Monday, September 10, 2012

Look Green Tea Dessert Chocolate

Occasionally, I like to get off my lazy behind and act like I'm a journalist rather than a slacktacular blogger. To that end, I tried to track down why "LOOK" chocolate carries its particular moniker. Sometimes, there really isn't a reason for a product to have an English name. More often than not, I simply can't find it.

I did discover that the box and logo were originally designed by a famous French-born industrial designer named Raymond Loewy. He emphasized simplicity, hence the "look" of "LOOK". I also learned that the first incarnation of LOOK included coffee, strawberry, banana, and caramel flavors. I guess that rules out each letter of the name representing a flavor in the box (or it'd be named CSBC). If any reader knows why these are called LOOK, please clue me in.

I found these near the check-out counter at Nijiya market. I think it cost around $2.00 (156 yen), which is actually a very reasonable price considering these tended to cost 100 yen in Japan ($1.27). You can get them for nearly the same price that I paid via the Asian Food Grocer. Though at the time that I wrote this post, they were out of stock, my guess is that they will get them back in or at least you can inquire about availability.

You may guess that the brown one on the right is the red bean version.

The matcha parfait smells only of chocolate, but when you slip it into your mouth and allow the softish chocolate to melt, it reveals both creamy notes and a nicely sweetened green tea flavor. I've said before that I'm relatively ambivalent about green tea. I've craved it more since leaving Japan, but it's not something I'm over the moon about. I believe that this is definitely an accessible green tea chocolate for those in my position and I really enjoyed the subtle but present matcha notes coupled with a rich, creamy sense.

The matcha adzuki is even more impressive in regards to the depth of flavor. It hits chocolate, red bean, and green tea notes with the tea coming in "last" in the flavor profile and the others holding their own on equal footing. It manages to insert an anko (red bean pastes) flavor without seeming a bit too earthy or gamey (as is sometimes the case with such sweets, like some of the red bean KitKats).

I liked both of these flavors a lot and was really happy to have bought this. LOOK is a chocolate I tended to, well, overlook (no pun intended, but it is duly noted) when I was in Japan. It wasn't as glamorous and often I just felt that the flavor combinations held too many options that didn't seem varied enough or had varieties that I did not like. If you're looking for something approachable to introduce people to green tea sweets, this might work. If you already like them, this might not be bitter enough for you. If you're like me, then you're going to enjoy this.


ibagoalie said...

Raymond Lowrey, really? Wow! That's some high end designing! Could it be as simple as 'LOOK' pay attention, notice me? Sometimes the simplist thing s work best.

Rebecca Ong said...

I bought them recently too! But was a little disappointed with their packaging for the chocolates itself...:( Mine stuck together after it was in my bag for half a day.

Fannie said...

That looks so yummy! I love your blog and your posts but the funny thing is sometimes you make me want to try something so bad but I can't find it at my local Asian supermarkets or centers. O it looks so yummy though...

Orchid64 said...

ibagoalie: With design, I do believe simple often works better, especially with commercial goods. And, yes, that's a pretty impressive pedigree!

Rebecca: I can very much understand why you were disappointed in the packaging. I was worried that mine would melt if I left them in the car for any period of time and I don't like it when that happens. It really detracts from the enjoyment in my opinion. I think part of the problem is that "Look" chocolates are soft to begin with. It probably doesn't take much warmth for them to melt!

Fannie: You might want to try one of the online sellers since Look is very popular and tends to be available from multiple sources.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment and for reading!

miyazaki said...

I've had some of the other Look offerings and these weren't bad. It took me 2 tries to get which one had which filling..the O and K respectively.

Japanese chocolate doesn't usually offer up much in terms of complexity but they make up for it in creative combinations that are fun!