ULTIMATE KIT-KAT BOX; Niigata Pear, Tokyo Kuromitsu and Kyushu Amaou Strawberry

Hello Kit-Kat fans and welcome back to the ultimate box of Kit-Kats. Last time we discussed the box itself, this time we’re going to dig into some of the Kit-Kats it contains.

Niigata Pear

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So apparently we can’t spring for English on the box but we’re now putting French on the wrappers. Maybe every wrapper will have a different language on it to signify the country it’s aimed at. As if to say “French people, we think you’ll like the pear flavour, it compliments wine, cheese and surrendering to Nazi Germany.”

But more than likely it’s because Japanese people think putting stuff in French makes it fancy and elegant. This is something they do with terrific frequency. I’d mock that but my country does exactly the same thing and we hate France so that’s us effectively openly acknowledging that France just is classier than the U.K. Which, to be honest, it is.

Le Lectier is the name of the variety of pear and although originally from France it is grown in Niigata and is considered a local speciality there. It’s a white pear with a very smooth texture and is very strongly fragranced. Or so the internet tells me, I’m not a pear connoisseur and if you probed me my ability to blag that I am would crumple swiftly.

Packaging wise I love that this Kit-Kat. It’s simplified, a simple cream background, a contrasting black stripe and an image of a pear. It’s more reassured and more elegant than the busy clutter of most designs.

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Smell wise this reeks of pears straight away, indeed it might be one of the most strongly scented Kit-Kats I’ve come across, appropriate for a pear that is supposed to be so strongly scented and aromatic.

Flavour wise it’s pretty assured too; the pear is a strong initial note on the palate and persists through right until the after taste which is almost sour with pear flavour. But there is a depth to the flavour too. One gets a sweet burst (with pear) to start, a kind of creamy taste and texture in the middle (with pear) and finally a sour pear aftertaste (with pear) to finish (with pear, did I mention this is really strongly flavoured of pear?).

The only problem is our old friend, waxy coloured chocolate, makes a return so whilst the flavour is lovely the texture is pretty foul.

The waxiness also means that it coats the roof of your mouth with the slightly sour aftertaste and that can be a touch unpleasant. No worries with that though, wash this down with some green tea and it pairs really nicely. This is a delicious flavour, easily one of Nestlé’s better efforts.

Tokyo Brown Sugar Syrup

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Since I learned my lesson from Tohoku that the English lies I assumed that there was more to this than just brown sugar syrup and did some research on the Japanese name Kuromitsu and it turns out… to be entirely accurate.

Kuromitsu is not really a Tokyo thing so I’m not entirely sure why this is the specialty picked for Tokyo so much as it is an old fashioned and traditional method of sweetening all manner of old fashioned Japanese sweets and desserts. Basically it’s molasses but thinner. If anything it should be an Okinawan specialty since that’s where sugar cane grows in Japan. I guess they’ve given it to Tokyo because of the old fashioned connotations and Tokyo, despite its reputation as a modern metropolis, is a historical city with lots of old fashioned crafts still practised there. This is something you’ll probably comment on if you visit Japan, the mix of the modern and the historical in close proximity. If you ask me that, above anything else, really informs and defines Japan and the Japanese character.

The wrapper is appalling. For once I actually don’t mind the logo since it blends into the main body of the wrapper and the main body has a nice gradient colour to it that really gives it some class and an old fashioned feel. We get a picture of the inviting looking brown sugar syrup and the blue strip is cleverly incorporated into the design. It looks like the flags Japanese businesses used to use to advertise their shops in the past and which you’ll still see on any shop trying to evoke a nostalgic theme.

Then it spoils all of this nostalgia and the air of history and tradition by covering the other side with random coloured squares. That doesn’t say traditional Japanese culture to me, it says Rubik’s cube.

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The smell is actually fairly unpleasant. I’ve never smelled Kuromitsu so I couldn’t tell you how accurate to real life it is but it certainly does smell sweet and I can imagine this being similar to a brown sugar. There’s something else here though, almost a rancid odour, like when meat smells sweet but you know that it means it’s bad. It’s not something chocolate should smell of, or indeed meat.

Taste wise it’s very similar to brown sugar or molasses, very sweet but actually sweet in a way that is different to refined sugars, it has a flavour and a complexity to it. There are burnt flavours, nutty flavours, caramel flavours; it’s a surprisingly complex taste.

The way I usually write these reviews is to eat part of a finger, write my thoughts and eat it some more as I type so I keep the flavour in mind whilst writing. With this Kit-Kat my initial reaction was that it was very unpleasant, I couldn’t have told you what exactly I disliked about it thought but mixed in with the sweetness and the nuttiness was another note that was intensely unpalatable. However, the more I eat this, the more I like it and I can no longer place that unpleasant note at all. In fact this is really, really nice. I’d most compare it to sweet potato, which is one of my all-time favourites, and it shares the same flavour profile of sweet potato; sweet caramel notes with something earthy underneath it all. It even avoids the problem of waxy coloured chocolate.

The aftertaste is a bit sour but this works really well with tea or coffee actually which should clear the aftertaste up considerably.

Kyushu Amaou strawberry

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Kyushu is the third largest of the main islands and it is awesome. It might possibly be my favourite part of Japan. I only visited there once but I had such an amazing time, the people seemed so much friendlier than in Tokyo or Kyoto, the countryside was gorgeous, the weather was gorgeous (if too hot) and the food was phenomenal. It was all the things I liked about Japan just more so.

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I did not know it was famous for strawberries but apparently Amaou strawberries (literally big sweet strawberries) are something of a delicacy there, particularly near the city of Fukuoka. Apparently these strawberries are of such high quality they can fetch a dollar each easily.

This is another quirk of Japan, stupidly expensive fruit. See this watermelon?

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This watermelon sold for $6,100 dollars. Well maybe not this exact example but certainly something very similar. Now that’s an extreme example but cantaloupe melons routinely retail at prices around $30 , I bought one in the supermarket today for about $2. I’ve never entirely grasped the reasons for this but it has something to do with how Asian counties use fruit as a gift instead of things like chocolates and wine.

The packet is great. Rather than have a picture of one strawberry they turned the entire background into strawberries which when you have a product with such a dominant colour as red makes perfect sense. This is really eye catching without being overly busy. Frankly the apple and green tea favours in the same box should have done the same thing. It also helps stop the image from being too crowded since you don’t have so many clashing colours.

Disappointingly we don’t have real chocolate but white chocolate. However there is no doubting this will taste of strawberries since the smell is overpowering. Actually it smells less like a strawberry than it does a strawberry milkshake, specifically a burger king strawberry milkshake.

I may have mentioned this before but I have boycotted Burger King and McDonalds for life due to their business practises that I have no desire to support. This is pretty easy for me since I’m not a huge fan of their food. I am however in love with their strawberry milkshakes, they don’t taste quite like strawberries and they have a texture milkshakes should not have (I know they use potato as a thickener and that’s what probably does it) but there’s something just divine about them. The smell of this Kit-Kat is giving me a serious nostalgia trip and wearing down my resistance. If I don’t finish this review quickly I may have to get myself to a McD’s ASAP.

The flavour is the total opposite though. Rather than being that familiar artificial strawberry flavour (you know the one, all strawberry sweets taste of it.) it is remarkably like a real strawberry. It even has the tartness that usually gets washed out in strawberry sweets. This is delightful. It’s sweet to the taste, tastes and smells very evocatively of strawberries but has a tartness that cuts the sweetness and makes it perfectly balanced. It’s slightly soapy but again that tartness cuts that down and makes it palatable. It also has a lovely creamy finish which pairs so well with strawberries. It even has a nice aftertaste, not too chemically or creamy and still redolent of fruit.

I can’t tell you if this tastes like an Amaou strawberry but it is leagues better than any strawberry flavour Kit-Kat has done before.

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