Monday, November 26, 2012

Raspberry and Green Tea Adult Sweetness KitKats

As I mentioned in a previous post, November is KitKat month at SakuraBox. If you're interested in wrapping your lips around a good sampling of Japanese KitKats (5 different ones - pretty much the current line-up of non-regional options in Japan), this is your chance. With the weather finally turning more autumnal, it's safe for them to break out the chocolate, and, boy howdy, they are doing it right.

The two minis that I'm reviewing today are part of the monthly candy box. As full disclosure, I should mention that they send me one of these boxes gratis. You can consider me bribed, or you can consider me grateful for their generosity. I consider me lucky that after years and years of never getting one thing for free for review purposes, I can finally catch a ride of the small gravy train that I'd seen many other bloggers hitch onto.

All of that being said, I should say that how I feel about the snacks SakuraBox sends me has nothing to do with them. I already reviewed their service, which is the thing that directly reflects on them. How I feel about the KitKats is all on the fine folks at Nestle Japan. Today, I'm going to review two of the "adult sweetness" line which I have not reviewed before. The theme of this line is these KitKats are not as sweet as the regular ones. Therefore, they hold the promise of not being as cloyingly sweet as some of the other ones, especially the ones made with white chocolate.

In the past, I have favorably reviewed the white chocolate and regular chocolate ones, so I had high expectations of these ones. Note that, among the regular offerings of KitKats at present, the adult sweetness ones are quite prominent. It's my guess that these are going over pretty well with the Japanese market. This is no surprise as one of the big points that Japanense folks who visit America whine about is that the food is too sweet for them.

The first bar I tried was the raspberry adult sweetness bar. I was really hoping that this wouldn't be painfully sweet, and, happily, it wasn't. It smelled very intensely of raspberry so I was concerned about some strong artificial flavoring, but it actually was on the subtle side. It was ever so slightly tart and had approachable raspberry flavor. The outside was very soft and the wafers were crispy and fresh. This was very tasty and I appreciated that those who formulated it didn't feel it necessary to make it an avalanche of intense berry flavor and went with something that felt more like raspberries mixed into white chocolate.

As for the other bar, I sort of think of green tea as "mundane" in terms of flavors. I guess only someone like me who lived in Japan and was spoiled by the plethora of green tea options would consider a green tea variety "mundane". Sometimes, it is easy to forget that not everyone has had access to such goodies and that, yes, this may be exotic for some folks. After the subdued sweetness of the raspberry bar, I was actually slightly concerned that the bitter green tea might not be sufficiently offset by sugary goodness.

Fortunately, there was no bitterness nor was it overly sweet. There was a nice pure green tea flavor that was mellowed not by sugar, but by milky notes from the white chocolate base. Like the other, the wafers were nice and crispy, but this was mixed with a slightly grainy, finely gritty (but not at all unpleasant) texture in the chocolate. I loved the contrasting textures, and was surprised at how present but not overbearing the green tea flavor was. 

I really liked both of these bars, but found the green tea to be slightly better because I enjoyed the strength of the flavor more. I would certainly recommend either of these for anyone interested in flavor depth. They are absolutely better than some of the overly sweet bars I've sampled in the past.

I have been keeping an eye on the KitKat site off and on since I left Japan, and I'm wondering if Nestle Japan is changing their approach to the market place. While they may be selling weird flavors on occasion, I haven't seen any regular bars that are very esoteric on their web site for quite some time. Either they're not advertising them (unlikely), I missed them (somewhat likely), or they've figured out that too many of the bizarro flavors were ending up in candy bargain bins so they're reducing the frequency of issuing them (more likely). If this is so, this is good news for those who actually enjoy eating them, but not so good news for those who are tickled by dreams of wasabi or ginger ale KitKats.


Me said...

I really enjoyed the raspberry Kit Kat-- just enough tangy flavor to make it interesting. But you're right, I haven't seen any crazy weird flavors in a while. Seems like the US is catching up in terms of weirdo flavors like dragonfruit Pepsi, candy corn Oreos, etc!

Orchid64 said...

I'm surprised at the way people have acted like Japan has the market cornered on unique flavors, but I've noticed that Oreos are around in all sorts of interesting flavors (as are Milky Ways and Three Musketeers). I guess that flavors like gingerbread, candy corn, pumpkin, candy apple, and hot cocoa sound a lot less exotic to Westerners than green tea, kabocha,kinako, and sweet potato. However, as I've often asserted, these are common flavors in Japan - just as common or more so than things like gingerbread, and candy corn.