January 23, 2005

souvenirs from Japan

I tore myself away from Japan and got back home in Hawaii just a couple of days ago. Life was busier than normal for the last several days of my stay, and I've got a lot of photos of food stacked up from those days, so as piles of actual food that I brought from there. So much that I think I can live for a while on those food items, both virtual and real, in the blog world and real world.

To begin with, here I am sharing my "sweets of the month" from Japan with you. In Japan, mass manufacturers of sweets are doing massive launch of either "new" and/or "limited-edition" lines of sweet products every twice a year or so, and there are certainly loads of stupid consumers who make an easy target of their marketing tactics by running to the store and try every single new stuff that they can find (like me). All of these below are such new/limited versions that I found and liked this time.

Matcha KitKat. Nowadays Japanese chocolate companies seem to make matcha (green tea) versions of every single chocolate product they sell. This is one of such recent products, and it was actually good.

Black Sesame Koeda Chocolate. Koeda, so named for its resemblance to koeda or twigs, is a longstanding chocolate snack in the market. The original version is sticks of milk chocolate with small pieces of rice puff. This all-black version, featuring black sesame, is made of white chocolate with black sesame paste and loaded with roasted black sesame seeds and rice puff. If you like black-sesame sweets, you've got to love this.

DARS Gianduja Blanc. I like traditional gianduia combination of chocolate and nuts (Ferrero, Nutella, or even Valrhona), but this one, made of white chocolate, might be a bit unusual.

LOOK "Quality" Pistachio. LOOK chocolate was one of my favorites back in the day when I was little; it was a box of chocolates filled with four different kinds of paste, namely, strawberry, pineapple, banana, and almond. Since then it has evolved to have a lot of different sets of flavors, and this "Quality" version came as a deluxe edition featuring a rather luxury ingredient: pistachio (the other one was strawberry, which isn't all that luxury, but should be better than regular strawberry chocolates, I suppose). Each bite-size nugget is filled with pretty green nut cream and a whole pistachio nut and tasty, although there is an arguably tricky thing about it; the green filling isn't made with pistachios but almonds. There is no description on any part of the package that the cream is made using pistachio, so nothing is "fabricated", but it is a bit tricky and possibly misleading that the cream is colored green, although it is really minor and I like them anyways.

Now I wonder how long these will last in here.


Anonymous said...

Hello Chika !

Congratulations on your blog, it's one of my favorites along with Chocolate and zucchini and a few more... it's a real a shame, though, that you don't post as many things in english as you do in japonese (why oh why don't you?!) I had a look at the photos of your japonese blog and it looks very promising.


Emily said...

yum!!! those look soo good. :) i LOVE japanese chocolates/snacks!! every time i make a trip to chicago i go to their japanese store and buy almost everything in there! thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Those all look delicious! A friend sent me the matcha Kit Kat because I love anything matcha-flavored. I was surprised at how good it was. Usually the matcha-flavored chocolates are kind of bland and waxy, but the Kit Kat was quite tasty. Thanks for sharing. I, too, am a total sucker for the seasonal and limited edition flavors! -- Mariko/supereggplant.

Santos said...

hi chika
welcome back! black sesame and white chocolate?! fantastic. i'll have to try it.

obachan said...

You know, what’s so sad is that here in a do-inaka in Japan, we only hear about those “limited-time-only” sweets but never see them at nearby supermarkets….

Reid said...

Hi Chika,

Welcome home! The matcha kit kat sounds great. Hopefully I can find them when I'm in Tokyo. =P

Cat said...

ooo how divine. you are touching down on one of my favourite subjects: CHOCOLATE! im not a fan of kitkat or other 'trash' chocolates... im just a spoilt rotten snobby girl surrounded by all the countries within driving distance who know how to do chocolate the right way. see? spoilt rotten! im intrigued by the use of green tea in chocolate though, it may just warrant a fabulous trip to Japan. i will do anything for good chocolate :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

st├ęphanie - thanks! the thing is, I have just been lazy and can't bother to write everything in English

Emily - yeah it is really dengerous, while I was back in Japan I nearly bought up a whole store - it seemed to occur more than once!

Mariko - true, some matcha-flavored chocolate aren't as good as others... speaking of matcha, I forgot to have green tea Haagen-Dazs... silly me... that'd be a bit too hard to have it mail over here!

Santos - o you ARE trying it! ;)

obachan - I know I know! That's tough. But hey, I just missed the passion-fruit kitkat. (boo)

Reid - will you be able to make it into downtown Tokyo while your layover? that'd be nice!

Cat - yes you really truly honestly ARE spoiled rotten! I am jealous! You might not find better chocolate in Japan than in Europe overall, but at least Tokyo's got nearly everthing from all over the world, so you'll enjoy a variety... 

Posted by chika

Anonymous said...

So you can buy Nutella in Japan, too?

That´s very good news, because due to this information, I can take my husband to Japan one day *gg*

No day for him without Nutella! 

Posted by Anke

Anonymous said...

Hi Anke,
o yes they have Nutella over there - maybe not everywhere, but in certain places for sure.

Is your husband another such guy who'd stick a spoon into the jar of Nutella for a lick or two before bed? 

Posted by chika

Anonymous said...

Seeing all of these makes me homesick! My family laughs at me when I'm shopping the day before my flight back to Hawaii - I'm usuallly struggling with 3 of those tiny little shopping carts (I love 'em but too tiny for my madness!) full of okashi. And they all tell me, "anta ga OKASHIi", trying to be funny. I'm so glad Daiei on Kaheka sells all of the stuff you pictured because I was getting jealous! I like the kuro goma koeda. And you gotta try the fancy new strawberry and chocolate "dessert" pocky. Onaka suita~. 

Posted by kijimuna

Anonymous said...

Hi kijimuna-san,

yeah I do the same, except that I'd shop as much as I can even ON the day I am flying, sometimes. I saw the new strawberry and chocolate pocky, but I didn't try them this time, though I did try "royal milk tea" one which was pretty good. 

Posted by chika

Anonymous said...

Hi Chika! I was inspired by your photos of the pistachio cake, and made one myself. MMm. What a find. I have to say that it could use a little less butter, but what a cake. Thanks for posting it! My extra pounds thank you also! 

Posted by lagarto

Anonymous said...

Hay, how can I buy these wonderful snacks through internet or in store at America? Please let me know. 

Posted by ssou

Vanessa said...

i remember reading on your site a while back about some moist french chocolate cake you made... was I dreaming? i cant find that entry now..and u know what's coming up! =)

by the way.. your site rules. 

Posted by vanessa