Thursday, December 16, 2010

Black Sugar and Kinako Kit Kat

I never made it to Okinawa in the three years I lived in Japan and recently I've really regretted that. First my friend "Sue" posted pictures of her recent trip there in all their blue watered and palm tree glory which I viewed during the first big snowstorm of the winter season here in Ohio and second I finally got around to trying the Black Sugar and Kinako Kit Kat I ordered awhile back, the black sugar being famous in Okinawa. Apparently this flavor has been around before and is just being re-released but it's the first time I've seen it. I wouldn't mind if it stuck around. Other than Strawberry my favorite flavors don't get recycled very often.

Kinako and Black Cane Sugar Kit Kat


These two minis have 68 calories each and are made with milk chocolate. As soon as you open the wrapper there is an intense aroma of brown sugar. That's the Kokutou or Okinawan black sugar. I've never had any other sweet made with this sugar but after sampling this Kit Kat I would love to try some more. The closest thing I've had to it is the hardened brown sugar crust that my mom bakes on top of her sweet potato casserole.

The black sugar perfectly complements the milk chocolate and really the kinako with its subtle nutty taste was lost among the black sugar. Supposedly it was hiding between the wafers but even there I noticed the stickiness that the black sugar added. It was really sweet but not too sweet which is something you get with darker sugars. Sweetness without going too far it makes your mouth hurt.

I don't know if this is still available in Japan but if you happen across it then I definitely suggest giving it a try. But if you live with other people I recommend getting several. I instantly regretting sharing the second of only two mini bars with my dad.

Let me know if you have tried other Kokutou (black sugar) treats because I'd love some recommendations of things to try.

Final Score: 8

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Petit Cheese Kit Kat

I was not looking forward to the Cheese Kit Kat. Last year while in Tokyo my friend Kristin and I went to the Meiji 100% Chocolate Cafe where we tried an atrocity against chocolate - the cheese chocolate. But I have committed to try every crazy flavor of Kit Kat there is and if I can survive the Rose Kit Kat and the Corn Kit Kat then I could suck it up and try this one.

Cheese Kit Kat

So I did. And it tasted just as bad as I remember the Meiji version but with wafers. The only upside to this Kit Kat was that it was smaller so there was less to force down my throat. They came in a box with five small one finger Kit Kats, each with only 25 calories. The Cheese Kit Kat is made with white chocolate which I think is too sweet for this combo but I'm not sure milk or dark chocolate would necessarily improve upon it. You would need to change the cheese used which as far as I can pinpoint is a white cheddar. A cream cheese would make more sense to me. Chocolate cheesecake is evidence that the cheese/chocolate combo can be delicious.

I knew it wasn't cream cheese from the picture on the box. The smell of cheese coming off the small bar didn't smell like anything from Philadelphia either. The first thing I noticed was the sweet taste of white chocolate but then the cheese hits you. They didn't mix well and I ended up with the lingering aftertaste of cheese. I had to drink some ginger ale to get rid of the taste.

Cheese Kit Kat

If you have tried other cheese/chocolate combos and liked them then you might try this one. Otherwise, this is not a Kit Kat flavor I can endorse. I want to like the idea of cheese chocolate and I still have hope that someone has done it well (let me know if you've had a good cheese chocolate) but Nestle failed just as badly as Meiji.

Final Score: 3

Friday, November 12, 2010

Adult Kit Kat

No this isn't a triple X Kit Kat - it's just Nestle's latest marketing scheme to convince those of us who no longer need to buy Kit Kats for good luck on our exams that there are still Kit Kat bars especially for us. Adults are more serious so we need a serious chocolate bar made with dark chocolate. We also have a serious spokeswoman Meisa Kuroki who wears black. If you want to have more fun you should stick with Meisa Akagi who prefers milk chocolate and wears red.

Adult Kit Kat

Now that I'm back in the States and I'm back to being a serious, suit-wearing, business woman this is the Kit Kat for me. Also I love dark chocolate. However, there really isn't much to review on this one. It comes in a box of two - each with 95 calories. The chocolate is dark (not that dark though) and has a little more snap to it than a regular Kit Kat. The addition of the wafers maintains a level of sweetness you don't usually get with a regular dark chocolate bar and I think I've decided I prefer my dark chocolate dark and my Kit Kats with milk chocolate. Not much more to it than that. The most interesting part of this Kit Kat is the ridiculous campaign that goes with it. You can see more of the new campaign here.


Final Score: 7

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I hope you've all dressed up and eaten too much candy. My favorites are smarties, Reese's and of course Kit Kats.

My treat for you tonight is a link to a website here in the States that sells Japanese Kit Kats. They are in San Francisco so the shipping is likely to be better from NapaJapan. The only downside is that they don't appear to get the newer flavors as quickly but if you're just getting started or willing to wait then I encourage you to check out AsianFoodGrocer.com.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Roasted Tea Kit Kat - Kyoto Limited Edition

I drank tea before I went to Japan but living there really upped the ante for me when it came to tea-drinking. Now that I'm back in the States I drink a lot more coffee than anything else. I miss the always available pot of green tea in the teacher's room. But luckily I have tea flavored Kit Kats to remind me of better times. Although to be honest I have never had this type of tea. Hochija tea is made with roasted green tea leaves and is a specialty in the Kyoto region. Although I like green tea I don't usually like green tea Kit Kats. This one however was an exception.

The Hochija Roasted Tea Kit Kat is 69 calories and is a regional special limited edition from in and around Kyoto. I assume you can buy it only in that region or you can do what I did and get it on NapaJapan. It is made with white chocolate that is tinted a light brown. It smells like tea and the chocolate tastes like somewhat like tea but when you add in the wafers it tastes just like a chocolate wafer cookie.
Roasted Tea Kit Kat

You know what I'm talking about - those wafer cookies that have creme between them and come in vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry. My grandpa loves them. Well this Kit Kat tastes just like a chocolate wafer cookie so either the wafers in those cookies taste just like Hochija roasted tea or Nestle didn't do a great job of replicating the taste. Since my tea experience doesn't extend to Hochija I can't really say.

What I can say is that it was a pretty good Kit Kat and definitely the best of any tea flavored ones I've tried. If you're a fan of the Green Tea Kit Kats then this might not be your cup of tea (did you see what I did there?) but otherwise I recommend you try them if you can.

Final Score: 7


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Annin Dofu Kit Kat - Yokohama Limited Edition

I'm baaaaack! I missed snacking on strange Kit Kats but thanks to napajapan I can order them online. My first purchase from this side of the world was a few new regional limited editions.

To start with we have a new flavor from Yokohama, highlighting its famous and very large Chinatown. First off let me say that I already miss the Chinese food in Japan. I don't know if it's the closer proximity to China or that Japanese people are more willing to eat more authentic Chinese food but it just doesn't compare to what we can get here in the States. I know I've never seen annin dofu on a menu here but maybe that's because I live in Ohio and most people turn up their noses when I tell them what I've eaten in Asia. The idea of tofu for dessert (or tofu at all for that matter) just doesn't sit well here. Which is too bad because it's delicious. I love me some sweet tofu!

Sweet Tofu Kit Kat

So I was excited to try the Annin Dofu Kit Kat. Each mini has 69 calories and is covered in white chocolate. Straight out of the package they smell just like the Chinese dessert. I took one bite and I declared this one a winner. It tastes just like annin dofu. It is sweet but not overwhelmingly so. It has a nice spicy note to it and bear with me because I suck at identifying spices but I'm going to go with nutmeg.

So there you go. Review over. Mission accomplished. If you like annin dofu then you'll like this Kit Kat. If you haven't tried annin dofu before then try it and then try this Kit Kat. I only wish I could have afforded to buy more of these.

Final Score: 9

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The future of this blog

If you've been reading this blog for the last couple of months or if you follow me on Twitter then you know that this was my last year in Japan. I came home to Ohio two weeks ago and as of now I have no immediate plans to return to the land of crazy Kit Kat flavors.

I am both sad and happy about this. I'm sad because I loved my inaka town, my Japanese friends, and hunting for new Kit Kats. I'm happy to be home because I missed my parents, my adorable nephew, and my American friends. But besides general homesickness I had a really good reason to come home and that is because both of my sisters are pregnant! This winter I will have a new niece and a new nephew.

Blah, blah, blah, who cares about babies right? What about the chocolate? you're asking. Well don't worry just because I can't scour the shelves of my local conbini for Kit Kats doesn't mean I can't keep up this blog. I hope to keep the Kit Kat love alive by ordering them online. That does mean that I probably won't be updating quite as often as I have in the past but keep your eyes peeled because there will be new reviews.

Until then let me know what Kit Kats you are trying and what you think of them!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Contest Winner Speaks Out

Back in May I hosted a contest where if you commented you had the chance to win some of the Kit Kats featured on the blog. In June Kate won the contest and sometime in July I finally got my act together and sent her the chocolate.

It didn't take her nearly as long to eat them as it took me to mail them and she kindly emailed me her thoughts. With permission I am posting her reviews here. Enjoy!

I was a little scared of this one. Like you I always associated aloe with either a funny looking houseplant or a sticky green gel you rub on sunburns. Either way, I'd never been tempted to snack on it. The KitKat wasn't bad though. Mostly I just tasted the white chocolate, which I really like, and a hint of something that reminded me a little bit of raw cucumber. A little odd, but tasty in it's own way. Don't think I'll be ordering more of these or rushing out to munch on an aloe plant though.

This was probably my least favorite. The first thing I smelled was fake banana flavor, which is something I've never liked. There wasn't as much banana flavor as I expected given the smell, but all I could really taste was sweetness with a hint of banana aftertaste.

I have no idea what actual Calpis tastes like, but the KitKat version gave me flashbacks to snack time at Bible School. And every other church activity I went to as a little kid, for that matter. They tasted exactly like the vanilla sandwich cookies that seemed to be a staple of church kiddie snacks, along with red Kool-Aid and M&Ms. Much as I enjoyed the trip down memory lane, I don't think I'll jump at the chance to try Calpis. A couple bites of candy was good, but an entire drink with that flavor would just be too much.

I love white chocolate. I love strawberries. It didn't take much for me to figure out I was going to love this KitKat. And I did :) Even the little bit of tartness just made it interesting and kept me from feeling like I was eating straight sugar.

I agree with your take on this one. It tastes a lot like a UDF orange freeze (my mom's from Cincinnati, so I know my Ohio treats). Very tasty :). Of course, if they're going to make orange KitKats, there should definitely be a mimosa flavor.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Salt and Caramel Kit Kat Bar

New Kit Kats have been thin on the ground recently so I was pretty excited to find this Salt and Caramel Kit Kat at the train station Sunkus. I reviewed the Salt and Caramel Kit Kat Bites previously, giving it the high score of a 9, so I expected that I wouldn't be disappointed with this latest incarnation.

Salt and Caramel Kit Kat Bar

Except that I kind of was. My first problem was that I put it in the refrigerator to keep it from melting in the ridiculous heat we've been having here in Japan so the milk chocolate that normally melts in my mouth did not. I think next time I will let it get a little melty before I try eating it. The other thing, something I am coming to realize after eating a LOT of Kit Kats, is that the Kit Kat Bar and the Kit Kat Little are two different animals. Just because you have the same flavor in both forms does not mean that it tastes the same. With a Kit Kat Bar the flavor is more diffuse while the Kit Kat Little has a very concentrated flavor. This bar had the same great salty caramel taste to it but the coldness of the bar (my fault) combined with a less concentrated flavor led to a less enthusiastic thumbs up from me.

I liked it, don't get me wrong, but my anticipation did not match up with the eventual outcome. Just like I preferred the Strawberry Kit Kat Little I also prefer the Salt and Caramel Kit Kat Bites. But alas, you can't get the bites anymore so you have to take what you can get which is this pretty delicious bar. Just don't eat it all in one go if you are on a diet or used to eating the minis - it has 234 calories of salty caramel goodness.

Final Score: 7

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cola and Lemon Squash Kit Kat

Sorry to not be posting much but there have been fewer Kit Kats to review and now that rainy season is over and summer is finally here I've been enjoying more summer appropriate treats (as in ones that don't melt all over me in this 35 degree heat.) I highly recommend Lotte Peach Ice Cream and Pure Apple Gummies. But enough about other snacks, let's talk Kit Kats shall we?

This is a two-fer review. Two reviews in one because with this Kit Kat you get two different Kit Kats in one box. That made it a bit of a challenge for me actually because I generally like to eat two of any Kit Kats I review so that I can get a good idea of the flavor. So if you try these and wonder where on earth did I come up with this review then that's my excuse. (I think some of you think that anyway heehee.) Unfortunately, these were not good enough to warrant buying a second box to make sure I was fully appreciating all the nuances but here's what I got.


First up: Cola Kit Kat - 100 calories made with white chocolate but colored a light brown color to suggest cola. It smelled kind of like cola but really more like bubblegum in my estimation. The chocolate itself is cola flavored and there is more of that "soda" powder between the wafers. The same "soda" powder that was in the Ramune Kit Kat and it gave it that same bubblegum/Fruity Pebbles twist. Sadly this addition ruined it for me. The chocolate itself was not too bad, a little on the sweet side, but actually tasted like cola. A little less "soda" powder and it would have been an interesting snack. I think I'd still prefer a real glass of coke though.

Next up: Lemon Squash Kit Kat - for those of you not in the know Lemon Squash is a kind of soft drink sold here in Japan. This bar was also 100 calories and made with white chocolate. It was colored yellow and smelled like lemon. The chocolate had a nice lemon flavor to it. This, too had the "soda" powder between the wafers but it worked better here. The powder has a bit of sour kick to it that went nicely with the lemon. This was definitely the better of the two but it still wasn't something I would choose to eat again. If you're a regular reader of this blog you'll know that I have mixed feelings about chocolate and citrus together and this was another example of that. It was good but not my cup of tea.

Overall this was more fun for the novelty factor rather than the flavor factor. I'm always happy to try new Kit Kats but this isn't one I can enthusiastically recommend or one I will buy again. They weren't bad but they weren't that good either.

Final Score: 5

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Aloe Vera Yogurt Kit Kat

Until I came to Japan the only thing I knew about aloe vera was that it's good for sunburns but apparently you can eat it. They put it in yogurt here in Japan, sometimes by itself and sometimes chunks of aloe mixed in with your regular fruit yogurt. I've always shied away from eating it because, well, the idea of eating something I previously only thought of as a topical medicine didn't sound appealing. It still didn't sound appealing even after I saw the latest Kit Kat mini - the Aloe Vera Yogurt Kit Kat. They sat in my kitchen while I ate every other Kit Kat and snack I had while I worked up the courage to try it.



The Aloe Vera Kit Kat comes in a bag of 12 minis. Each is 69 calories. They are tinted a greenish color and smell like a bad sunburn. I didn't get a good sense of any yogurt, which is too bad. Mostly it had a very sweet white chocolate flavor with a hint of something else. Since I don't eat aloe vera often I'm assuming that's what it was. It had a sharpness to it and tasted slightly medicinal although that could be my preconceptions of aloe vera getting in the way. It wasn't bad but it wasn't something I want to try again, especially since the aloe vera hung in my mouth long after I finished the bar.

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone unless you are accustomed to and like eating aloe vera or you are feeling adventurous.

Final Score: 4

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Blueberry Kit Kat

One of the foods I miss the most in Japan is blueberry pancakes. I suppose I could make my own but blueberries (like everything else) are expensive here and unless I have blueberry syrup from Cracker Barrel to go on them it's just not the same. To make up for the lack of blueberry pancakes though I do have some pretty fantastic blueberry honey (also expensive but worth it) that I slather on home made biscuits, which for the record are almost as good as Cracker Barrel's. Man, I miss Cracker Barrel.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I was excited to see some Blueberry Kit Kat minis and that I'm still avoiding the Aloe Vera Yogurt Kit Kats sitting in my kitchen going on a month now. I found these minis in a mix pack at the 7-11 that also came with regular chocolate and what else but some more Strawberry Kit Kats. I did notice a bag of nothing but Blueberry at the grocery store yesterday so if you'd rather not have more Strawberry Kit Kats (understandable) I suggest looking for that bag instead.



Each Blueberry Kit Kat mini is 66 calories. They are made with a very creamy milk chocolate. That or they melted a bit when I left the house and turned off the air conditioner. It has been pretty hot here when it's not raining. Either way, even if it was messy, I liked it. They have a blueberry smell and a nice blueberry flavor in both the chocolate and the creme. It could be a little more but it's better than the Blueberry Cheesecake Kit Kat where I struggled to find the blueberry taste.

I'm a big fan of Nestle's fruit/milk chocolate combinations and this is just one more example to add to a list that include the Yubari Melon Kit Kat, Banana Kit Kat, and Strawberry Kit Kat. They do a better job of sticking to the natural flavor when they use milk chocolate versus white. Then again I don't like white chocolate that much so take that as you will.

Overall it was a really good snack but it's still not as good as some blueberry cheesecake ice cream! Especially in the summer heat. But if you don't mind a little chocolate melting on you then I would recommend picking these up.

What are your favorite blueberry treats? Muffins, pancakes, cheesecake, ice cream, jam? Are there better blueberry chocolates out there I should try? Let me know in the comments!

Final Score: 8

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Strawberry Kit Kat Little

I'm going to be honest. I don't buy EVERY Kit Kat that I find. I passed up a Green Tea Kit Kat Bar last month because I'm not really a huge fan of Green Tea Kit Kats and I've already tried three or four different varieties. It wasn't on the Breaktown website so I assumed it wasn't new.

But despite having tried more Strawberry Kit Kats than any other flavor I still find myself picking them up. This isn't even the last one! I just bought a mixed bag that had more Strawberry Kit Kats in it (although to be fair I bought it mostly because it had Blueberry Kit Kats too.) The only thing I can say is that even though Nestle overdoes it with the Strawberry variations there must be a reason why...people like me keep buying them.

I am however getting a little tired of writing about them so this review is going to be short. Here we go...The Strawberry Kit Kat Little(s) consists of a handful of cube shaped milk chocolate "balls" with 186 calories. The strawberry taste in these chocolate cubes is almost identical to that of the earlier Strawberry Kit Kat mini. The main difference is that with the Kit Kat Little that flavor is more concentrated. I actually prefer the stronger flavor and so these consequently are my favorite of the many different Strawberry Kit Kats I have tried.

If you do happen to come across these and liked the Strawberry Minis and don't mind to have another Strawberry Kit Kat and you also don't mind cube shaped chocolate that melts in your hand then definitely pick these up! There you go, another Strawberry review in the bag. I'm getting to where I can write these in my sleep.



As some of you know, my contract is ending soon and I'll be heading back to Ohio - land of boring Kit Kats. I hope to keep this blog going however by ordering Kit Kats via sites like NapaJapan. What does this mean for the Strawberry Kit Kat? Well, it will be more expensive to have them shipped from Japan rather than picking up a bag while in 7-11 to pay my internet bill so this might very well be the last impulsive Strawberry Kit Kat purchase. Nestle will have to really reinvent the Strawberry Kit Kat for me to buy it again. (I say that now...I'll guess we'll see though.)

Final Score: 9

Friday, June 18, 2010

Contest Winner!

I had lunch with the 8th graders today and after a halted explanation in a mix of Japanese and English about this blog the always genki Honoka chose a winner for the anniversary contest. I asked her to write down any number from 1-67 (the number of comments on the contest post) and then give me the number. She chose lucky number 7. That means Kate you are my winner! Please email me your address at jenken04 @yahoo.com so I can send you your fabulous prize.



To everyone else thanks for participating! I loved reading your ideas for future Kit Kats. Who knows maybe Nestle can take some inspiration and save us from anymore Strawberry Kit Kats!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bitter Almond Kit Kat

Nuts and chocolate go together. Beauty salons and Kit Kats...well I don't see the connection there but I'm not going to complain because Nestle and its latest partner Tokyo Beauty Clinic came up with a pretty good Kit Kat. I was so excited about this one, especially since the other TBC sponsored Kit Kat is Aloe Yogurt (not a flavor I'm looking forward to frankly) that I broke into the box before I remembered to take a picture.


The Bitter Almond Kit Kat comes in a box of two. Each bar is 99 calories and made with dark chocolate. Because of the way a Kit Kat is made - chocolate covered wafers - it makes putting whole almonds into the mix a little tricky. So instead they are ground up and mixed with the chocolate. You can see flecks of beige in the chocolate and the bar gives off a nice almond smell. The chopped almonds give it a more diffuse flavor and it's really the dark chocolate that shines through on this bar. I'm a big fan of dark chocolate so this bar was a huge hit. It was bitter but not too bitter and combined with the almonds and wafers it made for a great snack.

Like I said before nuts and chocolate are a no brainer. And dark chocolate is always a winner in my book so while this isn't one of the more exciting Kit Kats I've tried, it is one of the better ones.

Final Score: 8


Monday, June 14, 2010

Reminder

My anniversary contest is still running but it will be closed on Wednesday, June 16th! So if you haven't entered yet hurry on over and comment.

http://jenkenskitkatblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/contest.html

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yawata Five Spice Kit Kat - Nagano Limited Edition

Nestle does not make it very easy to get my hands on some of these regional limited edition Kit Kats. I travel quite a bit but I'm loathe to plan according to my Kit Kat needs. Lucky for me though I have friends who also travel and are kind enough to bring me back Kit Kats as omiyage. That's how I got my hands on this chili flavored Kit Kat from Nagano. You can buy the Nagano Apple Kit Kats online but this offering is only for those traveling through the region. My friend Marie happened to be there back in March and brought me back a mailer box.

The best part about this Kit Kat? It's not that it's dark chocolate although that is a bonus. No it's the name which when I plug into babelfish comes back as "The Five Conspirators." Not one, not two, but five different spices have conspired to bring you this hot Kit Kat. This is a candy bar for spies or corrupt Japanese politicians.


The Five Conspirators Kit Kat comes in a box of 5 minis (or a larger box of 12) and each is 67 calories. They are made with dark chocolate and like the Chili Kit Kat balls they don't smell like anything other than chocolate. The spicy kick is lurking beneath the surface. It's there though. It comes on slow, building in heat. I liked these better than the Chili Kit Kat balls though. The dark chocolate is a better compliment to the spiciness. I've also found that the Kit Kat Little are more concentrated in flavor so my sensitive palate handles the heat better when it's more diffused throughout the larger Kit Kat mini.



In the end I really enjoyed these minis. If you are ever in the neighborhood of Nagano then I wholly recommend searching these out. Or if not there's always hope that maybe someone will offer them online.

Final Score: 8

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cherry Kit Kat - Yamagata Limited Edition

From what I can tell the Cherry Kit Kat is less common than a Strawberry Kit Kat but only slightly. I missed the Cherry Kit Kat season last year but I did like the Sakura Matcha Kit Kat released earlier this year.

There are two cherry seasons here in Japan. The first is in April when everyone has flower viewing parties and gets drunk under the cherry blossoms. Later comes the cherry-eating season. Now is the time to get cherries. I think the cherry blossoms are beautiful but I much prefer to eat cherries and I spend a lot of money this time of year buying them. (Fruit is soooo expensive here!) When I saw that there was a Cherry Kit Kat I was both excited and wary. I like real cherries too much to waste time with fake cherry flavoring.

I bought these two precious minis online. For the longest time they were listed but out of stock but with regular and diligent checking I was finally able to score some. You can't buy these from the Nestle E-shop. You have to hope Napa Japan has some in stock or make your way to Sendai in order to try this one.


Each mini is 69 calories. They are made with white chocolate and colored a dark pink color. They have an artificial cherry smell to them. Upon tasting them, the chocolate itself has a slight cherry taste to it. If it was just that it would be too sweet to be good but the cherry creme between the wafers has a tartness that rounds out the sweetness of the chocolate. It is an artificial cherry taste to be sure but it's not so bad. It reminds me of a cherry icee but without the awkward red lips afterward.

Although I would rather have the real thing over this Kit Kat bar it was nice to finally try a Cherry Kit Kat. If you can get your hands on it then I recommend giving it a taste but I wouldn't go all the way to Sendai just to try it.

Final Score: 6.5

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Framboise Kit Kat

One of my favorite things to do during lunch is read my student's ridiculous t-shirts and pen cases that are covered with either French or English. I don't speak French very well but I can read enough to know that the Japanese mangle it just as much as they do English. It's hard to mess up one word though. I'm thankful that Nestle decided to just go with Framboise Kit Kat (that's French for raspberry by the way) and stuck with Japanese for the rest of the box.

The Framboise Kit Kat came in a box of two. Each pack is two fingers and has 97 calories. There is no picture on the packaging to indicate what kind of chocolate is used so I was expecting white chocolate but to my surprise it was actually milk chocolate. It had a faint raspberry smell to it. The chocolate itself had hints of raspberry but most of the fruity flavor was concentrated in the creme. The raspberry flavor was nice and a little tart - as close to authentic as you get with something like a Kit Kat (which is to say not very authentic.) The milk chocolate was creamy and reminded me why I love milk chocolate Kit Kats. There's something about them that just doesn't come through with a white chocolate or even (gasp!) a dark chocolate bar.




Like with other milk chocolate varieties, (I'm thinking mainly Yubari Melon Kit Kat) the fruit doesn't overwhelm the chocolate but works with it to make a very enjoyable snack. I only wish that my 7-11 stocked it. I am making a trip into the "big" city tomorrow so maybe when I'm picking up essentials like Starbucks coffee and guacamole mix I'll get another Framboise Kit Kat.

Final Score: 8

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Contest!

Around the end of April last year I mentioned offhand to a friend back home that Japan had some crazy flavored candies, Kit Kats in particular. Her response was immediate and enthusiastic. I had to try them all and then tell her about them. And thus the idea for Jen Ken's Kit Kat Blog was born.

In fact my first post was one year ago today! In the past year I have posted 73 entries and tried 55 different Kit Kats. I don't even want to contemplate how much money I've spent on chocolate. What's funny is that at the beginning I considered reviewing other snacks as well because I was certain there wouldn't be enough Kit Kats to keep me busy. Boy, was I wrong! Sometimes I get overwhelmed with how many are in my kitchen waiting to be eaten (currently 3).

In just a year this blog has grown from just a few friends and family reading it to over 60 followers, a comment and a link on Twitter from a famous American musician, and links around the net from other snack bloggers. I just want to say thanks to everyone for reading and commenting. You have made the past year really fun!

To celebrate my one year anniversary I am having a contest. The rules are simple. Just leave a comment here telling me your favorite crazy flavored Kit Kat or if you haven't had the chance to try any then which ones you're dying to eat. And what flavor Kit Kat do you want to see? The crazier the better! After one month I will have one of my adorable students pick a number and that number comment will win some delicious (and some not so delicious) Japanese Kit Kats.

Fabulous prize

So what are you waiting for? Leave a comment-win some Kit Kats!

EDIT: The contest is now closed. I'll announce a winner later this week. Thanks everyone who commented!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Zunda Kit Kat - Yamagata Limited Edition

In the States the idea of a good dessert is something very sweet and chock full of calories. We like chocolate, ice cream, cakes, and frosting. You would never find a dessert in America that consists of a paste made by smashing up boiled soybeans and then putting that paste on balls of rice that have been beaten into a sticky consistency. But in Japan that's called Zunda Mochi. Sounds delicious, right?

I have never had Zunda Mochi or zunda anything for that matter although some light internet research shows that there are more zunda flavored products to be had. I will say that after eating the Zunda Kit Kat I am intrigued. I want to try more zunda if for no other reason than that zunda is really fun to say. Try it. Zunda! Zunda! Zunda!


Right, ok. So onto the review. The Zunda Kit Kat is a regional special edition hailing from Yamagata. I was resolved to try this before I left Japan even if that meant I had to hop a shinkansen to Sendai in order to get it but luckily NapaJapan saved me the trouble and finally got some in stock. Each Kit Kat mini is 68 calories. They are made with white chocolate and are a light green color. They smell very interesting, like edamame, salt, and chocolate.


But while the smell was intriguing the taste was underwhelming. The Zunda Kit Kat tasted mostly like white chocolate with only a hint of edamame. The edamame is there but the sweetness of the white chocolate overwhelms it. As I said before I've never had zunda so maybe some of the flavor of the edamame is lost when it's been smashed into a paste and maybe, just maybe, it's a good thing that the taste is subtle because a soybean flavored Kit Kat might be a bad idea but I was expecting more.

Overall, I was glad that this strange flavor didn't go the same route as the Corn Kit Kat and while it has sparked my interest in a traditional Japanese treat it's not something I would really want to eat again. What do you think? Have you had zunda or other zunda flavored snacks? Did you like it?

Final Score: 5

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Semi-Sweet Kit Kat

My mom doesn't make cookies very often but she does do a pretty good job of always having a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the kitchen cupboards. Sometimes there's more than one bag of chips even. As a teenager I would sometimes eat them straight from the bag if for some reason we were running low on other snacks (the main reason being 3 teenagers in one house.) I didn't use to like anything other than milk chocolate back then so eating chocolate chips meant for baking was an act of desperation. These days though dark chocolate reigns supreme. Since most of the more exotic flavors come in white chocolate I'm always excited to see some darker chocolate Kit Kats like the recently released Semi-Sweet Kit Kat.


Isn't the box nice?

The Semi-Sweet Kit Kat comes in a box of two bars, each with two fingers that have 97 calories. While it's not technically dark chocolate it's still darker than the classic milk chocolate Kit Kat bar and it smells great. It has a nice bitter taste and the chocolate is better than the Mild Bitter Kit Kat I sampled a few months ago. It doesn't have quite the melt in your mouth quality of a classic Kit Kat and it seems to be lacking some creme between the wafers, making it a little on the dry side, but otherwise it was a nice variation on the regular Kit Kat. If the recent Mixed Fruit Kit Kat was meant for kids then the Semi-Sweet is meant for adults (it even says so on the box!)

I still prefer Dars Bitter when it comes to cheap dark chocolate but if nothing else the Semi-Sweet Kit Kat is better than eating chocolate chips straight out of the bag. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who prefers their chocolate a little darker.

Final Score: 8


Check out some more dark(er) chocolate Kit Kat reviews:

Kit Kat Dark
Mild Bitter Kit Kat
Melt In Your Mouth Kit Kat
Raspberry Passion Fruit Kit Kat

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mixed Juice Kit Kat

Nestle's latest Kit Kat brought back memories of childhood where the ideal snack was cookies and juice. Was it just me or did anyone else bite off the heads off their animal crackers and dip them in your red Kool-aid and then make animal in pain noises? The picture on this bag of minis is yellow though. I'm pretty sure that any juice cocktail I ever drank as a kid was red but maybe Japan is different. It makes for a lot less fun with animal crackers though. (Do they even sell those here?)

I wish I could say the Mixed Juice Kit Kat was as much fun as juice and cookies as a kid but that would be a lie. These came in a bag of 13 minis and each Kit Kat is 69 calories Made with white chocolate, they are a troubling orange color. The bag hints that there might be strawberry, banana, and peach flavors involved and it certainly smells fruity. It tasted fruity too but it proved difficult to really pinpoint exact flavors. There was definitely some peach in there. And it had a banana aftertaste. I didn't really get a sense of strawberry but it's possible I just missed it in the overwhelming sweetness.



Overall, the Mixed Fruit Kit Kat was much too sweet for my taste and the flavor was too nondescript for me to really enjoy it. It's a step up from the Vegetable Juice Kit Kat though. I'm not sure that's really saying much. So far juices and Kit Kats have been a bit of a bummer.

Total Score: 4

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Strawberry Kit Kat - Tochigi Limited Edition

A few weeks ago I took a trip up to Nikko where I ran across yet another regional limited edition. Usually I get excited about finding rare and hard to get Kit Kats when I travel but this time I actually questioned whether I should buy these or not.

Why? Well because this will be the FIFTH strawberry Kit Kat I have tried since I started this blog. This blog is still pretty young. It's been less than a year since I started on my crazy quest to try every Kit Kat Japan has to offer and already I have tried four other strawberry versions. But in the end I did buy them because you can't buy them online or find them in regular shops so if I was going to do it then it had to be while I was in Tochigi Prefecture visiting Nikko.



As a regional limited edition this particular Strawberry Kit Kat came in a box of 12 minis that cost 810 yen. Each mini is 68 calories. They are made with white chocolate and have an artificial strawberry scent to them. The taste is also artificial and this incarnation lacked the sour note on the end that redeemed the white chocolate versions that came before it. Without that little bit of sourness this bar was too sweet for me and because of the plethora of other strawberry Kit Kats out there this one was underwhelming.

I wholly suggest visiting Nikko but while there you should pass on the Strawberry Kit Kats and instead try the age yuba manju (a more traditional Japanese treat that is crispy, salty, and sweet all at once.)

Final Score: 5

Check out my other Strawberry Kit Kat reviews here:

Strawberry Kit Kat (circa May 2009)
Strawberry Cheese Cake Kit Kat
Sparkling Strawberry Kit Kat
Strawberry Kit Kat (circa January 2010)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Banana Kit Kat Bar

I'm back and with another Banana Kit Kat review. Don't confuse this with the Banana Kit Kat which I only reviewed back in February. I'm not sure what the rationale was behind releasing two different Banana Kit Kats so close together but it mirrors the same thinking with the Strawberry Kit Kat and the Sparkling Strawberry Kit Kat being released together. I don't try to understand the same minds that came up with the Rose Kit Kat or the Corn Kit Kat.

The Banana Kit Kat Bar is made with white chocolate and is colored a bright yellow. It has a very strong and very fake banana smell. Despite my love for bananas I don't really like banana flavored treats and just the smell of this made me cringe. I dreaded eating it, but I did because I knew it couldn't be worse than the Corn Kit Kat and it wasn't, but that's not really saying much.



The chocolate by itself has an overwhelming fake banana flavor that really put me off. But the wafers have a vanilla creme between them that together with the chocolate made for a more acceptable taste. However, it's still really sweet. With 243 calories it is not really diet friendly as say a Kit Kat mini but it was so sweet that I could only stomach half of it making that more like 122 calories. I'm not sure when or if I will ever finish the other half. There are too many other worthier sweets awaiting my attention. So the final verdict when it comes to Banana Kit Kats? I prefer the milk chocolate mini to this too sweet monstrosity. And I think any banana lovers out there will agree with me.

Final Score: 4

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Where to find Kit Kats

I've been traveling recently and when not doing that I've been gorging myself on all the Easter candy my mom brought me from the States. (I have the best mom ever!) So no reviews at the moment. Sorry!

In the meantime though I'd like to answer a question that I get a lot and that is "where do you get all of these crazy flavored Kit Kats? And more importantly where can I get them?"

The obvious answer is Japan. I live here, way out in the cabbage fields yes, but I still have a 7-11 across the street from my apartment so that's where my search usually starts. If you are lucky enough to also live here then you should start by looking in your neighborhood conbini.

Be aware though that not every convenient store will have each variety of Kit Kat. I've determined that my 7-11 only carries every other special edition Kit Kat so I also check the three conbinis near the train station in the next town over. (I go there once a month or so to meet friends for drinks and to hit up the international food store.) I've gone in one store and found one variety only to visit the next and found a different one. You have to be relentless in your search if you want to try every Kit Kat out there. They certainly don't make it easy.


I usually check the Nestle website to keep track of what I should be looking for. They change flavors every 6 weeks or so, so don't pass up a flavor thinking you will buy it later. A lot of what you see on this blog is already gone.

Regional Special Editions such as the Wasabi Kit Kat, Yuzu Kosho Kit Kat, or the Citrus Blend Kit Kat stick around a little longer and can be bought in the regions they come from, usually in the train station or in shops selling omiyage. Some of them can be purchased online but not all of them. In fact, I'm planning a trip to Sendai in part because I really want the Zunda Kit Kat and the Sakura Kit Kat and they aren't offered anywhere online that I can find.

But what if you don't live in Japan? You can also try crazy Japanese Kit Kats but there's less skulking in conbinis to do. My favorite site to order through is napaJapan. They are pretty good about having up to date Kit Kats and if I really can't find something in the stores then this is my next stop. Their prices are very reasonable and they ship internationally.

I've never ordered from them but the other site that I see recommended a lot is jlist. They have a variety of products from Japan - including recent Kit Kat flavors. You might also try any Asian grocers or international food stores in your area. If they don't offer any then try asking if they could start.

If you are my sister or best friend then you get your Kit Kat fix through me sending Kit Kats through the mail. So if you don't live in Japan but know someone who does then try asking them to send you some. (But not me because all of my extras go to the aforementioned best friend and sister.)

So there you have it. That's where I get my Kit Kats. Where do you get yours? Does anyone have any other suggestions for places to look? Say for example where I can get Zunda Kit Kats without schlepping all the way to Sendai?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Citrus Blend Kit Kat - Shikoku Limited Edition

We have these convenient stores in Ohio called United Dairy Farmers (or UDF for short) that also have ice cream counters that sell UDF brand ice cream and a variety of malts and shakes. My favorite is the Orange Freeze - orange sherbet and orange juice. It's also the reason why I tend to gain 5 pounds whenever I go back to the States. I used to make a similar version in my college cafeteria with orange sherbet, orange juice, and a little bit of Sprite. It's a great summer treat - cold, sweet, and refreshing.

So why am I waxing nostalgic for UDF Orange Freezes? Well, if you put one of the Citrus Blend Kit Kats in the freezer and then ate it then you would have an Orange Freeze in Kit Kat form. I didn't expect to like these as much as I did, but eating one (or 3) made me really wish they had UDFs in Japan.


The Citrus Blend Kit Kat is a regional limited edition from Shikoku. Although I have been traveling around quite a bit lately, I still haven't made it to Shikoku but lucky for me this was offered online at the Nestle E-shop. For 840 yen I received a box of 12 mini Kit Kats. They are made with white chocolate and are colored a bright bright orange despite the fact that they are flavored not only with orange but with lemon and lime. Each mini is 69 calories. They have a generic citrus smell to them and the chocolate itself only has a very mild orange-y flavor. Most of the punch comes in the creme and the wafers. The orange flavor is not authentic but it's not bad either. Although orange is the dominant flavor, it remains true to its name and lemon and lime are mingled in there as well. They mix well in your mouth and then it ends on a sour note that is very refreshing in its own way.




I'm still not a huge fan of the citrus-y flavored Kit Kats but if I had to choose my favorite of the bunch then this would definitely be it. I've said this before but I seem to like the citrus with white chocolate over the milk chocolate. I think the sourness of the citrus blends better with the sweetness of the white chocolate. So even though I won't tear through this box of Kit Kat minis but I don't think I will have trouble finishing them off eventually. I'd rather have an orange freeze though...

Final Score: 7

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Apple Kit Kat - Shinshu Limited Edition

Recently I went back online to the Nestle E-shop and picked up some more regional special editions - this time from Shinshu. I should note that there are a lot more regional special editions out there that are NOT offered anywhere online. The only way I am going to get them is to get off this peninsula and buy them wherever they are offered locally. So Sendai and Nagano have suddenly made my list of places in Japan I want to see so I can pick up the Sakura Kit Kat, Zunda Kit Kat, and what I can only determine is another spicy Kit Kat.


But until I make more travel plans then I will make do with the ones I can find online, starting with the Apple Kit Kat. This one comes from Shinshu, which after some very superficial internet research I learned is the old name for the mountainous region in Nagano. The regional special edition Kit Kats come in a box of 12 which looks very nice opened and plays very well into the Japanese idea of omiyage or bringing food back to the office for those poor suckers who had to stay behind and work. They tend to try to take the region's specialty food (and every town has one even my small town has its special omiyage - clam flavored rice crackers) and turn it into a Kit Kat flavor.



Nagano is known for apples and so it makes perfect sense that their regional special edition Kit Kat would be apple flavored. The Apple Kit Kat is made with milk chocolate and has 66 calories. I was already inclined to like it because of the milk chocolate but the subtle apple flavoring made this a truly enjoyable snack. Both the smell and the flavor are mellow and mix well with the chocolate. The apple taste is similar to that of the Apple Vinegar Kit Kat but without the sour note on the end. Since these are made with milk chocolate rather than white the sour end note isn't really needed. The taste is somewhat artificial but of all the different fruity varieties I have tried it comes the closest to the real taste of an apple. If you are a true apple aficionado then you might prefer the Apple Vinegar since the apple flavor shines through more with that bar but for me I prefer this more subtle milk chocolate version.

Final Score: 7.5


Check out the list of Regional Special Edition Kit Kat varieties here!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sakura Matcha Kit Kat

Nestle is really hitting the "give a student some encouragement, give them a Kit Kat" campaign hard this year. First we had the lucky 5 sided mug. Then the Milk Coffee Kit Kat with random sakura design. And then they released bags of white and milk chocolate Kit Kat minis also with more sakura design (not reviewed because plain white and milk chocolate is boring.)

And now there is the Sakura Matcha Kit Kat with a convenient space on the back for you to write and encouraging message to those students studying themselves silly trying to get into the best high school/college. I like the crazy flavored Kit Kats and all but it's enough to make me eternally grateful that my parents were cool with me getting Bs in school.



The Sakura Matcha Kit Kat is 100 calories and made with white chocolate. The chocolate itself is green tea flavored and is very similar if not the same as the special edition from Kyoto I tried earlier. What makes this one different is the addition of the sakura flavor in the creme. It is very definitely a fake cherry taste but I think that authentic cherry flavoring is very hard to come by so I will forgive Nestle this time. Besides it reminded me of the berries in Cap'n Crunch with Berries cereal so it was both natsukashii* and oishii**. (Am I the only one who used to get mad at their mom for buying plain Cap'n Crunch with no berries because it's no good without the berries!)


Overall I was very pleasantly surprised. I've given a begrudging thumbs up to other green tea varieties but this one is by far my favorite of the lot. If you're looking for something to encourage a poor overworked student then I suggest giving them some fish sticks (it's better brain food than chocolate after all) and keep this Kit Kat for yourself.

Final Score: 8

*nostalgic
**delicious

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chili Kit Kat

For Christmas this year my mom sent me a huge package that contained all the fixings for "her" chili because I had made an offhand comment about really wanting some of her chili now that the cold weather had settled in. Unfortunately the box of chili powder exploded en route and I wondered for a moment if she hadn't poured red glitter in the box in an uncharacteristic bout of holiday cheer. Then I started sneezing and realized what had happened. I spent the next week vacuuming up red chili powder. Some of it apparently made its way into my Kit Kats as well. And let me tell you that chili powder with beans, onions, and hamburger is not the same as chili powder with chocolate and wafer cookies.

This isn't the first spicy Kit Kat incarnation I've tried and I'm very slowly coming around to the idea that hot and spicy and chocolate can go together. The Wasabi Kit Kat was a little overwhelming but the Yuzu Kosho Kit Kat was one of my favorites. The Chili Kit Kat, however, left something to be desired.



The Chili Kit Kat are really Kit Kat mini balls. Upon opening there is no real smell other than the generic sweetness of chocolate-no hint of the fire to come. (This by the way makes it the perfect thing for older siblings to innocently offer to younger siblings...not that I would ever ever do something like that.) There is no real chili taste in the initial bite either...just chocolate and then... BAM! Hot balls of chocolate! It hits you! It's pretty hot and it took me a little time to get used to it but by the end I was sort of digging it. But don't be fooled. It's just heat. The chili adds no extra flavor and that is really disappointing. If you want a little extra spice in your Kit Kat then I suggest trying the Yuzu Kosho or the Wasabi first.

I probably wouldn't buy these again (even if I could find them because man it was hard to track these suckers down) but it was a nice novelty.

Final Score: 5

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chestnut Kit Kat

I don't really know much about chestnuts except that you can roast them over an open fire and I only know that from that Christmas song that plays every year..."Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose." So I didn't really know what to expect when it came to the Chestnut Kit Kat. I just hoped Jack Frost would stay away while I ate them. My nose is cold enough with the strong winds here in Tahara.


The Chestnut Kit Kat is a mini Kit Kat and has only 65 calories in each small bar. I'm happy to report that this is another milk chocolate variety. It had a nice nutty smell that carried over into the flavor as well. Having never really eaten chestnuts before I can't really attest to how close this Kit Kat comes to a true chestnutty flavor but I will say that it was both nutty and delicious. But then that's no surprise since nuts and chocolate have had a long relationship together. Both the chocolate and the creme had a chestnut taste to them but despite the double whammy it was still subtle enough not to overwhelm the chocolate. This was another delicious Kit Kat and it makes me wonder if I shouldn't be trying more chestnut flavored treats. What are your favorite chestnut flavored snacks? Recommendations please!

Final Score: 7

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chocollabo Kit Kat

If a regular Kit Kat is too boring for you don't worry because Nestle has you covered. Oh, you don't like crazy flavors like Rose Kit Kat or Kinako Ohagi Kit Kat? Well, that's okay too. Even if you do here are some Kit Kats that are personalized by you for any special occasion. They probably work for random days too but they're kind of expensive. In the Nestle lab (by which I mean the internet) you can create your very own Kit Kat box with pictures, stamps, and cutesy writing. It's like purikura but on a Kit Kat box!



The site is all in Japanese and they charge 2,100 yen for a box of 10 Kit Kats. If those are the larger boxes with two packs inside then that's a pretty fair price. If it's a box of 10 minis then I might balk. It's a super cute idea for party favors I think and I'm soooo tempted but I don't have any special occasions to warrant buying them. Maybe when I leave Japan I could give them as goodbye presents. Until then you'll find me perusing the pictures of Kit Kat boxes featuring newlyweds, babies, and small dogs.

Check it out - Chocollabo Kit Kat.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Banana Kit Kat

I love bananas. I was really irate during the ridiculous banana diet fiasco in Japan where for about three months it was impossible to buy bananas because some empty-headed TV personality mentioned that she had lost weight eating nothing but bananas and every obachan in the country went out and bought up all the bananas by twelve each day. I like them because they are delicious and because they're usually the cheapest fruit in a country where apples are over a dollar a piece and melon prices can soar as high as $200 a pop. But I am a banana purist. I don't tend to like banana flavored things. Banana splits are only so-so. Even banana bread doesn't rank that high with me. So while a Banana Kit Kat sounded tempting I wondered if I would really like it or not.

The Banana Kit Kat minis are 66 calories each and are milk chocolate. They have a faint artificial banana smell to them that also extends to the taste, but it's mild enough and mixes well enough with the milk chocolate that I didn't really mind that it wasn't "natural." The chocolate seemed creamier than normal or maybe it's just that milk chocolate has a lower melting point than white but either way I liked it.

Overall it was a pretty tasty Kit Kat and it illustrates perfectly how I've come to feel about this crazy Kit Kat experience of mine and that is that I think Nestle does a better job when they try to create a flavor that complements the chocolate rather than overtakes it. A literal translation of a flavor in Kit Kat form does not always make for a delicious snack, the disgusting Corn Kit Kat is a perfect example. The Banana Kit Kat on the other hand is a nice blend of banana with chocolate.



Of course, it helps that bananas and chocolates go nicely together anyway. Chocolate fondue anyone? Banana Splits? Not true for apples and carrots, or roses, or corn on the cob and yet I've tried all of those. And I will keep trying them because who knows maybe Nestle will prove me wrong. I did like the Sports Drink Kit Kat. And the Melon Kit Kat. Neither of which I would have dreamed of making into chocolate bars. If you get the chance to try the Banana Kit Kat (and good luck trying because I think these are from last year) then I say go for it.

Final Score: 7.5

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sports Drink Kit Kat

I'm way late to the game with this one. The Sports Drink Kit Kat came out in late summer while I was on vacation in the US and I just couldn't find it when I got back. When I went to make another internet purchase a few weeks ago I noticed that it was still available from napajapan.com so I went ahead and ordered it along with some other Kit Kat varieties that are no longer available in the conbinis. (Reviews forthcoming!)

The Sports Drink Kit Kat is a joint venture with JFA Dream Asia Project which has something to do with soccer (the site is in Japanese...sorry!) It's meant to taste like one of the many sports drink on offer here in Japan, none of which I have ever tried so I can't account for the authenticity of the taste. I don't like to sweat enough to ever warrant needing a sports drink.

I might have to try one though after having this Kit Kat. I was pleasantly surprised. Sports Drink just doesn't sound like it would make the most appetizing of chocolate treats but it really wasn't that bad. The Sports Drink Kit Kat is 100 calories and comes in a box of two. They are made with white chocolate and smell like grapefruit. The chocolate itself also has a citrus-y grapefruit taste to it and the back of the box advertises a refreshing tartness that comes through in the creme.



Citrus flavored Kit Kats are not my favorite but this was one of the better ones. Surprisingly, I seem to like citrus taste paired with white chocolate rather than milk. I almost never prefer white chocolate but I would rather have the Sports Drink Kit Kat or the Calpis Kit Kat over the Lemon Vinegar or Sour Orange Kit Kats, both of which were milk chocolate. The sweetness of the white chocolate balances better with the sourness of the citrus.

What do you think? Do you like white, milk, or dark chocolate with your citrus fruits?

Final Score: 6

Friday, February 12, 2010

Green Tea Kinako Kit Kat

I've tried a Green Tea Kit Kat and I've tried a Kinako Kit Kat so why not a Green Tea Kinako Kit Kat? I don't know what prompted Nestle to try this combination - the picture on the wrapper is a little strange. Does anyone eat a small mountain of toasted soy flour with their matcha? Not the strangest flavor I'll grant you, I just wonder where it comes from. If anyone knows, please enlighten me.

The Green Tea Kinako Kit Kat was a Kit Kat bar with 242 calories. It's made with white chocolate and colored green so it looks like a bigger version of the Green Tea Kit Kat I sampled earlier this year. It smells different though, more like the Kinako Kit Kat, with a subtle nutty smell. The green tea flavor is mostly in the chocolate and the kinako is in the wafers. It's very sweet - too sweet for me actually. The mild nutty taste of the kinako flavor that I loved with the milk chocolate isn't enough to win me over this time.

The bigger bar means more white chocolate than with the smaller Green Tea mini and I think the sheer size contributed to the sweetness overload. If I were to try it again, I don't think I would eat the whole thing in one sitting. As it is I don't think I would try it again. I was very "meh" about the whole bar. I do think, however, if you are a big fan of the Green Tea Kit Kat then you might really enjoy this reincarnated version of it.

Final Score: 5

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bananas or Kit Kats?

BBC News has put together a nice little pros and cons list of bananas vs. Kit Kats. Personally, I like them both and I even have a Banana Kit Kat to review soon so maybe this will all be moot.

So what do you think? Bananas or Kit Kat in a snack stand-off - which wins?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Maple Kit Kat

With the Winter Olympics approaching Nestle decided to release a special Kit Kat. Not that they need a special reason to release a new Kit Kat but it does help in deciding which flavor to release next. The Maple Kit Kat is in honor of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and features real maple syrup from Quebec. Although someone should let them know that Vancouver and Quebec aren't really that close - almost opposite ends really of a very large country. But still it's a fun theme for a Kit Kat.

I like maple syrup and can often be found eating pancakes or french toast smothered in maple syrup on the weekends. At home I buy the cheap stuff like Aunt Jemima's that's made with corn syrup and other artificial flavoring but here in Japan there's no cheap alternative so I'm forced to spend 1,100 yen on a bottle of 100% maple syrup straight from Canada. But even though I like maple syrup I'm not usually a fan of maple flavored things. Pancakes are one thing but chocolate is another ball game all together. So I wasn't sure how I would like the Maple Kit Kat.


I bought my Maple Kit Kat minis individually at the 7-11 near my apartment for 40 yen each. Each mini is 69 calories. They are made with white chocolate and smell faintly of maple syrup. Ebidebby jokingly wondered if the Maple Kit Kat tasted like Soy Sauce and I will say that it did have a similar taste to the Soy Sauce Kit Kat but the resemblance was only slight. It did taste maple-y but it wasn't overpowering and balanced nicely with the white chocolate. What I liked the most about it was that the chocolate seemed extra creamy and I suspect that there is real maple syrup between the wafers that gives it a boost of moistness you don't usually find in other Kit Kats. It was definitely worth trying although I think I will stick with maple syrup on my pancakes rather than in my chocolate.

Do you like maple flavored treats? What are your favorites?

Final Score: 7

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Custard Pudding Kit Kat Bar

I could also call this entry Custard Pudding Kit Kat - Take Two. Or Return of the Custard Pudding Kit - bigger and better than ever before. Because I did try Custard Pudding Kit Kat minis back in June. This is just another example of how Nestle is able to constantly release new Kit Kats - they don't actually release that many new Kit Kats rather just slightly tweaked versions of past Kit Kats. But I will say that I like this incarnation better than last so no complaints here. (Also, I would run out of things to blog about if they only released uniquely new flavors.)


The Custard Pudding Kit Kat is a bar this time round with 239 calories in each large finger. Unlike the Custard Pudding minis that were made with white chocolate, this latest version is made with milk chocolate. And it is all the better for it. My main complaint with the minis was that they were too sweet but with milk chocolate this problem is solved. The chocolate was creamy and the custard flavor was mild. There were notes of the pudding itself with a slight bitter finish of the caramel sauce. Because it was a bigger bar and also possibly because it was milk chocolate the flavor was not as concentrated as it was in the minis so if you really like custard pudding and would rather have a strong flavor then you are better off with the minis versus the bar. If not, then this makes an ideal snack.

Final Score: 7

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Azuki Kit Kat

I've had a tumultuous relationship with azuki beans here in Japan. The first time I had them was in a bowl of zenzai - which is sweet red bean soup with big globs of mochi in it. I had just arrived in Japan and so I saw what I thought was a hearty bean soup that back home would have been salty. Imagine my surprise when it was sweet. I almost spit it back out into the bowl. Two years later and I still won't eat zenzai. I could probably stomach it now but the thought of eating something so sweet for lunch is unappetizing. It's the only school lunch menu I won't eat.

Over time I have come to realize that it isn't the beans in traditional Japanese sweets that I don't like but the mochi. I am perfectly happy to eat red bean paste in a cake or donut. And if a little old lady offers me a bowl of straight up azuki beans I can eat it without wanting to spit it out. So an Azuki Kit Kat didn't make me nervous like it might have two years ago.

The Azuki Kit Kat was released in honor of Setsubun. This Japanese holiday is celebrated on February 3rd as the changing of the seasons. People throw soy beans at friends or family dressed up as an oni or devil and say something to the effect of "out with the devil and in with good luck." It doesn't really make sense to me but then neither does Groundhog Day. I didn't throw beans yesterday but I did have some with school lunch and I ate my Azuki Kit Kat decorated with its own red oni.

The Azuki Kit Kat is a Kit Kat Bar and has 237 calories. It's made with milk chocolate and right away I could smell the red beans. The actual azuki taste is mild and concentrated mostly in the creme but it does mix well with the chocolate. Maybe if I had tried it first in a Kit Kat rather than in zenzai I might have liked it from the beginning. The only thing I didn't like was the pretty strong aftertaste of azuki it left in my mouth for quite a while after I finished the bar. Still it was a nice snack and a great way to celebrate Setsubun since I didn't have anyone to throw beans at.

Final Score: 7

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Raspberry Passion Fruit Kit Kat

Valentine's is drawing near and Japanese shops are filling up with chocolates. In Japan women give chocolates to men and then we have to wait a month before we get any reciprocal gift and even then it's cookies not chocolates, which is really unfair if you ask me. Although I guess with a Kit Kat you really get both so it's a win-win.

The latest Kit Kat is Valentine's Day themed with two different boxes to choose from - one pink and one brown. They are cute enough on the outside but they get even cuter once you open them up. The inside of the box is covered in hearts and the individual Kit Kat wrappers are as well. So they look nice, but how do they taste?



The Raspberry and Passion Fruit Kit Kat are made with dark chocolate so right there I am already very happy. These are not minis so each bar is 98 calories. They smell like raspberry and remind me of the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Lindt Truffles I used to buy all the time back in America. The chocolate is plain dark chocolate. There are no added flavors there. Instead it all comes through in the creme. In fact, if you take a close look you can see that the creme is pink. The raspberry tastes as strong as it smells but its sweetness contrasts so nicely with the darker chocolate. There is a very slight touch of sourness at the end so I assume that is the passion fruit coming through but I don't really know since I've never eaten passion fruit before. Are they sour?



This is a fantastic Kit Kat. I love the darker chocolate and both the sweetness and tartness of both the raspberry and passion fruit combine to make this a truly wonderful snack. This is one of the more luxurious Kit Kats I have tasted so far. I wish I didn't have so many Kit Kats in my kitchen waiting to be eaten or I might just buy some more of these. Who knows maybe I will anyway. Or there's always the hope that one of my friends will give me some tomo-choco for Valentine's Day!

Final Score: 10!!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Corn Kit Kat - Hokkaido Limited Edition

I like corn. I like corn a lot and corn on the cob is one of my favorite things to eat in the summer. It's also one of those things that is strangely more delicious here in Japan. I'm still not sure what they put on it but whether I'm buying it at a festival booth, out of the back of an old lady's van, or eating it in school lunch, I love love love corn.

And since the Roasted Sweet Potato Kit Kat was surprisingly good I had pretty high hopes for the Corn Kit Kat. Corn is sweet. It's delicious. Thus it should be good as a Kit Kat. I would be very very wrong.


I got this box of Kit Kats as omiyage from my Japanese friend Marie (mah-ree-ay) who bought it in Hokkaido. It's another mailer box that came with 5 Kit Kat minis and let me say that that was four Kit Kats too many. Each one is 68 calories. They are white chocolate but colored a nice buttery yellow color. They smell very nice - a mix of white chocolate and sweet corn.


But as nice as they smell, they taste horrible. I gagged on the first bite. It was all I could do to finish one mini. Normally, I eat at least two when I'm writing a review but the thought of eating another one was unthinkable. It tasted exactly like buttered corn. There's even a hint of salt at the end. And while that sounds good when I'm thinking of summer barbecues it is not good when I'm thinking of chocolate. The texture was all wrong. My brain tasted buttered corn and expected crunchy goodness and instead it got creamy chocolate with wafers. In this instance, Nestle went too literal with the taste, way way too literal. I think a milk chocolate bar with a hint of sweet corn might actually taste good but the Corn Kit Kat went too far. I cannot recommend this Kit Kat to anyone and now I have four Kit Kats sitting in my kitchen that I will NOT be eating.

Final Score: 2

Friday, January 29, 2010

Kit Kat Gokaku Mug

I've mentioned before the play on words that make Kit Kats a popular item to give students around exam time. Kitto katsu in Japanese translates to surely you will win. So a gokaku mug or pentagon shaped mug is a fitting promotion. Gokaku is a play on words that translates to luck. Since it's exam time here in Japan for stressed out junior high school students trying to get into a good high school as well as stressed out high school kids trying to get into a good college a good luck mug with a packet of Nescafe Cafe Au Lait and a Kit Kat bar makes for a nice encouraging gift.

If I didn't have around 400 students getting ready to graduate and move up to high school then I might buy them all one. Instead I will sit in my apartment, sipping Nescafe, and thanking God I'm no longer in school.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Calpis Kit Kat

I don't like Calpis. In part because it tastes like flat Fresca, but also because it looks suspiciously like skim milk despite claiming to be a soft drink. But mostly I don't like it because Calpis sounds like cow's piss and who would want to drink something called that? I do giggle every time my friend Miwa orders it though. And she gives me a strange look every time too. It's our tradition.

Usually I comment on how a particular Kit Kat is good but not as good as the real thing. But this time is different. The Calpis Kit Kat is a huge improvement over the real thing. I can say with confidence that I would rather have a Calpis Kit Kat than drink cow's piss...I mean Calpis.


They came in a bag of minis bought at my local supermarket and each mini is 69 calories. The Calpis Kit Kat is made with lemon smelling white chocolate. The chocolate itself has a nice mild lemon taste to it and the creme gives the bar a nice sour finish. Really other than the wrapper there is very little to indicate that this is a Calpis Kit Kat in particular. If you had blindfolded me and asked me to name that flavor I would have guessed lemon. Calpis has more of a lemon lime flavor to it. It's like a flat Seven-Up. But there was little hint of lime in the Calpis Kit Kat - more lemon than anything else. I'm not a huge fan of citrus-y flavored chocolate so this isn't going on my list of favorites but it was a decent Kit Kat. If you like lemon with your chocolate then I suggest checking it out.

Final Score: 6

Monday, January 25, 2010

Yubari Melon Kit Kat - Hokkaido Limited Edition

Japan is obsessed with brand names. Even certain fruits and other food items can be more expensive if they have the right name on the label. And I'm not kidding when I say expensive. A friend of mine tried strawberries that cost $10 a piece this weekend. I've seen mangoes advertised at 8,000 yen for one mango. That's $80! A melon from nowhere, Japan will sell for a lot cheaper than a melon from Yubari, Japan. The average price for the Yubari label is $60-$150. More expensive ones will set you back $200. The record price for a Yubari melon...$20,000!!! I sure hope it was covered in platinum.

The truth is that I never used to be a big melon fan. I would eat cantaloupe when my mom would buy it but too often it was pretty dry and disappointing. And I never touched the honeydew melon that was completely void of any taste that came in institutional fruit salads. But that was before I came to Japan - land of $200 melons. If you are going to charge 20,000 yen for something it better be good...damn good in fact.

Actually even the 1,000 yen ones are pretty amazing. It helps that my town is famous for melons. If you feel like spending some serious cash on a melon you can get one that was grown in a box so that it comes out square. Or if you're like me you're content with the round ones as long as it's so juicy you have to eat it standing over the sink (and they usually are.) I usually get a couple free during melon season thanks to my many farmer friends. I've even become a huge fan of Suntory's melon soda even though I've been informed that only kids drink it. Japan's melons are sugoi oishii.

That being said, I've never had a Yubari melon and because I'm frugal and don't think laying out a $100 for some melon is a good idea I'm going to guess that the closest I'm ever going to get to eating one is this regional limited edition Kit Kat. Too bad too because if they are anything like Tahara melons then I would be very happy to eat one. As it was the Yubari Melon Kit Kat was an okay substitute.

I got this box as omiyage from a friend who went to Hokkaido during winter vacation. It's another box designed to be sent through the post with five minis inside. Each mini is 66 calories. The first thing I noticed about them was that they are made with milk chocolate. If you are a regular reader of this blog then you know that I much prefer the milk chocolate over white so combined with my new found love for melons I was very excited to try this Kit Kat.


Upon opening the wrapper I could instantly smell melon. It smelled slightly artificial - like a melon soda - but it wasn't off putting. It had a very strong melon taste - more like cantaloupe than the green melon flavor you get with soda or other melon flavored sweets, which makes sense since Yubari melons are very similar to cantaloupes with an orange flesh rather than a green one. The chocolate has only a very slight melon flavor so I assume most of it is concentrated in the creme. I did note that the chocolate was nice and creamy in these bars, much more like a classic chocolate Kit Kat. Overall the bar was not too sweet. It was just the right balance of melon and chocolate.

I'll admit right now that I ate all 5 minis in one sitting. In part because I've just started working out again and that usually sends my appetite through the roof and in part because they were so delicious. It makes me sad actually to think that I don't have any more left to try, (until I remember the four Kit Kat varieties in my kitchen and several more recently ordered via the internet.) If you get a chance to try these definitely take it. And if you ever try a real Yubari melon then let me know! I want to know what a $200 melon actually tastes like.

Final score: 8.5

Friday, January 22, 2010

Purple Sweet Potato Kit Kat - Okinawa Limited Edition

I've mentioned before that one of the best parts about having a candy review blog is not only that you have a great excuse for eating a lot of chocolate (not that I've ever needed one) but that people start giving you candy. I recently got three boxes of Kit Kats as omiyage from friends.

This was another "mailer" souvenir box that came from my friend Kaoru. Although she delivered it by hand rather than mailing it since she just lives down the street from me. She got to go to Okinawa AND Hawaii this fall and was kind enough to bring me back souvenirs. The Purple Sweet Potato Kit Kat is a limited edition from Okinawa because these potatoes are native to that island. It's not exactly a unique flavor as you can see here and here, but it is a delicious one.


The box comes with 5 Kit Kat minis and is designed to be sent through the mail. Each mini is only 69 calories, made with white chocolate. Purple sweet potatoes really are purple - inside and out - and this Kit Kat strives to replicate that deep purple color. It's not quite the same hue but close enough. It smells strongly of sweet potatoes and with sweet potato flavor in the chocolate and creme it achieves a nice sweet potato taste as well.

I liked it. It was another great snacking experience from Nestle. But other than the color it was very similar to the Roasted Sweet Potato Kit Kat that I reviewed back in the fall. The Roasted Sweet Potato Kit Kat was maybe a touch sweeter than this one. It's hard to remember the finer details in taste, but in essentials this was the same flavor. You can do different variations on coffee and strawberry but there doesn't seem to be much to do with sweet potatoes. Maybe throw in some cinnamon and nutmeg and call it sweet potato pie? It makes me more confident than ever that I made the right decision not to buy the other sweet potato regional limited edition.

But despite the repeat in flavor it was one that I really liked so I don't think I'll have any problem finishing these off. Thanks again Kaoru for the great omiyage!

Final Score: 8