Monday, March 7, 2011
This confection fell into my hands via the generosity of one of my husband's students. I found out the price online and it is 350 yen for a 5-slice package. Each piece is about 6 cm x 2 cm (2.3" x .8") and relatively dense. When my student gave this to my husband, she said that she had heard that it was very good, and my searches online revealed that it is pretty popular among many Japanese folks. One of the promotional points is that it contains ingredients originating from Hokkaido. Hokkaido is in northern Japan and well known for being too damn cold for most Tokyo-ites to bear, but also for its agricultural products including its butter and dairy.
You can see that the interior looks moist like a fudge brownie from the pictures, but actually it's oddly both dry and moist simultaneously. The chocolate flavor is neither deep nor weak and the texture is crumbly but dense. It's like a brownie that has been somewhat vacuum desiccated. That is not a bad thing, mind you. I think that the lack of moistness is related to the reduced sugar content. This is not an incredibly sweet cake, and I rather liked that. My husband, however, was not a fan. For him, it wasn't "potent" enough either in terms of the sweetness or chocolate intensity. I rather liked the texture, especially with a hot cup of tea or coffee.
I ate 4 of the 5 pieces of this (not all at once, mind you, I'm not a hog) and I enjoyed them, but I'm not sure I'd personally purchase it. I would certainly welcome it as a gift should we receive it again, however. For me, the bar on non-cookie-baked-good-based snacks (say that five times rapidly) is higher than on other things. This is because I am capable of making very impressive brownies, cakes, and muffins on my own and I have better control over the ingredients and outcome. The main "problem", small as it is with this particular product, is that the preservation technique impacts the texture. One of the reasons this is a bit dry (yet still fatty) is that that means it can stay edible in its foil packaging for a longer period of time.
I'm giving this a happy rating because I think it's good, but I'm offering that rating with a caveat to readers. Don't expect this to be a fudge brownie or a fresh bar cookie experience. If you like not particularly sweet and somewhat dry brownie-type confectionery, this will suit you. Otherwise, you may be disappointed. For 350 yen though, and given the state of baked goods in Japan, this isn't a bad option if you're jonesing for this type of thing and don't have your own oven.