Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kit Kat: Muscat Of Alexandria

Why do the U.S. Kit Kat bars never get the treatment their Japanese cousins do?

Japan, in addition to being the land of the rising sun, is also the land of a million special editions. Between the ever-rotating flavor roster of popular products like Pepsi, Pocky -- and yes, even Kit Kats -- I think I could easily review nothing but local Japanese products and never be bored. And sadly, while the American Kit Kats are good, they tend to be boring. Luckily, we can easily get cool things imported.

On my last trip to New York City I picked up this muscat (fancy name for grape) Kit Kat bar at one of my must-visit Asian shops: Kam Man Foods on Canal Street. I put the Kit Kats on my candy shelf and sort of forgot about them...hey, I review a lot of candy and it happens sometimes. Anyway, today I thought it was time for the Muscat Kit Kats to have their day.

When you open the box, the first thing that hits you is a very strong artificial fruit/flower smell. It doesn't exactly smell like grapes, or even raisins. It smells more like the lingering post-love aroma from the afternoon tryst of a dozen roses and a box of Fruity Pebbles -- only less appealing. And unlike its U.S. cousin, whose bar is one solid four-fingered piece, the Japanese version is broken up into two individually wrapped two-finger bars.

The fingers are a very, very faint sea foam green (quasi-albino grapes?) and are made with white chocolate. It's a pretty bar, I have to give it that much. And that's a good thing, because I really can't give it much else. You know those hot but not-so-bright girls that every workplace seems to have one of -- the ones who not only have no personality at all, but absolutely no clue what they're doing -- yet manage to keep their jobs simply because they look good? This is a candy version of that girl.

The wafers were perfectly crispy. The chocolate was smooth. It's the flavor that will knock you on your butt. I don't even have to stretch for a way to describe the flavor. I can tell you EXACTLY what it tastes like: Super-concentrated grape juice and really strong roses.

At first it's the grape that you taste. There is almost even the slight acidic tang that you would get with a cheap Chardonnay. Then the rose kicks in -- and it is not subtle. The actual chewing experience was just a bit much for me...but I have to say that once the grape and rose flavors mellow, the aftertaste is actually quite pleasant. Like a less powerful version of Fuwarinka Rose Gum. But honestly, I would just as soon get the gum. At least with the gum, you don't have to wait for the aftertaste to kick in before you taste something good.

Interesting, but...

I purchased mine from Kam Man Foods in New York City, but my friends at J-List also carry an ever-changing selection of the various Kit Kat be sure to check them out!

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