Here’s the second of two Kit Kats which recently made their way back from Japan and into my office. I’m really grateful to my colleague for letting me try this one, as he brought it in especially for me (knowing about my crazy obsession)!
This is another one from the ‘Adult Sweetness’ range, and also has little crunchy bits mixed in with the chocolate. The passion fruit flavour is really strong, which I like, and I have to say this has probably leapt straight in to my top 10! A really delicious, summery flavour!
One of the brilliant things about working in a company connected with Japan is that people are always going there on business. I’m making sure my colleagues all know about my Kit Kat habit! Last week a colleague came back with not one but TWO new Kit Kats!
I thought this was just a matcha Kit Kat at first, but then I realised it was part of the slightly bizarrely titled ‘Adult Sweetness’ range. This is way nicer than ordinary matcha Kit Kats, and has little crunchy bits in the chocolate. Really yummy!
My mum randomly found me this American Kit Kat recently. Looks like an Easter edition…
It was very cute, but tasted just the same as a normal (American) Kit Kat – i.e. Hershey’s not Nestle chocolate.
I spotted three varieties of Chunky Kit Kat Easter eggs this year.
The first one comes with a mug:
The second one is the Kit Kat Chunky Collection, containing white, peanut butter, and regular Kit Kats:
And the third, which I was lucky enough to get, contains one regular Chunky Kit Kat:
The Kit Kat and Easter egg come in a cardboard basket, which is a cute touch:
Happy Easter everyone! Enjoy your Easter eggs!
What’s better than a supportive message? A tasty supportive message! Nestle Japan have really latched on to the idea that Kit Kat sounds like the Japanese phrase ‘kitto katsu’ (きっとかつ), meaning ‘certain victory’, and now regularly produce special edition Kit Kats aimed at passing on messages of good luck (especially at exam time in Japan). This new design includes messages on the actual Kit Kats themselves, which is brilliant!
It seems like there’s also a related song by Naoto Inti Raymi which you can download but, having tried, it looks like it’s only available in Japan.
I have to confess, I spent a ridiculous amount of time photographing these Kit Kats and trying to read them. I didn’t get very far with the reading part though, I’m afraid, as the kanji kept getting in the way! All of the phrases are displayed on the back of the bag:
One bag contains 15 mini two-finger Kit Kats:
The messages are written on the chocolate itself:
And there’s also a space to write a message on the back of the Kit Kat:
Imagine finding one of these in your lunch box on the day you have an exam! Japan is just the coolest country, isn’t it?
Another fabulously designed Kit Kat set from Japan – the Kit Kat Tokaido Shinkansen Set (キットカット 東海道新幹線セット). You might remember a couple of years ago when I bought a Kit Kat Shinkansen (bullet train), which was absolutely incredible. This set is not quite as cool, but still remarkably detailed and absolutely geeky!
Here’s the ad from the Japanese Kit Kat website:
And here it is…
The set contains four boxes, each one containing three mini two-finger milk chocolate Kit Kats. Unlike many other Japanese Kit Kats, there’s nothing unusual about the flavours – this set is all about the packaging. The boxes are designed with Shinkansen station signs: Shin-Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto and Nagoya. These stations are all from the Tokaido Shinkansen line.
This set is perfect for train lovers, with information on the back of the main box, as well as the smaller boxes, about Japanese trains:
The Kit Kats themselves are also decorated with pictures of trains:
This is the ultimate geek treat!
Apologies to those of you also following my other blog, Haikugirl’s Japan, as this is a re-post.
Earlier this year I became aware of a new Kit Kat collection which seemed to be the holy grail of Japanese Kit Kats: the Japanese Kit Kats – Regional Collection (日本国キットカット味遊記) – a special pack containing 15 different flavours from around Japan. To be honest, I had tried all but two of the flavours, but it was the packaging which had caught my attention. I had never seen something so beautiful… and I had to have it!
Luckily, one of my Japanese friends came to my aid, and we managed to come to an arrangement because she wanted something in exchange from the UK. I will be eternally grateful to her – ありがとう！
So, without further ado, here it is…
It comes in a red box:
There’s a mixture of English and Japanese on the box, and it’s clearly aiming to appeal to tourists and the foreign market with this huge ‘made in Japan’ on the box:
The box has a graphic explaining that it is designed like an advent calendar with 15 windows. Behind each window you’ll find two Kit Kats.
Taking the sticker off the front to open it up felt somehow wrong – I almost wanted to keep it preserved forever!
On the back of the box, all of the flavours are listed. It’s worth noting that the English on the box is simplified and, if you can read Japanese, you’ll find out more about the Kit Kats and the regions they’re from. I wish I could read more Japanese, but there’s a lot of complicated kanji on the box. Still, I’ve done my best to translate the flavours as accurately as I can later on in this post.
When you open up the red flaps at the front of the box, you are greeted with this utterly gorgeous map of Japan:
All of the region names are written on the blue fans, and dotted all over the map are images to illustrate the famous landmarks of the different areas, as well as amusing characters.
One thing that really struck me was the type of design used – it seems to be based on Japanese folding screens, and the gold clouds around the edges reminded me in particular of the talk I went to recently about the stage design for the play Anjin. The director of the play had also been inspired by these gold clouds on folding screens.
So, let’s look at the 15 regional flavours:
ずんだ(Edamame-Soybean) Kit Kat from東北(Tohoku)
This one tastes quite ‘beany’, and is certainly a unique flavour. I hadn’t heard of ‘zunda’ before I first came across this Kit Kat, but basically it is mashed up, unroasted, sweetened soy beans. Apparently it’s as popular in the Tohoku region as red bean paste (anko) is in Nagoya.
ル レクチエ(Le Lectier Pear) Kit Kat from新潟(Niigata)
This was one of the new ones for me, and I quite liked it (although it’s not in my top 10). It’s quite sweet, and has a very distinct whiff of pear about it. I hadn’t heard of Le Lectier pears before, so I Googled and discovered that they were imported from France to Niigata Prefecture, Japan, in the early 20th century, and have been associated with the region ever since.
ブルーベリー チーズケーキ (Blueberry Cheesecake) Kit Kat from上・甲信越(Joestu-Koushinsetsu)
This is such a good flavour for a Kit Kat! I’ll always remember the first time I tried these ones, when a student gave them to me as a present after a trip to Nagano.
信州りんご(Shinshu Apple) Kit Kat from信州 (Shinshu)
‘Shinshu’ is actually one of the old names for what we now think of as ‘Nagano Prefecture’. However, the name has been kept when referring to the apples from that region.
八幡屋礒五郎一味(Yawataya Isogoro Ichimi – Hot Japanese Chili) Kit Kat from信州 (Shinshu)
I love chili chocolate, and this is probably one of my favourite Kit Kats. I always thought it was just ‘Ichimi Kit Kat’ but, when I looked at the name more closely today I noticed that it is actually ‘Yawataya Isogoro Ichimi’. I searched for ‘Yawataya Isogoro‘ to find out what it was, and it seems to be a company which produces and sells Japanese chilis and spices.
榮太樓黒みつ(Eitaro kuro mitsu – black honey/syrup) Kit Kat from東京 (Tokyo)
This is one of the very ‘Japanese’ flavours in the box, and I always find it hard to explain to people what ‘kuro mitsu’ is. It could be likened to treacle, but it’s runnier, and I think tastier too.
ストロベリー チーズケーキ(Strawberry Cheesecake) Kit Kat from横浜 (Yokohama)
Strawberry cheesecake seems like quite a standard flavour compared to some of the others, but it’s still miles better than anything we can get in the UK.
田丸屋本店わさび(Tamaru ya Wasabi) Kit Kat from静岡・関東 (Shizuoka-Kanto)
Ah… wasabi. This is one of the Kit Kats that gets Japan its name for producing ‘weird food’. However, most people accept chili chocolate nowadays, so what’s so different? Wasabi chocolate (if you like wasabi of course!) is really tasty – give it a try!
Incidentally, this wasabi Kit Kat is labelled with ‘Tamaru ya‘, which seems to be the name of a a wasabi producing company.
あずきサンド (Red Bean Sandwich) Kit Kat from東海・北陸 (Tokai-Hokuriku)
Red bean sandwiches make me feel nostalgic about Nagoya, as they’re popular there. I couldn’t even tell you how many of these particular Kit Kats I’ve eaten in the past! Oops.
聖護院八ッ橋(Shogoin Yatsuhashi – Cinnamon Cookie) Kit Kat from京都 (Kyoto)
This Shogoin Yatsuhashi Kit Kat was the one I was really waiting for – a truly Japanese flavour which I had never had the chance to try before. Anyone who has ever visited Kyoto should know what ‘yatsuhashi’ is – it’s the most popular traditional food souvenir, which tastes of cinnamon. In the picture above, you can see these wafer-like things – they’re yatsuhashi. Yatsuhashi, named after a Japanese musician called Kengyo Yatsuhashi in 1689, used to be sold on the approach to a temple called Shogoin, and got the nickname ‘Shogoin Yatsuhashi’.
These Kit Kats have broken-up yatsuhashi inside the white chocolate, and they are divine! Worth taking a trip to Japan for, I think!
伊藤久右衛門抹茶(Itokyuemon Matcha – Green Tea) Kit Kat from 京都 (Kyoto)
Matcha – green tea – Kit Kat is the classic Japanese Kit Kat now, and even that comes in different varieties. This one, like the hojicha one below, is labelled ‘Itokyuemon‘, which seems to be the name of a tea shop or company in Uji City, Kyoto.
伊藤久右衛門ほうじ茶(Itokyuemon Hojicha – Roasted Tea) Kit Kat from 京都 (Kyoto)
Just like the matcha Kit Kat above, this hojicha Kit Kat is a classic from Kyoto.
柑橘黄金ブレンド(Kankitsu Ogon Blend – Citrus Golden Blend) Kit Kat from中国・四国(Chugoku-Shikoku)
These citrus Kit Kats are really fruity and zingy, and I’m sure they’d sell well in the UK if only someone would try.
あまおう苺(Amaou Strawberry) Kit Kat from九州 (Kyushu)
You can’t beat a strawberry Kit Kat – the chocolate is pink and it smells like bubblegum. Amaou, by the way, is the name of a place in Fukuoka where strawberries are produced.
紅いも(Beni Imo – Purple Sweet Potato) Kit Kat from沖縄・九州 (Okinawa-Kyushu)
Beni imo – purple sweet potato – is a classic Okinawan flavour and, although it might look a bit strange, I highly recommend giving this purple Kit Kat a try!
The box happily declares, ‘Enjoy Japanese unique Kit Kat flavours!’…
If you get the chance, do try some! I’m sure there must be a flavour suitable for everyone, and the 15 flavours listed above only just scratch the surface of what is actually available if you travel around Japan.