Friday, November 12, 2010

Nestle KitKat SemiSweet & Bitter Almond

Bittersweet KitKat (Japan)Just when I’d quit the limited edition KitKat pursuit, I’ve been sucked back in by two extraordinarily good Japanese KitKats.

In Japan (and everywhere else besides the United States), KitKats are made by Nestle. Nestle has the ability to make great chocolate and candy, but also possesses the ability and fortitude to make cheap tasting and inconsistent candy.

The first is the SemiSweet KitKat which sounds pretty boring. But just look at the package! It’s a beautifully done design in just black and red (except for the real-color image of the KitKat finger itself.) The bar is just a mellow semi sweet chocolate version of the standard milk chocolate KitKat.

Bittersweet KitKat (Japan)

The bars were perfect. I know I criticize the over-packaging of many of these Japanese items, but in this case it really did its job of both enticing me to buy and protecting the contents.

Bittersweet KitKat (Japan)

The chocolate smells wonderful, a little sweet but rich and bold. The first thing I noticed was the melt. There was a good snap to the chocolate but it melted quite readily. It’s a little sticky but has a lot of flavor, a combination of strong woodsy flavors, a hint of coffee and prunes. The wafers are crispy and don’t let the combination get too sweet or thick.

KitKat Bitter Almond (Japan)The KitKat Bitter Almond is what got me out to the stores in Little Tokyo. I saw Bitter Almond KitKat mentioned on Japanese Snack Reviews and thought it sounded right up my alley.

The ingredients say that it’s made with real dark chocolate (44% cacao), almond paste and almonds. While I’m not usually a big fan of the amaretto note in marzipan, I do love almonds. The limited edition KitKats have largely ignored nuts as a flavor, so this is a refreshing change.

KitKat Bitter Almond (Japan)

The box had the logo for TBC on it, which I had to look up (thanks again to Japanese Snack Reviews) to find out it’s a cross promotion with Tokyo Beauty Centers. TBC is a chain of spas that offer all sorts of aesthetic treatments, make up and consultations. I haven’t the foggiest what that has to do with KitKats so I’m going to just make something up, like you can get marzipan facial treatments for a limited time when you present your empty KitKat box.

KitKat Bitter Almond (Japan)

The chocolate is strong, slightly bitter and has a light acidic bite. The almond flavors come and go but are light and more on the side of nutty than amaretto. What struck me as so great, aside from the smooth and lightly dry finish of the chocolate itself was the freshness of the wafers. They were delicate and crispy. There was no cereal taste to them (not that I mind that), which allowed both the chocolate and almond to dominate. Every once in a while I got a little texture of some crushed almonds.

I loved this bar. I don’t know if the factory was just having a really good day and had exceptional ingredients converge in that moment in time on that particular bar but I felt like I was finally getting my money’s worth for these expensive imported KitKat bars. Texture, flavors and mouthfeel were simply exceptional. All other KitKats will disappoint me now. (And it’s always good to stop on a high note.)

But I’m left feeling that I should stop pursuing the fleeting perfection of limited edition bars (which are often less than perfect) and concentrate on quality candies that are available more reliably. Plus, the import premium I pay for these means that they’re over $30 a pound. If I’m willing to pay that much, I can get some really good chocolate.

Related Candies

  1. KitKats: Royal Milk Tea, Ginger Ale, Bubbly Strawberry, Kinako Ohagi & Milk Coffee
  2. KitKat Dark
  3. Choceur Nougat Bites & Marzipan Bites
  4. KitKat Bitter & White
  5. Almond Crush Pocky
  6. KitKat Milkshake


Name: KitKat SemiSweet
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Woori Market (3rd & Alameda - Little Tokyo)
Price: $2.49
Size: 1.26 ounces
Calories per ounce: 154
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, Cookie, KitKat, Limited Edition, 8-Tasty, Japan


Name: KitKat Bitter Almond
    RATING:
  • SUPERB
  • YUMMY
  • TASTY
  • WORTH IT
  • TEMPTING
  • PLEASANT
  • BENIGN
  • UNAPPEALING
  • APPALLING
  • INEDIBLE
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: Woori Market (3rd & Alameda - Little Tokyo)
Price: $2.49
Size: 1.26 ounces
Calories per ounce: 157
Categories: Candy, Nestle, Chocolate, Cookie, KitKat, Limited Edition, Nuts, 10-Superb, Japan

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:36 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyReviewNestleChocolateCookieKitKatNuts8-Tasty10-SuperbJapan

Comments
  1. I wonder whether they contain any actual bitter almonds.  There are many people who insist that they taste better, but the number required to have a toxic effect is shockingly small.  I guess it makes sense that these are Japanese- the land of the poison fish dinner.

    Comment by Dave on 11/12/10 at 4:47 pm #
  2. How does the SemiSweet KitKat compare to the Dark Chocolate KitKat available here in the US?

    Comment by Johnny Carruthers on 11/13/10 at 11:14 am #
  3. I need the bitter almond. Need.

    Comment by Victoria (District Chocoholic) on 11/13/10 at 11:36 am #
  4. I will have to try these as I am living in Japan currently. Have you tried the Galbo candies by Meiji? I love them and would recommend them if not. If you can’t get them, I’d be happy to send some to you; just let me know! Great blog.

    Comment by Meg on 11/14/10 at 4:15 pm #
  5. Got to love the limited edition Kit Kats in Japan. The Semi Sweet Kit Kat looks really good and cool packaging. I think my favourite so far has been the sakura (cherry blossom) Kit Kat.

    Comment by Japan Australia on 2/09/11 at 2:57 pm #

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