Friday, August 24, 2012

Nestle Crunch in Japan (product information)

When I was a kid and went trick-or-treating, I was always delighted to get a Nestle Crunch bar from the houses at which I was begging for candy. I was generally slightly less happy with a Hershey's Krackel. I don't think that was because it was inferior. I believe both bars are pretty mundane consumer milk chocolate (meaning too sweet, very milky, and with weak flavor depth), but I tended to get Krackel's from cheap asses who bought miniature bars. Of course, it was better getting a tiny Krackel than getting saddled with a dark chocolate bar from the same assortment that Hershey sold at that time.

I can't recall when Nestle Crunch started showing up in Tokyo shops on a regular basis, but I can say it wasn't around when I arrived there in 1989. I can also say that I never personally saw a full-size bar and only saw bags of minis for sale. The classic foil-wrapped full-size bar which is similar to a regular chocolate bar, but with the textural bliss of crispy rice puffs, seemed not to be offered to the Japanese market. 

I remember trying a regular Crunch bar once in Tokyo, probably within the last 5 years, and I was very disappointed. I don't know if the Japanese one was different, or if something which suited my childhood tastes failed the test of time, but it seemed very "blah". I tend to think that it was really that they were never that good, but kids have very different tastes than adults.

Currently, Nestle Japan only sells minis of their venerable Crunch bar. They're offering three flavors including a salty version. The salty version came out late last month and is clearly a response to the summer heat. As is logical, salt is a big part of getting through the sweaty months. In Japan, eating cucumbers encrusted with large salt crystals is common, as is salting your watermelon (note: I think these things don't only happen in Japan, just that's a part of seasonal custom there). Nestle recommends that you freeze these for maximum enjoyment. I think that people might want to do that just to keep them from melting in the current heat (which I hear second-hand has been pretty terrible).

Of course, as required by law, there is also a strawberry crunch <yawn>. I think that they are probably melting down the billions of unsold strawberry KitKats that I refused to sample when I was there to make these Crunch bars.

Each bag of minis costs 525 yen ($6.70) and the two flavored varieties have 20 bars in each and the plain has 22. I guess a few spare bars are supposed to make up for perceived boredom. If I were to happen across these. This is the sort of thing I would not have bought back in Tokyo because I hated the idea of buying a whole bag of minis when I wanted to try just one bar. Even if I could pick up one bar though, only the salty one would be of moderate interest. If anyone on the island has tried the salty version, please share your thoughts. 


Susie Eichel said...

You are right the quality of chocolate is low what I like, even as an adult is the crunch factor. The change in texture is great, I would rather that over plain chocolate. I also like Hershey's Cookies n Cream bar because of the crunch but that's not real chocolate.

Anonymous said...

I used to love crunchy-rice candy bars when I was 4 or 5, but somehow I started to really dislike them within a few years. Then in college I discovered Ritter Sport's "Corn Flake" flavor, which turned out to be the perfect substitute.

Orchid64 said...

Susie Eichel: I also love the crunch, but these days, I'm also good with smooth chocolate (letting it melt on my tongue is always an awesome experience). I think my tastes have changed as I've gotten older and I prefer smoother, fattier tastes than I used to.

hisjournal: I haven't tried a Ritter Sport chocolate in ages. I think I bought one which tasted funky in Tokyo a few decades ago and wrote it off. I should revisit it.

Thanks to both of you for commenting!

Anonymous said...

Actually the Japanese Crunch chocolate is made in Brazil. It took a while for those loads of Nestlé chocolate arrive in Japan, I guess. That's why the Japanese chocolate tastes like "blah", it isn't "fresh".

Orchid64 said...

Interesting! That would explain it! Thanks for the information.