating of brown chocolate surrounded by a candy shell.
My first bite reminded me of the same flavor as the orange M & M's that I reviewed previously, but by the start of the third candy (I ate 6 at once for this review), the bitter notes and a deeper orange flavor came through. I think it takes awhile for the tongue to start to perceive these subtler notes as compared to the immediate sweet orange flavor.
I liked these, but I think they'd be more enjoyable if you're the sort of person who is inclined to eat the entire box at once and therefore really allow the flavors to develop on your taste buds. I'm not the type to gobble down too much at once, but I'd still probably buy these again if I was in the mood for orange chocolate or M & M-style candy. These are definitely going to be a limited edition, but they'll probably be around for at least 6 months. I haven't seen them at many shops though, so you may have to hunt a bit to locate them.