Friday, November 25, 2011

Mentos - Ume (Japanese Plum)

Mentos - Ume
I always enjoy trying worldwide-known sweets and snacks that utilize Japanese flavors. Kit Kat and Doritos are two famous brands that first come to mind. Mentos is another. This is a re-release from a few years back. It was popular then and I predict it to be just as sought after this time around. "Ume" is often translated as Japanese plum (or apricot) which is a golf ball sized fruit that contains a pit. It is very sour with a Western plum zest, but also has a fragrant flower-like taste. Japanese people also enjoy them pickled as "Umeboshi" where they become ever more sour. How will these Mentos match up in flavor?

Japanese Mentos are actually made in Holland by Perfetti Van Melle Breda but are distributed by Kraft Foods in Tokyo. The wrapper is bright and colorful with the flavor written in both Japanese and English. The 14 chewy dragees (Dutch talk for candies) are sealed nicely in bright pink foil within the 14cm long tube wrapper. Each candy is approximately 2 cm in diameter and 1 cm thick.

14 light-pink colored Mentos per tube
When first placing the candy on my tongue I sense an icing sugar flavor with the ever so slight taste of plum flower extract. Even after a minute of sucking the semi-rough, hard outer layer there is very little Ume coming through. Then the candy becomes smooth to a glass-like finish and bursts of flavorful plum come through. I enjoy this for a few seconds longer and finally start to chew it. There it is! That wonderful balance of sweet and sour Ume is filling my mouth making me very satisfied. Right down to the last chew the strong Ume flavor remains and I am quick to put another dragee in my mouth. Wonderful stuff! No wonder this was a hit in the 2000s.

A great feature about Mentos is that they have a very long shelf life. The expiry date on these is August 2013 (nearly two years from when I write this blog post.) Stock up so you can enjoy them for a long time. Limited edition flavors like this do not stay on store shelves for long. We offer all the current flavors HERE.

Please leave a comment about your most memorable Mentos experience. I thank you for reading this post and encourage you to share this with your friends if they have not seen such a product. napaJapan specializes in hard-to-find flavors and products from Japan. Come by anytime and see what is in store.

Happy Snacking!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pepsi Pink - Strawberry and Milk

Pepsi Pink - Strawberry and Milk

It is that time of year again for another odd Pepsi Cola product release from Japan. This time I am sampling a mismatch of flavors in one bottle: cola, strawberry, milk, and pink. Yes, pink has now become a flavor and I will try to explain this further down in this post.

This is one flavor I was really anticipating mainly because it looked so different than previous limited edition Pepsi releases and also I was curious how much of a role the cola taste would take on. The curvy bottle contains 490 mL of cloudy pink soda that is not overly carbonated and has a very sweet fruity strawberry fragrance. It pours into my glass with a full white head of tiny bubbles which subside quickly afterwards.

I gingerly took the first sip to record the first flavor that hit me. Definite strawberry or 'ichigo' as the Japanese say. But it wasn't the typical strawberry taste you find in Hi Chew or Pocky chocolate. This had the cream-filled, syrupy strawberry taste enjoyed in the Japanese summer shaved ice treat Kakigori. The deluxe Kakigori is combined with condensed milk and perhaps that is why milk is in the product's flavor name. The carbonation kept me thinking soda so my brain was fooled into being refreshed despite its sweetness. Identifying the cola was more of a challenge. After swishing it around in my mouth for a few seconds I did begin to detect the cola but it was more of a metallic taste. Good metallic taste, if that is possible. I think the strawberry just masked most of the cola flavor present which was slightly disappointing because it is supposed to be a Pepsi Cola product. So it didn't exactly taste like real strawberry, milk, or cola. The only word I have to summarize the taste is: Pink.

Pepsi Pink would make a perfect mixing drink whether it is with ice cream, milk, or an alcohol of your choice. It is a very different beverage and I think it is worth a try. Let me know what you think of the flavor(s) by responding to this blog. Please follow us to keep up to date with new popular Japanese candy products. Or check our site HERE.

More candy reviews to come this month.
Happy snacking!