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December 2014
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Japan

Dec
23



Karipori Candy Box

These were a last minute find in the Los Angeles Mitsuwa. I was in the check out line, and I saw these sitting on the shelf, obviously misplaced. Curious, I picked up the box and couldn’t make out what the heck they were. The name and the illustration on the box does little to explain what the candy is. Since further investigation was required, I took them home to the candy labs for a throughout analysis.

Inside the box, there’s a half dozen of individual packets that are colored coded. Half orange, half purple. Each packet holds two sticks, which are crispy and break cleanly in the mouth. I’m immediately impressed with how much fun they are to chomp and am taken aback slightly when I find they have a fizz to them. The telltale tingling on the tongue is really pleasant.

I finally get it. Soda flavored candy.

 

Karipori Candy Packets


Grape: Wow, this is awesome. It really tastes of grapes and/or grape soda with that deep pear/preach, strawberry flavor with the acidic twang to them that you associate with wine grapes. Added to the fizz texture, it sort of feels a bit alcoholic, but thankfully this is innocent and way more tasty.

Orange Soda: Wow, again! The flavor of this is orange soda, spot on. I guess that’s pretty easy to do as it’s an artificial flavor to begin with, yes? This is like eating a Sunkist Orange soda: and good mix of tang and the real zest of orange combined with the fizzy texture. Yum.

A very successful purchase and taste in the dark here. I hope I run across more candy of this variety soon. I’d love to try more!

Rating: Will Buy Again

Will Buy Again

 


Dec
18



Tirol Choco

Dango Chocolates Package

Tirol Choco is a classic Japanese candy. It’s well known as the cheapest chocolate you can buy, in the best ways possible, with each little square available at the store for 5 yen apiece. This makes it an easily accessible candy for many children and therefore it has a big nostalgic value for many people.

Like many Japanese companies, Tirol Choco releases flavors specific to the seasons. These Dango chocolates are meant for spring and represent a traditional Japanese sweet that’s eaten while viewing the cherry blossoms. I realize I’m reviewing them quite out out season, when spring is only a sliver in hope in one’s mind. Still, the flavors and attractiveness of these little squares is not diminished at all by the snow drifts outside my window. I do imagine that they’d taste better watching the sakura, though.

True to the Dango sweets, these come in flavors of strawberry, green tea and milk, with the colors representing the cherry blossoms and leaves. There’s also a small, chewy mochi (a rice dough) in the center.

 

Dango Chocolates

Ichigo: (strawberry)bright carton pink color and immediately smells strongly of strawberry with a tart yogurty tang. This tastes of melted strawberry ice cream. The strawberry flavor is so fresh and real I can’t believe it. I really just feel like i ate a spoonful of Breyer’s Grand. YUM!

Matcha: (green tea) Dark green and very grassy looking. Smells lightly of tea. Flavor is of matcha, so it’s grassy and bitter at first, then it sweetens and you get some milky flavors.

Sweet Milk: White chocolate with vanilla bean flecks. It smells so strongly of vanilla. The flavor tastes of vanilla ice cream. It’s amazing. The mochi center is nice and chewy.

These were delightful little morsels and they went great with a cup of green tea. I am interested now in trying the other flavors in Tirol’s Choco line.

Rating: Will Eat Again.

 

Will Eat Again

Links
Tirol Choco Website


Dec
16



HiChew Golden Pine

It’s HiChew time again! I’ve already gushed in my previous reviews of how much I adore HiChew, so I will spare you that rant again. This version, with it’s wonderful Engrish name, is pineapple flavored. I was just jumping out of my seat when I first started seeing it for sale online this past spring. Thankfully, since then, it’s now in most Asian markets so you can find it pretty easily if you have the mind to.

Firstly, aside from the amusing name, I am really drawn to the packaging of this flavor. It’s much more decorative than the other HiChew packages I’ve seen, and I think the frilly type and imagery works for it. It certainly catches my eye.

Opening the package carefully (so I could save the pretty wrapper!) to find the row of neatly wrapped pieces. They smell faintly sweet, but it’s a soapy sort of smell. I’m a little worried.

The flavor is extremely authentic. The taste is every bit pineapple with it’s sharp juicy notes and that hint of pine-like tartness. This is a little milder and sweeter than the real thing, but come on, it’s candy!

No question about it. I’m in love, and I’m currently working on my stockpile. Hopefully Morinaga will add this to their regular line of flavors.

Rating: Hoard

 

Hoard

Links
Morinaga Website


Oct
23



HiChew Mixed Fruit

HiChew were one of the first Japanese candies I’d ever tasted. And frankly, I was quite impressed. I’ve sort of been on an unofficial mission to taste every flavor I’ve come across. Even when I was over in Japan I scoured all the train station kiosks to see what different kinds were stocked and I’ve lost track of how many kinda I’ve eaten. This Mixed Fruit flavor is one of the most recent releases.

One of the things I love about HiChew is the texture. It’s a cross between gum and Starburst. It’s a nice fruity chew, but it’s more latexy and longer lasting. It’s really built for maximum chew time and satisfaction.

I was hoping that this roll would be a flavor assortment as opposed to a generic mixed fruit flavor. I was disappointed when I tasted one though, as it was obvious that it was the latter.
The chew is a light beige white with a little orangey pink center. The flavor is very strong and complex and I taste every single fruit that was pictured on the front of the package. I get the soft starchy sweetness of the banana first, then the tartness of the orange and pineapple, rounded out but the sweetness of the peaches and then finally the juicy notes of the grapes. I’m immediately reminded me of those Del Monte canned fruit cocktail mixes (and I mean that in the best way possible) and it all I need is a glass dish with some vanilla yogurt and an intensely bright maraschino cherry on top.

Worth giving it a try if you see it! Especially since I don’t’ know how long they’ll be selling it for.

Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again

Links:
HiChew Website (Japanese)


Aug
21



Suika Gummis Package

If that isn’t a gorgeous candy package, I don’t know what is! It was totally on impulse that I grabbed these at the Mitsuwa in Los Angeles. The bright colors called right out to me. Whatever was inside, no matter how potentially nasty, had to be mine.

Thankfully, just as the package’s design suggests, these are watermelon flavored gummis. It’s nice that I can read the Japanese to know this, but I also appreciate the package’s intuitive design to bridge the language barrier and let anyone know what to expect from this candy.

The gummis are so adorable. Really, I had to sit there and just coo at them because they’re so cute. The gummis come in two colors, red and yellow. Each have a wonderful wedge shape to them and a green rind. They smell fresh and fruity and the texture is nice and firm.

 

Suika Gummis

Red: Color aside, this one is watermelon flavored. It’s very juicy tasting with notes of melon and peach (where I think most of the “artificial” aspect of candy melon flavors come from). It’s pleasant, kinda perfumey and very, very tasty.

Yellow: This one is much more tart and apple-like in flavor as opposed to the red ones. These taste more authentic because of the strong apple presence, but conversely less like a melon. I prefer this one over the red.

I think watermelon works as a great flavor for gummi candy and I can’t help but wonder why there isn’t more non sour varieties like this available. Just goes to show that sometimes you can judge a candy by its packaging.

Rating: Will Eat Again

 

Will Eat Again

 


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