September 4, 2010

Kit Kat Sat

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I went berserk at Narita Airport.  I was on my way back to Hong Kong, without the expected bag of Pierre Hermé macarons in hand.  I had time to kill, so as usual I toured the shops at Terminal 2.  Suddenly I came across a shop selling candies and chocolates, and the name Kit Kat caught my eye.  I vaguely recall mention of unique flavors Kit Kat produces for the Japanese market, so I stopped to take a closer look.

I started by grabbing a couple of really wacky flavors, and soon realized the shelf was filled with all kinds of flavors I hadn't seen before.  By the time I was done grabbing everything I had 12 kinds of Kit Kats in my bag (not counting Regular, White Chocolate and Semi-sweet Dark which I didn't buy) and spent just under US$ 80...

Once I arrived I set out to organize a tasting.  I was sure there were Kit Kat fans among my friends, and we decided to find a cafe this afternoon for this rather unusual gathering.  The elves are friendly with the owner of Coffee Assembly, and it would not be a problem for us to bring our own snack and consume it there...

Cherry Blossom Green Tea (桜抹茶) - I made the mistake of inhaling this one, and didn't really taste any cherry blossom flavor as a result.  Apparently it was very delicate and was hidden in the wafers...

Uji Green Tea (宇治抹茶) - Uji (宇治), lying just south of Kyoto (京都), is famous for its green tea.  The green tea flavors here were much more intense compared to the last one.

Banana (バナナ) - the scent of banana was certainly strong, and we could smell it immediately after tearing the package open.  This came in large bars like Butterfinger.

Strawberry (苺) - kinda fruity, and kinda smells like strawberries.  These were little tiny bon bons so didn't get a lot out of them.  A little like soft Maltesers...

Blueberry (ブルーベリー) - definitely smells like the fruit, and reminds me of Lotte's Blueberry Gum.

Cola and Lemon Squash (コーラ味とレモンスカッシュ味) - the box actually contains 2 different flavors, and I initially didn't read the packaging carefully and thought we should have the two together to make for lemon Coke.  Didn't really work well that way...  I could really smell the Cola, just like those Cola-flavored gummies.  At one point I even tried to see if I could detect a hint of fizziness on my tongue.  Not sure...  Having the two together (by double-fisting) meant the strong lemon flavor overpowered the Cola.

Bitter Almond (ビターアーモンド) - at 44% cacao this was definitely darker and more bitter than your regular Kit Kat.  The almond taste wasn't particularly strong.  This was a co-branded product with beauty parlor エステティック TBC.

Custard Pudding (カスタード プリン味) - definitely tasted like the custard pudding one buys at the supermarket or convenience store.  I joked with the Taiwanese contingent that this was the pudding from Uni-President (統一雞蛋布丁).

Strawberry Cheesecake (ストロベリー チーズケーキ味) - we could smell the savory cheese right away.  Very, very interesting as there was the interplay between the sweet and savory flavors, as the strawberry flavors were in the wafers while the cheese flavors were in the white chocolate outside.

Soybean Powder (濃きなこ) - really loved the strong flavors of the roasted soy bean powder.  Kinako (きなこ) is often sprinkled on top of desserts to add flavor and to present sticky rice balls from sticking to each other.  Very yummy.

Soy Sauce (しょうゆ風味) - pretty nice, too... a hint of savory notes while retaining the expected sweetness.

Tamaruya Honten Wasabi (田丸屋本店 わさび) - yes, it smelled and tasted like wasabi (わさび), although not strong enough to clear my sinuses.  True to the premium wasabi-marinated products sold by Tamaruya (田丸屋) - which would be hand-grated and light in both color and taste, the white chocolate took on a very light green color.

I started with a glass of ice peach tea to cool myself down, but after we were done with the chocolates, decided to order myself a cup of cappuccino.  Nice job on the foam...  Maybe next time I'll request something a little more special, like a cute kitty cat...

I think this was a pretty interesting afternoon break... As the slogan says: "Have a break, have a Kit Kat."

Oh and I did check out Nestlé's Japanese website, and they list soooo many different flavors, some most of which are seasonal and aren't always available.  Some are regional.  I think we've tried about half the flavors available in Japan... which leaves the door open for another tasting in the future!

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