This review marks a personal first for me; it is the first time I've gone into a store to buy something and found myself crying in the snack aisle. No, there hasn't been a marked increase in the price of chocolate (yet) nor did they take away some much-loved snack. If you read my other blog first, you may already know why. I stood in front of the shelf with rows of sleeved Bourbon petit snacks and saw the kinako wafers (which are heavenly) and thought about the fact that my days of being able to casually peruse and purchase such snacks are now greatly numbered. That's right, gentle readers, I'm leaving Japan.
A deeper explanation is on my 1000 Things blog, but the bottom line is that my husband and I are going on March 29 and don't anticipate returning. Of course, "never say never" is a very good motto, but our plans are not to return. For my other blog, this doesn't mean much as memories are as good as being here in constructing those posts. For this blog, the future is quite a bit more difficult to predict as I peer into my Japan-related crystal ball. I'd like to continue sampling and writing about Japanese snacks, but I have no way of knowing at this time what the availability of such things will be upon my return. This is, in large part, because I'm not even sure where I'll be living beyond the state I ultimately plan to be in (California).
Chances are that I will be making some connections to importers once I am settled. Immediately after I return, my address will not be known since where I reside depends on things I can't be certain of yet (like what university my husband enters). At the very least, I should be able to answer questions about how to get snacks outside of Japan more effectively once I am in a position of having to do so myself. At the very worst, well, I guess I won't be able to carry on with this blog at all, but I'm going to try and think positive. I hope to carry on and hope that, if there is a hiatus while I pull my new life together, that my readers will be patient with me. In the meantime, here's the actual review:
Awhile back, I negatively reviewed something called "Peanut Cream" by Sonton. I wanted to give one of the Peanut Soft versions sold in many Japanese markets a try, but I wanted to try a different brand as one of the commenters mentioned that Sonton was the worst. Unfortunately, my local market only stocked this brand in peanut flavor so I paid my 268 yen ($3.52) and decided to take my chances.
These tubs of softly whipped cream come in a variety of flavors and right next to this one was a peanut/kinako combo that I nearly bought instead of the straight up peanut variety. I decided that I'd rather go for something that my husband might be willing to eat as well because I've got two months left in Japan and 190 grams (6.7 oz.) of this is a bit much for one person to polish off in a short time, especially when each tablespoon is packing 95 calories. That makes it slightly more energy dense than peanut butter and the ingredients make it a lot less healthy. The primary components of this "peanut soft" are peanut butter, sugar, and shortening. This is junk food pure and simple.
As for how it tastes... Well, it's heaven on a spoon. It's sweet, soft, light, and has a nice peanut flavor. It's like peanut butter that is actually "buttery". The fatty texture on the tongue is most gratifying and the sweetness just a nudge away from cloying. The good part about it is that you don't have to use a lot to be satisfied. The bad part is that it's so good that you may want to be gluttonous about it. This is a treat to be enjoyed in moderation, rather like Nutella in terms of how controlled you are about eating it, not so much in terms of flavor.
Sometimes you can buy bread in bakeries in Japan that are spread with peanut cream and this is what they are spread with. I've had such bread given to me before and it is wickedly awesome. I don't buy it myself usually, but now I know that I can "make it" any time if I have a tub of this around. If you see it and want to indulge and throw caution about nutrition to the wind, I can't recommend this highly enough.