Friday, March 2, 2012

Montoile Mochi Mochi Kinako Mochi

I've been on a big mochi snack kick as of late. It could be that my affinity for the stretchy, chewy textural delights of pounded rice cake have finally lodged in my brain after years of having them. It could be that I have a death wish and like to take risks with my snacks. After all, the two most dangerous foods in Japan are venomous blowfish (fugu) and mochi, which many people choke to death on over the New Year's holiday. Of course, they eat big honking blobs and I'm nibbling on delightful little packets of it full of sweet fillings.

When I spied this package of mochi treats, I snapped it up in no time because it not only is a mochi snack, but is a collaboration with Tirol. For those who haven't had Tirol's reputation written into their memory cells by my copious numbers of reviews of their products, they make little square chocolates with unique wrappers. Many people collect the wrappers and many more pick up their blocks of limited edition "premium" chocolates for sampling. In my case, I can say that I've probably been as disappointed in their offerings as delighted, but I love trying them. It's a small amount for a small investment, and usually a pretty interesting taste experience regardless of how good I believe it is.

This combines Tirol's kinako mochi chocolate with Montoile's "Mochi Mochi" brand. This is a brand which I had not encountered prior to this, but the company makes a lot of this type of small mochi based treat as a shelf-stable snack. They also collaborate with a wide variety of company's including snack cake makers and Bambi caramels. Besides this kinako variety, they make a coffee and "milk" collaboration with Tirol.

Each little blob of mochi is filled with marshmallow and has a core of kinako chocolate. The size of the entire piece is about the diameter of a quarter with a pea-size chocolate center. Most of the kinako flavor comes from the powder on the outside of the mochi, but a flavor burst comes from the center with the kinako chocolate bit. The mochi and marshmallow mainly add texture, but there is also a little sweetness from the marshmallow.

This is pretty good, but hardly the greatest mochi experience or kinako snack I've ever had. I'm not sure that a shelf-stable mochi snack really gains much from having a bit of Tirol chocolate put in the center. That being said, I liked these a lot because I think the marshmallow filling complements the mochi and kinako well. It isn't as good as a "real" mochi snack like something fresh and filled with bean jam, but it isn't a bad thing to have around for a quick chewy bite.

I found this at Inageya supermarket for about 150 yen($1.86) and you get about 10 pieces for that. Each is about 28 calories. I think this is interesting as a novelty, but I don't think I'd buy it again. Oddly, however, I think that,  had I found this back home, I'd regard it more highly. Right now, I have free and easy access to freshly made mochi at traditional sweets shops. Packaged shelf stable treats like this are far less valuable in the face of fresher options. If you find this in an Asian grocer, I'd certainly recommend it if your options don't include fresher versions. It's not the real deal, but it's pretty good nonetheless.

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