I don’t know how much of a surprise this review this will be, considering jussssst how effusive I was about Cheeza crackers during my previous reviews:
But there’s always the possibility of too much of a good thing, right? That adding anything, like basil or tomato, would be tampering with perfection. Right? So, how will this newest iteration of the Cheeza line live up to my incredibly high expectations…!?
Packaging: Much the same as other iterations of Cheeza, these packages are essentially perfect. They feature large product images, as well as large images of the primary ingredients (gorgeous camembert, healthy green basil). Also like the previous Cheeza flavours, this is a resealable bag for multiple servings, although the possibility of eating only part of a bag is generally laughable.
The only thing that might be confusing is that there’s also a glass of wine on this package, and for the uninitiated you might think there’s wine inside! Not so, it’s just a serving suggestion, and suggesting it with wine (instead of beer, how otsumami are more traditionally served), hints at its ‘sophistication,’ which matches the addition of basil to an already popular snack.
Scent and Taste: As soon as I cracked this package, I realized that I wouldn’t be disappointed with this new flavour. The scent of Cheeza 50% Camembert Basil is, frankly, incredible. Bold and big, you get a nice baked cheese smell and the unmistakable aroma of basil, it’s really wonderful. My mouth actually watered.
It tastes even better than it smells, packing in all of the intense flavour of the regular Camembert Cheeza with nothing lost at all. There is a lovely hint of basil in the taste of the crackers, and a close examination will see flakes of basil in the cracker themselves. It’s not overpowering, though letting it rest on your tongue really brings out the basil flavour. The basil stays present even in the face of the powerful Camembert flavour, and the entire bag builds in an amazing way as you continue to snack and drink your beer, wine, or in my case lemon chu-hi. There’s no unfortunate aftertaste at all, and despite my having a very strong, flavourful drink, each bite of the Cheeza flavour came through loud and clear.
Verdict: Camembert was already my favourite of the Cheeza crackers thanks to its intense, full flavour, and the addition of basil to this cracker is totally welcome; a wonderful variation on a classic. Considering some of the other Japanese cheese crackers I’ve tasted, I almost can’t believe this exists.
It pains me that most of you reading this will never get to enjoy this essentially perfect snack food, but it pains me more knowing that when the packages I’ve got on hand disappear, there’ll be no way to restock until I head back to Japan. One of the J-snack importers has got to get on board with these fantastic products.