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