Frankly this is getting silly now.
No sooner do I finish putting up my last Kit-Kat related post than my girlfriend Fran gets whisked away to Japan for family related business.
And she, of course, brought me back some Kit-Kats.
I don’t think I will ever escape Nestle’s evil clutches.
In fact looking at two of the entries this week I think Nestle has finally cottoned onto the existence of this blog and is making Kit-Kats just for me.
But lets start with the really weird stuff.
Anin Dofu is something you’ve probably eaten if you’ve ever had dessert at a Dim Sum restaurant. But if you’re anything like me you had no idea what it was or what it was called. I’m talking about the white chunk of tofu like jelly, garnished with red berries and floating in sweet syrup. Turns out it is made from apricot kernels in a similar process to how actual tofu is made.
I don’t have strong feelings about anin dofu one way or the other. It’s the kind of thing I would eat if presented with but would never ever order for myself, I associate it with enkais i.e. work parties which were inevitably held in a posh Chinese restaurant and contained many dishes I had never seen in any Chinese restaurant in the U.K.
The packet is one of the big souvenir boxes like the chilli, shinshu ringo, wasabi and strawberry cheesecake that usually ties it to a specific location in Japan. Since I wasn’t there to buy it I unfortunately have no idea what part of Japan its from. Maybe its from China?
It’s also the first Kit-Kat packet in Japan I can remember seeing that has the “have a break, have a kit-kat” slogan written on it. In English no less. Maybe its from Hong Kong?
The packet design is pretty good actually, we’ve got some nice individual elements all unified together and refreshingly uncluttered. The colouring ( red and gold) and the gold leaf pattern all tie this into China. The picture of the Anin Dofu is placed in the centre and tied into the rest of the design by the circular gold leaf pattern. This is a well balanced aesthetically pleasing design.
The individual Kats, however, are kind of cluttered. We’ve got all the same elements, 2 colours, a picture of the dessert, gold leaf, Kit-Kat logo, calorie information and blurbs but on a much smaller surface area and laid out all in a line rather than in a balanced circle. Its not the worst mini Kit-Kat I’ve seen but it is a jumbled mess.
One thing the packet does do up front is warn me that its going to be coloured chocolate and thus not very nice. I appreciate that kind of honesty. What I don’t want in my Kit-Kat is an emotional roller coaster, the anticipatory high of wondering what it will be like followed by the crushing low of realising it will inevitably be awful and the slowing down dreary confirmation that it is. Mostly I just want a biscuit.
The Kit-Kat smells very almondy. I approve of this, I don’t really like almonds but I love the smell of almonds. Its how I got into glue sniffing in the first place.
It tastes, as expected, soapy milkshake-esque and just not very nice. It is pretty creamy, in fact much creamier than the coloured chocolate usually is. The almond notes are there but they’re subtle and the peachy/apricot notes are also subtly in the mix. The overall taste is just, creamy. Not even a strong milky cream but a bland one. Like the “cream” you get in a processed snack food such as a twinkie.
In fact it’s so bland it doesn’t really have an aftertaste. It kind of cleanses the palate for you. This would be perfect to eat with a curry, less so with a cup of tea.
Adult Sweetness Chocolate and Macha
For years on this blog I have been moaning that Kit-Kats are far too sweet and the sugar they add kills off some of the flavour they’re supposedly advertising. Also that eating all this sugar is really sickly after a while and likely to make me ill but I don’t think other people routinely eat 6 or 7 different flavours in one sitting to review them. That might be a problem I have to re-examine my life to solve rather than get Nestle to fix it for me.
Anyway either I’m not the only person that finds Kit-Kats to be too sweet or Nestle are actually reading this blog and making Kit-Kats just for me because they have now produced adult sweetness flavour Kit-Kats, Kit-Kats that are less sweet to suit an adult palate. They also replace the wafer with proper crunchy biscuit so what we’ve got here is some kind of premium Kit-Kat. Frankly I’m excited,
But first, as ever, the packaging.
The first thing to note about the packaging is that the two designs are very similar and share a lot of elements so we can largely deal with them as one design. The second is that this is actually a new way of packaging Kit-Kats entirely. Usually this size box contains 4 Kit-Kats, 2 packs of 2 fingers laid horizontally in the box. Instead we have 6 mini Kit-Kat fingers, 3 packs of 2 laid vertically. The design on the packet even stresses this as there is a cutaway at the top showing exactly how many fingers you get. It’s not the nicest design touch but it is good for the consumer since if one encountered this packet in the wild sans illustration one would presume you’d be getting 4 regular Kit-Kats and that could only lead to crushing disappointment. The suicide rate in Japan is high enough without Nestle toying with people’s emotions like that.
I feel that this is also another aspect of targeting it at adults as you can more easily regulate your Kit-Kat intake. Is 2 regular fingers too much for you? Well try just two mini ones instead. Are minis too small? Well have all 6 and its like eating an old school 4 finger pack. Adults like choice and are comfortable making these kinds of decisions whereas kids with their tiny underdeveloped minds would surely struggle.
The packet also opens at the top as well instead of, as is more usual, the side. And it doesn’t open with a straight line but a curvy line highlighted in gold. Pointless but kind of cool, it’s another adult and sophisticated touch.
A lot of design elements are shared by both flavours, we get the standard Kit-Kat logo although its smaller than usual. I approve of this as it looks gaudy and out of place on such an adult bit of packaging. We get the name of the flavour written in Japanese rather than English which just seems classier. A little description of the biscuit written vertically and then a swirl showing off the biscuit pieces and, as is standard a picture of the kat itself, although broken in half in a daring and provocative way. There’s no ability to post them but there is room on the back to write a message, presumably an in depth critique of the artistic statement the tea leaf makes perched, coquettishly against the kat as if to say, “I want you…come and get me.”
Of the two the chocolate works better. For some reason the biscuit swirl is moved up on the macha flavour creating a split between it, the title and the logo and the picture underneath. On the chocolate the swirl creates a kind of linking effect, framing the edge of the picture and drawing the eye down from the logo and across to the picture. Its just smarter design. The colour is more striking too, a deep matte black, not shiny, not patterned but just black. Its very striking and actually stands out on the shelves since it isn’t the overly busy, overly colouful design most other confectionery is. The deep dark green used on the macha is quite handsome but not as striking.
Finally the chocolate packet uses gold lettering and we all know gold equals classy. The macha could have done this too as gold and dark green complement each other very effectively but oddly chose not to.
I’m not going to discuss the designs on the individual kat wrappers since they’re basically just a copy of the box except that again the chocolate is better. Chocolate just has the name, Kit-Kat logo and a black background, macha adds the drawing and biscuit swirl again. Thus the macha has a more busy and cluttered design whereas, again, the chocolate is more simple, more elegant and more striking.
Well that’s enough waffling on about designs, how do they taste?
The chocolate smells lovely, like rich, dark “real” chocolate and its a lovely dark colour too. But it tastes, like a less sweet version of a regular Kit-Kat complete with the same terrible Nestle chocolate we’ve come to know and tolerate. Only weirdly gritty for some reason. It tricks you with the classy design, nice smell and lovely colour into thinking you’re eating real chocolate but it is all illusion, in reality its still the same old crap wrapped up in a new bow.
Although it is nicer than a regular chocolate Kit-Kat just by dint of being eveeeer so sliiiightly richer and a lot less sweet. I’d much rather eat this than a regular one any day of the week.
The wafer is not proper biscuit, it’s still wafer. However, bizarrely, it tastes like biscuit. Specifically like a digestive biscuit. It in no way has the texture of a digestive but the flavour is much closer to a proper biscuit than the bland tasteless wafers you usually get. I’m not usually a fan of digestives but this is nice actually. You start off with a chocolatey hit and then as you chew the digestive flavours really come through mixing with the chocolate for a nice mellow flavour. The after taste is all biscuit too and so you don’t get the sweet after taste kit-kats usually have.
Macha, for those who don’t know, is a kind of green tea. Specifically it’s in powder form, is very, very bitter and is always accompanied by a very sweet cake to offset the bitterness. I’ve never understood macha kit-kats since you need something sweet to counteract the bitter macha so naturally you have a kit-kat, but then making it macha flavoured means it doesn’t work for that purpose. Do you just eat them by themselves?
Of course we have coloured chocolate and so we know what that means. That’s right, soapy blandness! And what does the macha kit-kat provide? Soapy blandness! Yay! Only again, weirdly gritty as well so we can add “horribly textured” to our soapy blandness.
As you eat it a tiny, wee, infinitesimal green tea flavour is detectable but no sooner do you think you can taste it then BOOM digestive flavour kicks in and overpowers everything else. This does not taste of macha at all. You may as well put soap on a digestive biscuit and re-create the experience at home. Green soap if you want authenticity.
In its defence it isn’t sweet and it’s also weirdly refreshing. Whereas the chocolate left a strong digestive after taste that I had to wash down with tea the macha kind of cleansed the palate all by itself so 30 seconds after eating it was like I hadn’t at all.
Overall then the chocolate is slightly better than an original Kit-Kat but fairly dull and the macha is a complete non-entity.