A gift from my good friend Deb Aoki received at the San Diego Comic Con this past week, I actually saw Caramel Pudding Kit Kats all over my last trip to Japan… and didn’t buy them. You see them come in the bags which contain 12-14 of the packs of 2 bars, and they were Halloween decorated, and I thought that they were just regular Kit Kats with halloween packaging for Halloween. Because I’m an idiot. So the lesson is: next time, just buy them anyway… and practice your Japanese so you can read the bags!
Probably my favourite Japanese snack food, and one I plan on reviewing once I actually get back to Japan, is purrin, or Japanese pudding. While there are all sorts of variations on Pudding in Japan, standard issue of Glico pudding is “Glico Pucchin Pudding”. It’s basically a lightly flavoured milk pudding, sort of a jelly, with a thin layer of burnt caramel sauce on the bottom of the container. You flip it onto a plate, break an air seal so it releases, and then the burnt caramel sauce warms and drizzles all over your pudding. I found a video of it online actually, check this out: http://www.vidoevo.com/yvideo.php?i=OFdmMnJrcWuRpdWhXSlE&. There’s even a fan-page for it on Facebook. It’s delightful, but it isn’t available for sale in North America because of how expensive or how long it would be to ship it, and so like melon pan it remains an only-in-Japan snack.
Luckily, this Kit Kat purports to be milk chocolate, flavoured with delicious caramel pudding! Being a personal favourite I’m looking forward to putting it through its paces…!
Packaging: As these were a gift, I unfortunately don’t have any personal photos of the bag to show you, but the interior packages are super-cute. Orange and Purple with the Kit Kat Logo, and a couple of little super-deformed (tiny versions) halloween characters adorn the package. Super cute.
I guess I could make a comment about the bag packaging, seeing as I couldn’t figure out it was a specially flavoured Kit Kat and therefore it wasn’t successful… but honestly I’m about 90% sure I was the problem on that one… -___-;
Scent: WOW! Opening the package, I could instantly smell the strong burnt sugar/caramel flavouring even from a foot away! This is one intensely scented candy. While I feel like a lot of the Japanese Kit Kats rely more on getting the smell of item right moreso than the flavour, this didn’t feel gimmicky at all. It’s intensely rich, with milk chocolate and a strong caramel smell. Lovely, really whets the appetite.
Taste: It delivers! Although as a milk chocolate bar, it’s not going to match the taste of purrin exactly, it does hit all of the right caramel notes. In fact it takes it all on step further, with the caramel even tasting a touch MORE burnt in the candy bar than it smells, or than I remember it tasting in actual pudding. It’s actually a nice touch, taking something that might be considered boring or traditional, and amping it up a little.
I shared this one with my husband Andrew, and he described the difference between this caramel flavour and a western caramel flavour in like a Caramilk bar or something as “The difference between Japanese muscat grape flavour and regular grape flavour,” and that’s very accurate.
The milk chocolate is standard, though blends nicely with the sugar taste and smell.
Verdict: Andrew also brought up another good point, that this was an exceedingly conventional taste combination even with the increased flavour profile. He wondered if it was an homage to western candy, as chocolate + caramel is a particularly notable and enjoyed candy flavour, in the same way that the packaging and distribution was an homage to the western holiday Halloween. That sounds very plausible, although who know exactly what’s going on inside the heads of Nestle Japan, some days?
I will say that it was a solid flavour, unique and enjoyable. It was actually really fun to eat, and even now the aftertaste is lingering pleasantly. I’d buy these again, probably this Halloween. ;)