Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Short & Sweet: International Flavors

Meiji Rich Strawberry ChocolateFlavored white chocolate is kind of a strange thing, not something I cared much for as a kid, but as an adult I’m warming up to it. Perhaps because there are some really good options out there.

Meiji, one of Japan’s major candy & snack companies uses white and flavored white chocolates in many of their confections. The flavors range from berry and flower flavors (sakura) to green tea and caramel.

I found this Meiji Rich Strawberry Chocolate bar in Little Tokyo at Murukai Market, but every store seemed to carry them.

Meiji Rich Strawberry Chocolate

The bar is much deeper in color than the KitKats or even the limited edition Hershey’s flavored white chocolate bars that I’ve had. And the intensity of the color matches the flavor. It’s much more in the berry range than the “light touch of berries”. It’s both tangy and sweet, with that woodsy flavor of seeds in there as well.

I wasn’t as fond of it as a I’d hoped. Something about the tangy mixed with the sweetness and a bit of grain from the real berry in there made me miss the cocoa butter and milk base. But for $1.29, it was a great buy for a little more exotic taste than the ordinary.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Klene KrokantjesFor Licorice Fans, the Klene Krokantjes are all licorice, but three different “jelly bean” style varieties in one bag.

I wasn’t sure what these would be, I thought something like the Skoolkrijt that I’ve come to love. I assumed it was a licorice center with a candy coating. I found a description online that said, “Salty Salmiak & Mint Flavor with a crunchy outer shell” which didn’t really capture it all (except that it included that it was salted licorice, not the straight sweet kind).

There are three shapes, a dark and a light jelly bean style and a larger, um, rock. I didn’t even know there was a third shape at first, as there were only two in the bag so I didn’t photograph it.

Klene KrokantjesThe candies look like little granite pebbles. Black and white and gray, they’re speckled and natural looking. They don’t smell like much, just a bit sweet with a slight anise note.

The beans are two different flavors. The light one is a peppermint, menthol and licorice mix of flavors. There’s a lot of crunch outside, it’s a bit grainy. The inside isn’t a molasses/wheat chewy licorice. Instead it’s a gelatin gummi flavored with licorice (and salt). The combo isn’t bad, a little metallic but the mint helps kind of smooth it all together.

The gray ones were similar but more on the straight licorice side. (They might not have been minted, but the proximity made them so.)

The lumps were a piece of the wheat based chew, again a little salted and covered with the minty crunch. That was my favorite.

They’re a little confusing for me. Not enough of one thing or another and the lack of the molasses punch to go with the licorice (my favorite combo) just didn’t make me want more and I never finished the bag.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

Kosher JuicyFruit GumMy favorite gum is Chiclets. They’re not easy to find but are one of the few gums that is still made with sugar and not artificial sweeteners (and no coloring either, for whatever that’s worth).

I was saddened several years ago to see that Wrigley’s altered their time-tested favorites: Wrigley’s Spearmint, Doublemint, Juicyfruit and Big Red gums to include those sorts of things. But then at Munchies in Los Angeles I stumbled across this little treasure - Juicy Fruit Gum, not only is it Kosher (which I don’t really need) but it’s also made with sugar and on top of that, they’re candy coated chicklets!

The box was cute and held 20 pellets. I usually chew three pieces at a time, so at 50 cents it’s no different in price than the regular pack.

I liked the crunch of the sugar shell and the indeterminate mellow fruity flavor of the chew. The flavor doesn’t last very long, but I don’t usually chew gum for a long time, just long enough to get most of the sugar out then I rinse and repeat.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Three Pink Bubble Gums
  2. Licorice Assortment
  3. KitKat Chocolatier (Strawberry & Green Tea)
  4. Short & Sweet: Japanese Goodies
  5. Hershey’s Raspberries ‘n’ Creme
  6. Salted Licorices: Djungelvral and Dubbel Zout

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:45 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyReviewKleneMeijiWrigley'sGumKosherLicorice CandyWhite Chocolate4-Benign6-Tempting8-TastyFranceJapanNetherlands

  1. I have never liked Japanese chocolate that much. I do find that most of the time the berry flavored offerings are better than milk or dark chocolates. Not surprised on the strawberry one.

    Comment by Elizabeth on 9/10/08 at 12:38 pm #
  2. It’s weird to see someone say that chiclets are hard to find. They’re everywhere around me. I personally love, and have always loved, the mini ones. they’re just so fun smile

    Those Juicy Fruit chiclet type things sound delicious. i’ll have to keep an eye out for them.

    Comment by Liz on 9/11/08 at 7:32 am #
  3. Sera's avatar

    What a great post Cybele. smile

    Aww, I’m afraid I recommened the Meiji bar too highly! I love the tart berry notes in it. I find I keep buying it on all my Asian mart trips.

    I’m really happy to see you tried the Klene Krokantjes. I keep seeing them and haven’t gotten to them yet myself. Interesting.

    Comment by Sera on 9/11/08 at 9:35 am #
  4. I, too, was saddened when Wrigley’s added artificial sweetners to their gums!  I have written several times to express my displeasure, but I guess they don’t care.  I can’t chew it anymore, as artificial sugars upset my stomach.  I have friends who have said the same thing, so I have to wonder if they have seen a drop in sales. 

    I will look for these “chiclets”, though, I love and miss the Juicy Fruit flavor.

    Comment by Annalulu on 9/13/08 at 3:02 pm #
  5. Very interesting information on Hershey. I am not sure how many know that there are two plants. Of course the one in the USA, but a second has been in exisitance in Smiths Falls Ontario Canada. They have split the actual manufacturing between these two plants for many years. Some of the products are made in the USA and the other come from Canada. The interesting part is, they have announced the closure of the Canadian plant for 2009, and are moving it to Mexico. So, along with the use of vegitable oil issue you have raised, we can kiss goodbye the use of fresh milk they got from contracts with the local dairy farmers. It seems they are also looking for cheaper labour in Mexico. We can all understand that in Canada and the USA, we have much higher standards then that of third world countries. My advice now would be to watch for many changes in 2009, unless they understand that saving costs at all costs wont keep customers.

    Comment by Leslie on 9/19/08 at 10:07 am #
  6. Wow! What a blog and one I love. There is no Strawberry chocolate here in New York. Not that I know of.  We have milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate. That’s about it. And those jelly beans here I would love. Awesome blog and now I want chocolate.

    Comment by Carmen Vj on 9/29/08 at 8:24 pm #
  7. I love the Meiji strawberry bar! But I have a soft spot for Meiji chocolate. Have you tried the Strawberry Chocolife? It’s really fantastic, as is the Pumpkin.

    Comment by Debby on 10/02/08 at 6:38 am #
  8. I’ve never had a Meiji that was strawberry flavored and in truth it sounds rather gross, but I’ve had a dark chocolate one and a milk chocolate one before. I found them rather good and that means a lot coming from me because I dislike a lot of dark chocolates. Any way if you haven’t already i would recommend trying them.

    Comment by Jennie on 1/08/09 at 6:22 pm #
  9. I am sad to see that Wrigley has added artificial sweeneners and colors to their gums.  I hadn’t bought them in some time due to jaw problems, but seemed they were always there if I wanted them.  I have always loved the taste and especially the smell of Juicy Fruit gum.  I have only encountered one other scent that is similar—“Mackie” perfume.  I have some, but I don’t know if it’s made anymore. 

    I’m turned off by colored gum that’s not that way naturally.  Maybe it’s because the only gum I had growing up that was colored was Dentyne (too strong for me as a little kid) and occasional Fruit Stripe gum (color obviously printed on).  Why did they have to go and color it up?  Also, I can see artificial sweeneners in “sugar-free” gum, but why use anything but natural sugar in regular gum?  They just had to go and mess with perfection.  Bah!

    Comment by Rachel on 1/08/12 at 1:57 pm #
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