QUICK REVIEW: Kit Kat Chocolatory Special Strawberry Maple (Japan)

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What is Kit Kat Chocolatory Special Strawberry Maple?

While in Tokyo recently, I made a stop at the Kit Kat Chocolatory store & café and brought home some goodies. Kit Kat, the king of novelty-flavored candy bars, has rolled out a Strawberry Maple variety for their Chocolatory retail outlets in Japan.

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How is it?

These Kit Kats have a strong, pleasant, but artificial, strawberry aroma. Like a bowl of Frankenberry doused in Strawberry Quik. No trace of maple yet.

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Strawberry was definitely in charge of the flavors. The taste was in line with the scent profile – nostalgic fake berry. I love this flavor, but it’s present everywhere – including multiple Kit Kats – so it didn’t excite me here.

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I only picked up the maple after the strawberry taste faded away, and even then it was subtle. If I wasn’t expecting maple, I don’t think I would have noticed it at all. The more I ate, the less I tasted it. This was disappointing since I’m a huge maple fan.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Google translate amuses me to no end. The translation of the text inside the box lid reads: “You can enjoy exquisite harmony with maple smelled faintly. With fresh strawberries.”

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Conclusion:

These are pleasant, but like the Ruby Kit Kats, they’re too familiar to feel special. If you’re a strawberry fanatic, seek them out. Otherwise, give them a try if they meander into your world, but don’t make an effort. If you’re a maple fan, pass on these – it’s just not there.

Purchased Price: 400 yen (approx. $3.52 US)
Size: 46.4 g box (4 mini bars)
Purchased at: Kit Kat Chocolatory main store, Ginza, Tokyo
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 11.6g bar) 64 calories, 3.7 grams of fat, 4-24 milligrams of sodium, 7.3 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.48 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Kit Kat Chocolatory Special Butter (Japan)

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What is Kit Kat Chocolatory Special Butter?

While in Tokyo recently, I made a stop at the Kit Kat Chocolatory store & café and brought home some goodies. Now, there’s always one errant flavor in the group that everyone raises an eyebrow at and this is it: butter.

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I’ll let the Google translation of the text inside the box describe them: “I kneaded butter powder between the layers of the wafers, making full use of the sweetness of chocolate, I finished it tastefully to feel the richness of butter.”

How is it?

The aroma inside the package reminded me of baking and raw dough. The taste was an instantly familiar one, yet novel to this format – creamed butter. When making cookies, you usually start by mixing sugar and butter together – creaming. Those of us with no willpower are very well-versed in the flavor of creamed butter, and this Kit Kat has captured it perfectly.

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I thought these would be less sweet and heavier on the butter, which is why I wasn’t sure about them at the start. I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed them. If you prefer your sweet/butter ratio on the savory side, you probably won’t like these. But if you’ve had your hand slapped by Mom or Grandma for dipping into the mixing bowl early, you’ll love them.

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Is there anything else you need to know?

I now regret only buying one box.

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Conclusion:

I’ll just say it – I loved Butter Kit Kats. If you’re buying gifts for a baking junkie, track these down. If you’re a novelty junkie, track them down. If you’re a butter junkie, they’ll still make you happy, but not as ecstatic as the baking freaks. But that’s probably OK since your heart might explode if they did.

Purchased Price: 400 yen (approx. $3.52 US)
Size: 46.4 g box (4 mini bars)
Purchased at: Kit Kat Chocolatory main store, Ginza, Tokyo
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per 11.6 g bar) 65 calories, 3.8 grams of fat, 4-24 milligrams of sodium, 7.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.45 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Kit Kat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby (Japan)

Kit Kat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby

What is the Kit Kat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby?

While in Tokyo recently, I made a stop at the Kit Kat Chocolatory store & café and brought home some goodies. Ruby Kit Kats are a new type of chocolate made from unfermented cocoa beans (regular chocolate is fermented). There’s no coloring added, so the dusty mauve tint is the natural shade of the cocoa beans.

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How is it?

Ruby Kit Kats smell like white chocolate and taste like a blueberry or blackberry-flavored white chocolate. There’s a prominent cheesecake-style tang.

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It’s a tasty Kit Kat, but I expected something out of left field since it’s a whole new category of chocolate. However, it tasted like something I’ve had before. Without the press releases and special packaging, I would have figured it was just another novelty flavor.

The color is lovely. It gives the illusion that it’s more natural than the bright pink most berry items sport these days. Maybe it is since there’s no coloring added?

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Is there anything else you need to know?

Wanna know how to spend $42 in a Kit Kat store? This is it. These are ‘spensive – $3.50 for a tiny box. The packaging is so distinctly Japanese – graphically clean and minimalist, carefully wrapping a precious single stick of Kit Kat – as in 1/4 of a standard Kit Kat package here in the US. $3.50 for one finger of a Kit Kat! I was so disappointed, then nauseated by my American-sized gluttony. So I ate another one.

Conclusion:

These are interesting, but no more than any other random flavor variety of Kit Kat. I hope millions weren’t spent developing this new ruby chocolate, because it’s not all that. Try them if they’re easy to get and the price lowers, but don’t bend over backwards to find them.

Purchased Price: 400 yen (approx. $3.52 US)
Size: 12 g bar
Purchased at: Kit Kat Chocolatory main store, Ginza, Tokyo
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (12 g bar) 61 calories, 3.6 grams of fat, 2.4-11 milligrams of sodium, 6.5 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.61 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Limited Edition Snickers White (Japan)

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What is Snickers White?

I’m in Japan – the mecca of novelty junk food! Of course, I sought out some new and quirky offerings. The traditional Snickers candy bar gets a paler makeover with white chocolate coating and lighter nougat filling. When I spied these on the shelf, they seemed so familiar, but I hadn’t seen or tried them before.

How is it?

When I unwrapped the candy bar, I didn’t know whether to bite into it or spread it on my toast. It looked like a stick of butter.

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Once righted, I noticed the white chocolate coating was thin enough that I could make out individual nuts through it. ?
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The caramel and peanuts here are the familiar and delicious Snickers taste combo, but the nougat is different. It’s slightly lighter in color and taste. I couldn’t tell if it was vanilla flavored or just generic “sugar.” It faded away behind the caramel, peanuts and white chocolate. I’m usually a big nougat fan, so this was a bummer.

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The white chocolate in this candy bar was the dominant flavor, and very sweet. Cloyingly sweet to me. I found it a little off-putting. It also melted much quicker than the regular chocolate coating, so I ended up with white fingerprints all over my airline seat.

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Is there anything else you need to know?

Staging an impromptu Snickers bar photo session on a plane will most certainly garner odd looks from the stranger sitting next to you. Be warned.

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Conclusion:

Snickers White comes off as a too-sweet, washed out photocopy of an actual Snickers. Not as exciting as Snickers’ other recent innovations.

Purchased Price: 140 yen (approx. $1.24 US)
Size: 49 g bar
Purchased at: Family Mart, Shibuya, Tokyo
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (per bar) 249 calories, 12.9 grams of fat, 4.9 grams of saturated fat, 280 milligrams of sodium, and 24.7 grams of sugar.

QUICK REVIEW: Coca-Cola Clear (Japan)

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What is Coca-Cola Clear?

I’m in Japan – the mecca of novelty junk food! Of course, I sought out some new and quirky offerings. Coca-Cola has introduced a colorless version of its signature pop – trailing a quarter of a century behind Pepsi in the clear soda arms race. Without all that pesky caramel-y cola, it’s billed as lemon-flavored and is a zero-calorie drink. It is currently only available in Japan.

How is it?

Right out of the bottle, the aroma veers away from the usual Coke. It’s milder with a low-level citrus smell.

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I was expecting something with a strong lemon taste, ala Sprite or 7Up, but this was subtler – like squeezing a lemon wedge into your already-sweet seltzer water and adding a dash of cola. Despite the lemon base, it was identifiable as a Coke derivative and had the same sweeteness level, but was lighter and brighter than regular Coca-Cola. It didn’t have the neon citrus feel of other sodas.

While not unpleasant, Coca-Cola Clear failed to establish its own flavor personality. Hence, it’s easier to describe what it ISN’T – it’s not cola, it’s not un-cola. Because of this vagueness of character, I wondered why this? Why now? Is 2018 the right time just because Coke hadn’t done it yet?

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Is there anything else you need to know?

Be prepared for the pop. The Coke products I sampled in Japan were packaged in a way that caused the initial rush of gasses out of the bottles to be downright explosive. My travel companion and I startled each other all week with the loud cracks of Coke bottles opening.

Conclusion:

Overall, an OK lightly lemon soda, but as Dr. Ian Malcolm would say – Coca-Cola scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should. Try it if you’re a hardcore noveltyist, but only one bottle.

Purchased Price: 48 yen (approx. 69 cents US)
Size: 500 ml bottle (17 oz.)
Purchased at: MEGA Don Quijote Shibuya, Tokyo
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (100 ml) 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of total sugars and 0 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Auntie Anne’s Birthday Cake Pretzel Nuggets

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What are Auntie Anne’s Birthday Cake Pretzel Nuggets?

Mall-pretzel-mecca Auntie Anne’s is rolling out the winning flavor of its “Pretzel Nation Creation” crowd-sourcing contest. Just in time for the company’s 30th birthday, Birthday Cake Pretzel Nuggets have vanilla dust, chocolate drizzle and funfetti sprinkles.

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How are they?

What immediately jumps out of this birthday cake is the chocolate syrup. While it says “made with Ghirardelli,” this tasted just like the childhood classic Hershey’s syrup. I’m generally not a big fan, and I didn’t think it belonged in a birthday cake flavored item. To me, birthday cake is vanilla, butter, milk and maybe a hint of cream cheese or almond.

The vanilla dust on these nuggets was more like vanilla sugar, which was fine. It was a nice middle-of-the-road vanilla flavor and did a good job of making itself known. The sprinkles were the flat round type – formally called quins – in bright pastels. Very cheerful.

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A friend who tried these with me suggested an all-over glaze might’ve been better, and I agree. Vanilla buttermilk frosting glaze poured over each nugget would’ve screamed birthday cake and been a great sticky landing pad for those sprinkles.

This was my first time trying the nugget format of Auntie Anne’s pretzels. The flavor was good, but they weren’t as soft at the traditional, large, knot-shaped pretzels.

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Is there anything else I need to know?

Because the nuggets are placed in the cup before “birthdayization,” your sprinkle and vanilla experience will be limited to the 3-4 nuggets on top. The syrup works its way down, but there will likely be some blanks at the bottom.

Conclusion:

Auntie Anne’s Birthday Cake Pretzel Nuggets are definitely a mall food – new but still really familiar, cute but institutional, with a tinge of missed opportunity.

Purchased Price: $5.69
Size: 16 oz. cup
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (16 oz. cup) 530 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 340 milligrams of sodium, 106 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 40 grams of total sugars, and 10 grams of protein.