Monday, August 27, 2012

Hiramile Lemon Candies

Every time I go into Safeway, I make a quick stop at the back of the store in order to explore their shelves with items that had been knocked down in price. The items that are placed on those shelves are cut in price by 50% and I've actually gotten some nice bargains there on non-food items. This situation is in stark contrast to my experiences in Japan with discounts at markets. They were always pathetic reductions that allowed you to save between 8 and 20 yen (10-25 cents) on things like "Mickey's Super Happy Cookie Substance" (© Disney Corporation).

"This town where we find peacefulness and refreshment... In order to enjoy a better quality of life, I always return here."

This hiramile candy comes courtesy of a 33% discount from the Daiso Japan. Instead of being $1.50 (118 yen), it was only a buck (79 yen). It also didn't hurt that it is a citrus candy and I have an immense fondness for all Japanese citrus products. And the icing on the cake was that it had one of those quaint and strange sayings written on the front of the bag.

I had never heard of hiramile lemon before, but through the magic of the internet, I learned that it refers to something called "citrus depressa". I must say that that is not an encouraging name for a fruit.Why not "citrus euphoria" or "citrus orgasma"? The name actually appears to refer to the flattened appearance of the fruit rather than the emotional status of its future consumer. It's a physical depression, not the sort that you need to take Prozac to deal with.The front of the bag in Japanese uses the Okinawan word, shiikuwaasaa, and there's a map of Japan showing you that region. It's important to know where your hard candies come from.

Incidentally, I'm well aware that my readers are probably about as enthusiastic about the idea of hard candy as they are at finding a dish of fused ribbon candy at grandma's house. I know you'd rather be reading about KitKats and weird Pepsi flavors, but the best way to get a good sense of a citrus flavor is through this sort of candy. In other presentations, it's likely to be diluted, and, as I said, I like Japanese citrus a lot. Besides, I've done about a hundred reviews of KitKats and you can go read one of them if you're in need of such content. By the time I had left Japan, one KitKat was blending into another into a chocolate wafer filled transporter accident that would make even Mr. Spock cry. 

As for the candy itself, the taste is sweet and has a lightness to it. It has the sense of lemonade, but without the strong tartness. There's a hint of a grapefruit flavor in addition to mild lemon which gives it a nice depth. Though the fruit itself is supposed to be very sour, the candy lacks much of a bite. That doesn't mean they are bad at all. I liked them because I liked the mellow grapefruit/lemon blend with what seemed like some of the sweetness of orange tossed in for good measure, but if you like super sour candy, this is not for you.

I enjoyed these candies, and my only reservation about them is that they are made with sugar, corn syrup and citric acid. This doesn't mean much in terms of calories as they are only 20 calories each, but it does make them a bit of tooth enamel consumer. I don't like to suck on sugary candies too often because I know it can lay waste to your teeth if you're not careful. Still, as something occasional that I enjoy followed by a glass of water, I'd buy these again.

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