Katjes are quickly becoming one of my favorite licorice candy companies. There hasn’t been a single variety of theirs that I’ve tried to date that I didn’t enjoy. It’s sad that the main place I find a good stocking of their candies is Cost Plus World Market, and sadly there’s none of them in my neck of the woods. Saddness. So I always do my best to stop into one when I know I’m going to be close by.
Katjes means “little kitten” in Dutch, and I have to say that’s pretty cute! Katjes, according to their website, says they’ve never used artificial colors in their licorice in 20 years. Pretty sweet! They also have an addictive “licorice chooser” on their site which allows you to pair flavor and texture to find the idea licorice for you. I’m smitten!
So my last trip to a Cost Plus World Market I found this bag of Lakritz Batzen. I have no clue what the title says, but I saw licorice and had to nab it to try it.
This licorice is sweet and soft. The pieces are like gumdrops that are round on the sides but flat on the top and bottom, like a fat button. They’re covered in a granulated sugar and are a nice black color. They smell woodsy and herbal, like good licorice should. The texture is indeed soft, the pieces are squishy when you chew them and dissolve easily. I prefer to suck on them for a bit before I chew, as the flavor lasts longer that way. The flavor is very nice as it has a sweetness to it with lots of molasses flavors mixed with a licorice taste. It’s not too herbal or medicinal tasting. It’s just…right. A nice licorice for beginners and for those who love it in any form.
I’m so smitten with these, and my boyfriend loved them even more than I did. The bag disappeared so fast which left both of us wishing for another.
Links Katjes Website
Continuing on with my reviews of all the Japanese Kit Kats I’ve acquired in the past couple of months. I’ve been following (and tasting!) the Japanese Kit Kats for a few years now (since 2006) and I have to say I’m impressed with the new and fun flavors they keep coming out with. When I began it felt like I was limited to green tea, red bean, strawberry and maybe soybean thrown in there. Now the flavors reach all over and I really can’t say what to expect next. I like that.
I was immediately interested in this Kit Kat when I first laid eyes on it online. I think the only other Kit Kat that got me so excited were the Pumpkin ones that came out for the past two Halloween seasons. I love sweet potatoes, so I was horribly curious as to how they’re lend themselves to this candy.
First, the sweet potatoes shown on the box is a type of dish called daigakuimo where Japanese potato/yam chunks are fried, then covered in a sugar glaze and black sesame seeds. If you ever get the chance to try this, and you’ll often see it in bento boxes in Asian markets, I do recommend it.
Ok, back to Kit Kat. The fingers have a wonderful light orange creamy color. They smell sweet and very strong of vanilla and cream. I’m reminded of thick homemade custard or pudding. The flavor mimics the aroma perfectly, as it’s very creamy, sweet and heavy on vanilla and caramel flavors. I’m sad to report I get no official sweet potato flavor here. I could get really disappointed by this and let it drag my whole experience with this Kit Kat. Yet, I find myself enjoying it for that really rich custard taste, so much so that I don’t care if it’s supposed to be sweet potato. It’s tasty just as it is. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the packaging that lied to me, not the flavor elements of this one.
White and Yellow Peach:
This bag of minis are white chocolate based peach flavored Kit Kats. The packets inside are colored either pink or yellow, yet I haven’t been able to taste a difference between the two.They certainly look different from one another though. The pink one is a creamy white, and the yellow a light orange color. For some reason slices of cheddar and American cheese come to mind. They both smell very juicy and peachy. I take a bite of one then the other, and I repeat the process a few times to just say they taste basically the same. The flavor is sweet, lightly of peach which is very juicy and floral with a perfumey smell. The flavoring isn’t too strong, and just enough ti cut the sweetness of the white chocolate.
Passion Fruit Kit Kat
This is an interesting little Kit Kat, as it was included as a bonus in a box of Nestle flavored coffee drinks. I’m guessing they’re some sort of Valentines Day release, as the packages are covered in hearts. This have a dark chocolate outside with a passion fruit creme between the wafers. The bitter dark chocolate compliments the intensely fruity, juicy tartness of the passion fruit. It’s nice with notes of pineapple, apple, cherry, plums, peaches. The bar is beautifully bright and fragrant and really, really tasty. I’m reminded on one of the old regional Tokyo Kit Kats that came out a few years ago that was also stellar.
The bar is has a milk chocolate base, nice and looks like a normal Kit Kat. It’s the smell that tells you there’s something different about this one. It’s a very bright smell of citrus with a strong tart note, and a kiss of hazelnut. It tastes like a normal milk chocolate Kit Kat, and despite the added flavors, and the chocolate remains the main flavor in this. It’s supplemented by very nice tart citrus note, it’s neither orange nor lemon. I also get a hint of hazelnut there too, which I find confusing as there’s no hazelnut in this Kit Kat. Very interesting. I really like it and overall I’m reminded of the flavors of Manner Biscuits that my Mom is crazy for.
Two thumbs up Japan! Keep ‘em coming!
Rating: Sweet Potato:
Will Buy Again
Links Kit Kat Japan Website
I’ve realized my love for Japanese Kit Kats has led me to acquire so many that I haven’t gotten around to reviewing them all! For shame! I will try and remedy this in the upcoming weeks, with a format similar to this post. I don’t feel like I need to go into too much detail on these, as we all know what Kit Kats are like. Am I right? I will go into the bits of these that are different from the Kit Kats you can get anywhere else, so I’ll mostly be commenting on the flavor of these beauties.
On with the reviews!
Kit Kat Hojicha Tea
Hoijicha is a type of roasted tea in Japan. It’s one of my favorites actually. The bar captures it perfectly, as the milk chocolate is light, creamy, sweet and carried the flavor of the tea well. The flavor of the tea, usually in chocolate, is too light and it swallowed up by the chocolate. Not so here. It’s got a wonderful roasted, tea-like, malty flavor that blends beautifully with the chocolate and gives it some really nice herbal and earthy flavors. It takes the milk chocolate and the Kit Kat to a whole new level for me, and it’s really tasty. I’m sad I only got one bag!
Kit Kat Watermelon Salt
I thought salting watermelons was a thing from the South, not in Japan. Whether or not this is a cultural nod to them or not, I found this combination one of the most unusual I’ve encountered yet.
This Kit Kat has nice milk chocolate base. The bar smells light, watery and fruity like melons. The aroma is a tad fake, only because the scent is more floral that real melons are.
The flavor is so beautifully and realistically watermelon. It’s awesome. You get that wonderfully fresh, juicy flavor of the watermelon combined with the creamy, sweet flavors of the milk chocolate. I know it sounds odd, but trust me, it’s really good. You don’t taste the salt until the finish and aftertaste. It’s not very pronounced, but it does give a nice edge to the bar. Yum!
Kit Kat Alexandria Grape
It’s a pale green in color with a white chocolate base. It smells very sweet and (what do you know!) lightly of green, muscat grapes. Fruity, bits of melon, and lightly tangy.
The flavor is….oddly grape. It’s floral, light, sweet, and has notes of cantaloupe and tang just like the in the aroma. The flavor ends on a nice, milky, white chocolate note: creamy, smooth, chocolatey, and lightly fruity. I’m weirded out and confused by the idea of this one, especially how the flavor turned out. It’s this strange medium between authentic and fake, and my taste buds don’t know what to make of it. If you’re a grape fan, I’m sure you can still get your hands on some if you want to.
Kit Kat McFlurry Caramel Macchiato
This flavor was particularly unique in my mind as it was a flavor based on a McDonald’s McFlurry. I don’t know much about the Macchiato, as I don’t eat at McD’s, much less get their McFlurries, so I can’t make any commentary here as it’d be totally unfounded. My guess is it’s pretty darned popular if Kit Kat goes and makes a flavor based off it it.
The base of this bar is white chocolate, with no special markings or colors. I was expecting it to have swirls of caramel on the surface, I have to admit. Instead, they’re smooth, pristine, white fingers. The Kit Kat smells very intensely of brown sugar and fake butter. Together they combine to make a caramel-like smell that’s slightly fake.
The flavor is mildly sweet and milky at first. It takes a few beats before that odd fake butter flavor to kick in. Thankfully it’s not as intense as the aroma suggests. I do taste a little coffee in there, but it’s very faint, so it’s more like a cappuccino. The bar but it does succeed in having a nice cream flavor that is reminiscent of a milkshake. It’s been ages since I’ve had one, but it’s a flavor you just don’t forget. It’s ok, I might eat this again. nothing stellar about this flavor, I’d rather have a coffee or a plain whit choc Kit Kat.
So there you have it. The great, the good and the “meh” of this round of Kit Kats. Have you had any of these flavors? If so, what did you think of them?
Rating: Hojicha and Watermelon Salt: Hoard
Grape and McFlurry: Will Buy Again
Links Kit Kat Japan (Breaktown) Website
This Japanese Kit Kat is special, as it’s not only a new flavor (lemon) but also a novelty because the packaging is different. It’s a “Share with a Friend” box, that opens like a love letter, and it’s decorated with hears just in time for Valentines Day (yes, I know, way late on the pickup). It’s pretty to look at and I appreciate how unique it looks. It’s certainly catch my eye at the convenience store, that’s for sure.
The box opens so it’s like a letter and the two packets of the Kit Kat pop out perfectly inviting to give to a friend or lover. I can’t read the text, as my Japanese isn’t fluent enough, but I’m sure it’s something sappy. The color of the fingers is a nice creamy pastel yellow. It’s very spring-like aura to it. The bar smells less like lemon but more strong and sweet like a pudding or custard. Now that I think about it, it’s exactly like lemon pudding pie. It’s just a heavenly smell.
The flavor is out of this world! It tastes just like lemon curd. It’s tart, so terribly authentically tart. There’s a little hint of something in there that tastes of creamy cheesecake, and overall it’s terribly creamy, smooth and a little sweet. So awesome. Yum.
What could I say? After my first bite or two to taste I couldn’t gobble this Kit Kat down fast enough. I don’t understand why I’d want to share this one. It’s too good I need to keep it for myself. (I’m guess I’m bad to think like that, but in all honesty, I did share this with the boy.)
Links Kit Kat Japan (Breaktown) Website
There’s a lot to be said about intention, especially if it is positive. I’ve heard so many times that how we go through life is all about attitude and how we intend to see things. If we keep a positive outlook, we experience positive things. I’ve always considered gifts of sweets and chocolate to be good examples of positive intent. Gifts are an act of kindness, and chocolate is something that makes everyone happy (If it doesn’t, you must be an alien or something…). I was presented with these beautiful chocolates, these Intentional Chocolates, by my boyfriend. A very positive experience overall.
So what makes these chocolate specifically intentional? Well, these chocolate are created and, get this, prayed upon by Buddhist monks with this intent:
“Whoever consumes this chocolate will manifest optimal health and functioning at physical, emotional and mental levels, and in particular will enjoy an increased sense of energy, vigor and well-being for the benefit of all beings.”
Now I hear you chuckling at this hippy mumbo-jumbo. But these chocolates were researched and tested in labs, and have been proven to make people happier, less stress and a myriad of other good things then those who ate normal chocolate. You can read all about it here. I’m not one to argue with science, or with chocolate.
I was gifted a box of the Chocolate Raspberry Triangles. They come in a beautiful long, red box, one that I often see necklaces encased in. It’s simply packaged, with the box sliding from under the label and a snugly fitting top. The shapes of the chocolates is just as the name implies: triangles. They’re arranged beautifully inside the box, and they sit just so that nothing sifts or gets damaged. On top of each chocolate is an image of a stick figure in lotus position holding a flower. I find this terribly fitting and cute.
The shells are nice and solid. There’s some weaknesses in the shells, some have corners that are cracked and exposed. Usually that’s something I look down upon, but here it gives a nice, hand-made quality to the bonbons. Taking my first bite, I find the shell cracks easily releasing a smooth, creamy ganache interior.
The flavor has light raspberry notes that blend into the wild and fruity Hawaiian chocolate. notes of red berries, raisins, caramel, cream and a nice sour notes of raspberries and citrus toward the end. Very smooth and silky.
Ah, and I’m sure you’re all curious if I felt all the possible health benefits that these chocolate declare they give. Well, lets say I’m keeping a positive outlook and feeling good about how my past few days have gone. I don’t feel any more optimistic than normal, but when you look at it, that’s not quite how intent works. These chocolates provide a nice little nudge of motivation to be happy and feel good about what’s going on in your life. And I certainly do.
Links Intentional Chocolate Website