Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lemon Vinegar Kit Kat

This was the first Kit Kat that I was truly nervous about eating. I saw it first on the Kit Kat website and I secretly hoped I wouldn't be able to find it. And then it promptly showed up in Atsumi Foods, where I do most of my grocery shopping. I postponed trying it for over a week, but I couldn't ignore it sitting on my shelf forever, so I finally pulled it out and had a taste.

It turns out all that worrying was for nothing. But I will say that Nestle could do a better job with its merchandising. The vinegar part of the name could easily be left out. It was a regular looking chocolate Kit Kat mini that had a slight lemon tang to it. Lemonade Kit Kat would be a better name, I think. There's even a picture of what looks to be lemonade on the package!

Maybe its some cultural thing I'm missing. Perhaps Japanese people like the taste of vinegar. Or maybe the word ベネガ (vinegar spelled out in katakana) doesn't compute because the real Japanese word for vinegar is 酢 (pronounced su.) I don't know. All I know is when I think of vinegar, I think of salad dressing not chocolate. Although, it does bode well for the Apple Vinegar Kit Kat I have to try next.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Peach Kit Kats

After the disaster that was the Rose Kit Kat, it was high time for another fruity inspired chocolate treat and it came in a pair of Peach Kit Kats, White Peach Kit Kat and Yellow Peach Kit Kat. I tried them with friends Nathan and Miyuki at a picnic lunch in Takigashira Park. And they were a lovely end to a very nice lunch.

The White Peach came in a pink wrapper and was covered in white chocolate. Yellow Peach was in an orange wrapper and was colored yellow. Both had a very distinct peach smell to them, but in both smell and taste the Yellow Peach was stronger than the White Peach. I love peaches so I preferred the stronger of the two, the Yellow Peach. So did Miyuki. Nathan liked the White Peach better, but we all agreed that they were both pretty tasty. Oishii! The only thing bad thing is that they don't go very well with sake. Or Coke. Which is all I had to drink at the time. But I'm sure they would be lovely with coffee.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rose Kit Kat

Up until now all of the Kit Kats I've tried have been palatable. The Green Tea Kit Kat was a little iffy but I finished it. Then came the Rose Kit Kat...but first things first. This one was NOT a crazy color but looked like your average chocolate Kit Kat bar. It was, however, very aromatic. It smelled strongly of rose, like an old woman's bathroom. Not bad, but not necessarily exciting to the tastebuds either. I mean when was the last time you got a dozen roses and were tempted to tuck into them for a snack. I'm going to guess never.

Erin smells the Kit Kat.

There's a reason why we don't eat roses. It's because they taste bad. Putting rose scented soap in my mouth would have been about the same as eating this Kit Kat. Erin and I both rated this Disgusting with a capital D. Even my fellow ALT, Nathan, who will eat just about anything wouldn't finish off the remaining Rose minis for me. They ended up in the trash. Although in hindsight I should have kept them around to sweeten the air in my bathroom.

So in conclusion, roses are beautiful flowers. They are romantic. They smell wonderful. They are NOT meant to be eaten.
You just ruin perfectly good chocolate that way.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Strawberry Kit Kat

Once I started my little Kit Kat project I've had to be on the lookout for any new flavors. This means checking all three local grocery stores and nearby conbinis but also keeping an eye out when I travel. I found the Strawberry Kit Kat in a small store in Kamakura, a touristy spot near Tokyo whose main attraction is a very large statue of Buddha. We originally bought it to prevent fainting from hunger while on the Daibutsu Hiking Course. But we didn't end up eating it because there is this awesome cafe along the trail that serves pretty good curry (although most things taste good when you've just hiked up a mountain.) So we brought the Strawberry Kit Kat back to Tahara with us. But we didn't eat it there either. We finally ate it on the ferry as a mid-morning snack with coffee on our way to visit Ise-jingu. It turned out to be worth the wait.

Strawberries and chocolate is a match made in heaven, so my expectations were pretty high. It's colored pink and smells like strawberries. It too was made with white chocolate so it bordered on the almost too sweet side but it had a kick of sourness that saved it. Having it with coffee also probably helped. Maybe I need to make sure I have tea or coffee at the ready when trying any Kit Kat with white chocolate. Either way, the Strawberry Kit Kat got two thumbs up from both me and Erin.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Green Tea Kit Kat

After trying a few Kit Kat flavors alone in my apartment, I decided to share the experience with those around me, this time it happened to be my neighbor from upstairs and fellow ALT, Nathan, and my sister, Erin, who had come all the way from Louisville, KY to try a Green Tea Kit Kat. Er, I mean visit me.

I couldn't get very far into this project without trying the wildly popular Green Tea Kit Kat. You might even be wondering why it took three entries before we got here. I had wanted to try it for a long time but it was proving hard to find. The only time I ever saw them were in the airport shops, but they were these huge boxes meant to give as omiyage* and cost $15, so I bided my time until they came out with a combo bag of minis.

And thank God there were some regular chocolate ones in there because the Green Tea Kit Kat was not my favorite. Don't get me wrong, I love green tea. I drink it every day at school. I have participated in Japanese tea ceremony and even started learning some of the rigorous choreographed moves with my sixth graders in Tea Ceremony Club. But Green Tea Kit Kats?

What's noticeable first of all, before you even take your first bite is that unlike the last two Kit Kat flavors I had tried this one is a wildly different color. It really is green. It's the color of wasabi, or you know, matcha green tea.

As with the Espresso Coffee Kit Kat, this one too is made from white chocolate. I assume this is to make it easier to add color but I really do prefer milk or dark chocolate so that hurt its chances with me right there. Flavor-wise, it didn't taste very Green Tea-ish. I think of matcha as being slightly bitter and this was too sweet. It left an aftertaste in your mouth that all three of us chewed on for a few moments trying to figure out if we liked it or not. The verdicts were as follows:

Nathan: Good
Erin: Gross
Me: so-so

I think I might like it more without the white chocolate. Or I could see myself eating one while sipping a cup of hot green tea instead of the Japanese sweet you traditionally get (not that I see Kit Kats popping up in tea ceremonies anytime soon.) But just picking one up in the grocery store? Probably not. As for the rest of the bag, Erin took them home as souvenirs and we devoured the remaining classic chocolate ones.

Coming soon: Fruit flavors!

souvenirs in Japanese. Usually food.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jasmine Tea Kit Kat

I'm going to be honest - I have never had Jasmine tea before. So in trying the Jasmine Tea Kit Kat I can't be too terribly precise on whether this flavor stays true to its inspiration. However, I had an Earl Grey Chocolate Tort this summer while I was home that was to die for, so I already knew that chocolate and tea can be a wonderful combination. And it was. It is milk chocolate with just a hint of something else, Jasmine tea I'm guessing. Definitely a winner. I would eat this one again in a heartbeat. And it's even inspired me to go out and hunt down some Jasmine tea.

Espresso Coffee Kit Kat

I love espresso. I drank a lot of it when I lived in France, so naturally I was excited about an Espresso Coffee Kit Kat. I figured with the familiar taste of coffee I would be able to ease myself into my Kit Kat tasting adventure. No reason to jump right in with something bizarre like Rose (more on that later.) Too bad it didn't taste anything like espresso. There was a coffee flavor, yes. But the decision to use white chocolate rather than milk or dark (dark being my preference) meant it tasted more like a cappuccino or cafe au lait Kit Kat than an Espresso Kit Kat. Still, it was pretty good. Not bad for my first foray.

Why Kit Kats?

Because they have all kinds of crazy flavors in Japan, that's why. From Japanese Green Tea flavored ones to Rose, Peach, and Apple Vinegar, there is a cornucopia of Kit Kat flavors to try here. And I'm going to try as many as I can before I come home. So let the fun begin!