Monthly Archives: May 2010

Yes, yes “Why you no post?”. Well ignore the unusually long gap in updating and prepare for kit-kats!

Kit-Kat Chunky Green Tea

The onslaught of flavoured chunky variants begins. Having seen and reviewed my first one ever back in March; Nestle have begun unleashing more and more of them. Two are up for review this time around starting with a perennial Japanese kit-kat favourite, green tea.

The packaging is crowded but generally fine. The green and white are a bit reduced next to the absolutely massive kit-kat logo and quite hard to see. The macha powder effect is well done however.

And again we’re forewarned that this will probably be crap because it shows up front that we’re dealing with coloured chocolate here. Never a good sign with kit-kats and usually an indicator that the chocolate tastes soapy and naff.

Oh and 234 calories, yikes.

Being a chunky you get an unusually big slab of chocolate relative to the biscuit so this is less crispy and more flavourful.

Unfortunately that flavour is green tea.

This is one of the stronger green tea kit-kats actually. It tastes quite definitively of macha and is bitter like macha but they’ve sweetened it to cut the natural bitterness and make it easer to eat. On first bite it’s pretty pleasant, bitter, fresh, sweet and crispy.

But the aftertaste. It tastes like licking splenda off a tea spoon that has been sitting on a table for an hour. Faintly of tea mostly of horrible artificial sweeteners and shame.

Banana Kit-Kat Chunky

I despise bananas.

The merest hint of banana absolutely overpowers any other flavour for me so adding banana to anything ensures that I am disgusted by it.

Tropical drinks, smoothies, bannofee. No matter what you team it with bananas make me sick.

This is not hyperbole, they make me wretch.

And now I’m going to eat a banana kit-kat.

I don’t want to do this, I have no desire to do this. Doing this will bring me no joy whatsoever.

Frankly you’re not going to get an objective review here. At best it won’t taste too strongly of bananas and I’ll be fine. At worst I’ll be sick in my mouth. Either way Idon’t think my tastes align with the general banana loving populace.

And it has coloured chocolate, oh god.

And it smells, really strongly of bananas. This is not any other flavour, this is unmistakeable.

Oh god.

It tastes of…nothing.

Ah, no, when you chew the banana comes through very strongly.

Very strongly.

Hold on.

Yes, I have just been sick in my mouth a little bit.

So the aftertaste, um, mouth sick. I think I’ll go brush my teeth.

Green Tea Kit-Kat

Yes, another one. This is a fairly common variety in Japan and some form of green tea Kit-Kat is on shelves all year round. This one has new packaging though that is lovely and ties it in to spring.

Pink and Green are the spring colours in Japan thanks to all the sakura and this packet is loading with pink and green. It practically yells spring at you, like a hyperactive child who has just learnt a new English word, or some kind of pogo based psychopath.

But it is well done. Its very striking and the green and pink are well balanced. The sakura leaves are a cute touch and that cup of macha actually looks delicious. In exactly the way that all macha looks delicious and inviting before you drink it and remember that it tastes like when you make a cup of tea and the bag splits.

And how awesome is that individual kat wrapper. I love the fading bars from green to pink through white. It’s cute, it’s classy, it’s springlike and it’s remarkably well done. I want to pin it to my lapel it’s so flowery. Isn’t it just adorable?

I may, possibly, be lacking in perspective when it comes to the aesthetic properties or kit-kat wrappers.

But wook at it, I wants to cuddle it aw wup.

Although both wrappers seek to disguise the filthy coloured chocolate within.

Ah coloured chocolate, my nemesis.

It tastes much sweeter and much less bitter than the chunky and dare I say has a nutty quality.

But it also has the fresh taste associated with green tea, and it isn’t soapy. Yet not quite like proper chocolate either. Maybe its a bit…gritty?

The after-taste is still sickly sweet but much less so than the chunky. Overall it’s really a bit bland. In fact it sort of cleanses the palette a little. This is nothing food, food that has texture but very little flavour. Which actually makes it kind of ideal as a dipping biscuit to go with something incredibly flavourful (say a cup of real macha. It may be a bad flavour but there sure is a lot of it).

Or maybe I’m just delighted after the banana.

Framboise (raspberry)

This looks promising. French name, pink and brown colouring and retro design aesthetic are all pluses for a kit-kat. In fact almost all the kit-kats with some kind of retro design such as spots or distinctive stripes have been quite good. As have all the pink and brown ones.

Both the main packet and individual wrapper are nicely done but the main wrapper is particularly great. As well as the really stylish pink on pink bubbles there is a delicious looking slice of cake and an adorable little bow. This is a kit-kat that screams present. Much like a small child at Christmas, or a kind of Santa themed psychopath. Not that you should ever give your loved one a kit-kat as a present. Unless your loved one is me and your enabling my destructive behaviour.

The wrapper even has a strange embossed pattern that makes it feel nicer to touch.

The only thing I don’t like is the little “sweets concept” badge. Its the sort of meaningless English the Japanese stick on things that communicates nothing. It’s visual and linguistic noise that only serves to detract from the stylish design.

The kit-kat itself is great too. Real chocolate for starters which is always a good sign. And from the second one opens it one gets a really strong whiff of raspberries that hit the nose. This is one of the best smelling kit-kats I’ve tried.

The taste is excellent. The chocolate is milk but quite bitter and not too sweet. It is the first taste that you get but as you chew the raspberry begins to fill your mouth. It is really quite amazing. Like a proper chocolate, from a box or selection. the raspberry filling is sweet, fruity, rich, complex, slightly sour and slightly bitter. Every part of your mouth gets hit with flavour at once. It’s sublime.

The after-taste is just a touch sour but the delicious fruity notes linger for a long time making this one of the better kit-kats to eat without accompaniment.

All in all a solid effort. Great package, great smell, great taste, great after taste. A+

Shinshu Ringo (Apples)

My long sufferring girlfriend Fran’s parents visited us recently and we went travelling. In the course of those travels I found many strange kit-kat variants which I brought back with me. Most of these are packaged to be used as “omiyage” a Japanese gift giving tradition. When you go travelling it is customary to bring a present back from where you went to share with others in your office and as an apology for being absent and giving them more work.

Being Japan everywhere has its own regional speciality so most omiyage is geared towards that regional speciality.

On our journey in the Shinshu region the specialities included crickets, bee larvae, apples, miso, chilli and a host of others.

Hence, apple kit-kats.

I can’t really say much for the packet. Although larger than usual they don’t really have any more elements than a standard (overcrowded) kit-kat wrapper. The apples look suitably delicious, the labelling is clear, the gold and red colours are appropriate for apples and suitably inviting and it all looks striking enough. The picture of mountain topography is a bit naff, if only because I’ve been there and it looks much more dramatic than that painting attempts to capture. I do like the picnic blanket pattern to the red. It suggests the outdoors, wholesomeness and nature. Good things for an apple flavour to aim for.

Real chocolate (hooray) and a really powerful apple odour from the second the packet is opened. Actually a really, really nice apple odour. So apple-ey that goes right past apple and settles somewhere near apple flavoured chewing gum i.e. concentrated apple smell. More apple-ey than an apple.

The taste is much less strong than the smell but still pretty strong. The apple kills all the chocolate notes stone dead. The only thing you can taste here is apple. Although the chocolate does come through in the aftertaste.

And all in all its pretty good. Not too sweet, nice and rich, plenty complex and definitely apple-ey. Solid.

Yawatayaisogoro Ichimi (Japanese Chilli Pepper)

I’m actually not dreading this. Chilli and chocolate are an amazing coupling. Chocolate makes chilli richer and chilli gives chocolate a kick to it that offsets the sweet and brings forward the flavour. All in all I’m looking forward to this.

That packet is an absolute disgrace though. The faded red/orange pattern hasn’t worked. The pepper drawing looks absolutely naff too although the picture in the middle looks fine. It’s a bit lifeless but fine for illustrative purposes. The Kanji looks really bad too, really tacked on. It’s way too small and the pepper drawing is way too big. The elements are all out of whack. Bad wrapper.

The individual wrappers look a little better. The shiny foil makes the red/yellow fade pop more and look better. It suggests fieryness in a way the main box doesn’t. Oh and the inside of the main box is black, as if to sell the danger and hotness of the peppers. Ooooooh.

The chocolate is really, really black. It’s almost not brown at all. That’s a good sign to me, although there is a noticeable lack of smell.

At first all it tastes of is black chocolate.

Then later all it tastes of is black chocolate.

Then finally it tastes of black chocolate.

then the after-taste is a bit spicy.

Alright that’s a bit unfair. The after-taste is a lot spicy. Much spicier than I guessed. But that’s still rubbish. You can’t taste the spice and it doesn’t improve the chocolate one bit. In fact if anything they’ve sweetened it a bit to try and counteract the spice that isn’t there. All it does is make you want to drink a glass of water.


Miso is another of those packets with space on the back to turn it into a postcard. It is also a regional speciality recipe only available around Tatteyama area.

For those unfamiliar with miso it is a kind of paste made by fermenting soybeans. Japanese people mostly use it to make a soup which has a strong umami (savoury) flavour. It is also used to flavour vegetables and fish and in a variety of dishes.

Miso consists of mostly fermented soybeans but it also mixed and flavoured with leaves, herbs and shoyu (soy sauce) in its preparation. Another thing used in its preparation is tiny fish often used in Japan to make stocks and give an umami flavour.

So yes, this is in part a fish flavoured kit-kat. I’m amazed it took this long.

I really like that packet. Instead of going with the most literal representatin they’ve gone for a theme. Sure there is a tub of miso at the top but most of the packet illustrations are of a miso shop in an ancient Japanese street. It connotes tradition, the past, elements of nostalgia and wholesomeness. the traditional Japanese pattern background helps enforce this too as does the orange and beige colour scheme evoking both miso and sepia photos. It’s a great bit of design communicating a lot of ideas with only a few simply elements.

The individual kat is a bit poorer but maintains most of the same ideas, orange and beige, ropes and traditional Japanese patterns, etc.

It doesn’t really smell of miso which has a very distinctive odour. Instead it smells of toffee. That’s good, because I like toffee. although there’s also a sort of burnt aroma too.

It doesn’t really taste of miso and whilst it mostly tastes of tofee it doesn’t quite taste of that either. It’s salty for a start but at the same time really sweet and again at the same time quite umami. I kind of think it tastes of brown apples, but, strangely in a nice way.

Although the taste is hard to describe it’s really very pleasant. It sets off all the parts of your mouth and is properly rich and complex. It is sweet but not very sweet and it’s fairly mild but at the same time has a weird salty kick.

And there is almost no aftertaste. What little there is is actually very good. Again like a toffee, a sort of rich mellow sweetness.

I’m utterly mystified reader. I like this kit-kat a lot but I lack the words to explain what it tastes like. Not miso, not even slightly like miso really. But it is very nice whatever it is.

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