On my 2010 trip to Japan, I got to observe a fascinating, slightly-curious, and very Japanese occurrence. On November 1st, it officially became WINTER. All of the vending machines switched over to their winter beverages, cans of refreshing beverages replaced with warm cans of corn chowder, which I’ve reliably been informed is a special treat in Japan (possibly more on that later). And it was on the first of November that all of the convenience stores and train-station newsstands put out the new iterations of Candy: Kit Kat Sweet Potato Bar! Apparently another of Japan’s early-winter traditions is street vendors selling baked sweet potatoes (think roasted chestnuts), modern Japan had found a way to engage the tradition in convenient bar format. I’d tried the regular-format Sweet Potato Kit Kats… and not liked them… but science is science, and I picked up a couple for the test.
Packaging: Nice. Big logo, clear image that jumps out at you telling you what you’re in for. Looks appealing!
Smell: Real hint of like Play-doh when you open it up. The smell is actually kind of unappealing, it has a sweet note but there’s a sour-milk/playdoh hit at the bottom, much like when I tried it in Japan.
Taste: Almost obscenely sweet. It’s flavouring added to the white chocolate to give it a hit of sweet potato, although the wafers are actually a little more neutral and as a mouthful it’s not quite as bad. It does taste like sweet potatoes, though much sweeter than I’ve ever had. As I mentioned I’m not really a fan of sweet potatoes at the best of times, and maybe it’s that flavour that’s putting me off? Either way, the whole thing is a little bit much with almost no chocolate flavour whatsoever.
Verdict: It’s interesting as a seasonal product, but the flavour is so sweet, intense, and ‘off’ (with a really unappealing smell), I can’t imagine it as more than a curiosity. There’s a reason these are only released once per year.