Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Oats and Nutella Cookie from Starbucks UK

Starbucks UK has, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, recently seemed to push for a stronger lunch time & snack time presence. Like I said before, it's hard to imagine going into a Starbucks & not ordering a hot drink of some sort, but I generally don't have coffee in the afternoon and hot chocolate at lunch seems to indulgent for an average weekday, which is usually when I go to Starbucks.


Regardless, it's pretty easy to manage a cookie for breakfast and get a coffee. It was with that thinking that I grabbed the new Nutella Cookie from Starbucks as my breakfast this Monday. You'll notice a different quality to the images today (and even more so, a different background) as I was at work instead of at home.

It was about palm sized and quite heavy - with hazelnut choco-filling, we can presume.

It's described as being 'lightly spiced' and I was surprised to taste that it was indeed relatively spiced. It reminded me of the flavor profile of an American molasses cookie, with a deep sweetness & a touch of cinnamon sugar spice.


It was also similar to a molasses cookie in that it was chewy & hearty - the oats definitely boosted this one up to be quite filling. It's funny, even though it cannot even border being healthy, the hearty texture and gently spiced flavor made it feel a bit more wholesome & therefore okay for breakfast than a regular cookie.


The layer of Nutella inside was substantial, and took up a lot of the diameter of the cookie if not tons of vertical height. Probably for the best not to just have a couple inch high blob of Nutella in the middle...who am I kidding, that would've been more than welcome. As it was, it was quite well balanced and again, made me feel like what I was eating wasn't entirely unhealthy. It was at the level of perceived health of say, a banana nut bread with Nutella spread on top.

I did receive this product for free from Starbucks in exchange for a fair & square review.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Special Feature - Food I'd Like to Eat: Starbucks Worldwide Edition

This year I'm not planning any big trips or vacations anywhere - so I've convinced my world travelling tummy to turn to the internet to explore the things we'll be missing out on. Sorry, tummy - we're saving that ££. In the mean time, let's see what's up at Starbucks across the world!

Oh, Starbucks Japan. Is there ever a season goes by where I don't wish I could just teleport into one of your jazzy, dark woodgrain cafes in Tokyo? No. If you've never browsed through the Starbucks Japan website, I recommend it - you'll see that they list dozens & dozens of interesting pastries, savouries, Frappuccinos & coffees. Things like maple biscuits, banana cream pies, and an awesome looking sausage & cheddar bagel. Apparently offered as part of the general menu, but I'm specifically looking for seasonal bits. Starbucks Japan doesn't let me down - after all, it's Spring!


Yes! The Sakura season always brings about a Starbucks cherry blossom item or two. This year there is a lovely looking cake, and a variation on the usual sakura flavors in the drinks - this time, there is also hints of caramel & chocolate. I think it looks great, but I can't help but wonder how well-balanced it could be with so many different flavors competing for attention. I think caramel & cherry blossom could go really well together, but the chocolate is a bit strong so I wonder how it works. Can't make it to Starbucks Japan? Well...can you make it to a convenience store in Japan, somehow?


Congratulations if so, because that means you can try out this refrigerated insta-latte with sakura & added strawberry flavor! Thing is, I think this one sounds best of them all, haha. I hope to someday be in Japan during the Spring so I can not only try these special sakura menus, but also see the absolutely beautiful cherry blossoms that bloom then. The problem is, it's also the most expensive time to travel to Japan. Whoops!

Starbucks Singapore is no slouch in the Asia-Pac region, as evidenced by the amount of limited edition offerings they've put on at the beginning of 2015. This awesome raspberry truffle mocha is shared between them, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.


Takes me back to that Christmas where the UK got dark chocolate cherry mocha as a limited edition - that was so lovely, it's a shame they never have brought it back. Well, if you miss fruity & chocolatey coffees all you have to do is visit Singapore! May I also throw a big ol' bone to what must be the delicious Honey Vanilla Macchiato. I love honey lattes from Tully's in Japan, so this is probably much the same!

Starbucks China gets in on the seasonal act with a few different celebratory Chinese New Year drinks. A spicy mocha, a chestnut macchiato, and the one I'd like to highlight: the Peach Blossom Tea Latte!


That sounds right up my street, sweet & milky with whipped cream on top. I like the difference between the whipped cream imagery between this one & the raspberry truffle mocha - the tea latte looks delicate (a gentle plop, if you will) & lightly whipped, whereas the raspberry mocha has a proud, firm whipped cream topping. Get this - you can also get the Peach Blossom Tea Latte in Starbucks Canada.

Starbucks USA isn't really going wild this season, but that's to be expected - I don't think I ever remember an exciting spring release in Starbucks America. It might've been when the fruity blended Tazos came out or something, but who cares about those?

The latest drinks are Tiramisu lattes & Frappuccinos, and a Caramel Flan latte & Frappuccinos. Now I gotta bit of a beef with the Caramel Flan one because that, to me, just sounds like caramel. I'd love to know if there is any legitimately different taste, so I'd try it. The Tirimisu one, however, sounds quite nice with a mascarpone flavor...dunno if that would actually have a strong taste, either. Also, they pale in comparison to the overloaded Japanese versions of those same flavors from last year, which had actual hunks of those desserts in the drink. Now that would be worth a try.

This sandwich, however, sounds awesome: Bacon, Gouda, and Parmesan Frittata in Starbucks USA.


As much as I like a lot of the food at Starbucks (here in the UK, I love the Cheese & Marmite toastie) it really seems to me that it's just not that kinda place you can go & just order food. I'm sure that no one would kick you out, but I can't deal with the judgement of a barista if I actually just want to order lunch.

That being said, they're really promoting a new menu of interesting looking lunches and a couple of awesome new baked goods - and they're launching the 'Starbucks Evenings' menu in the UK (first location is Stansted Airport) so maybe Starbucks is positioning itself to be seen as more of a dining option in addition to just coffees? I'm down with that!

The things I'm most looking forward to trying at Starbucks UK are the Nutella Cookie & the 3 Cheese Toastie.


You can expect a review of at least one of these (and it will definitely be that Nutella Cookie...) very shortly! The Nutella Cookie is a lightly spiced cookie filled with Nutella. What's not to like? The 3 Cheese Toastie is mascarpone, red leicester, and cheddar. Truffle-infused mascarpone, no less. That would be one indulgent lunch, haha - *cracks knuckles* and I'm just the woman to eat it.

Writing this round up of Starbucks across the world made me very hungry & sleepy. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2015 Paul A Young Valentine's Chocolates

I know it's late, but I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day! I know it's not one of the most well-loved holidays in the world, ironically enough, but I've always enjoyed it as just a day to celebrate love in general, not necessarily romantic love. Love between family, friends, and the love human beings have for sugar & fat. That's why chocolate is so popular on the day, right?


During the course of my celebration on the 14th we stopped by Paul A Young for some last minute truffles 'n' treats. I've covered Paul A Young a few times on the blog previously:
Golden Champagne Easter Egg, 2014
Valentine's Day Selection Box, 2014
Valentine's Day Shortbread, 2013
Christmas Gingerbread Shortbread, 2012/2013

As you can see my Paul A Young visits do often correspond with the major holidays. Every year he does something special for them, so I'm often tempted right on in. This year the Valentine's theme was romantic cities around the world...as visited through chocolate. We tried a few of the cities & had a couple of new filled chocolates just for good measure. Odds are good these will still be available in the shops awhile longer!


Dublin (first row, far left - bottom row, far right)  - Confessions: I've never tried Guinness, but that is what's in this truffle + some soda bread crunching about. It tasted like a slightly malty dark chocolate, and I did really enjoy it! I asked my husband if that is about what Guinness tastes like, and he said "yeah." So, must be accurate then!

London (first row, far right - bottom row, far left) - Gin & lime with tonic water, super accurate! There is a bit of mouth-watering fizz to the lime & tonic water, and the gin hits you with a very smooth, fresh alcohol taste. Not like a lot of other alcoholic truffles, the next one included, that have a bit of strength & vapor to them. This was a lot more refined, and could be very appealing to people who aren't even that into drink-infused chocolate.

Paris (top row center - bottom row center) - Absinthe, lump sugar. Nice alcoholic kick to it, I'm not an expert on absinthe (if I was, what a strange blog this would be...) but it certainly seemed to have some boozy vapors tucked away inside the smooth, dark ganache. Big fan of this one, anybody into alcoholic truffles would love it.

Seville (middle row far right) - This one was good, your classic orange & chocolate combination with a bit of flaked almonds for crunch & nutty depth. Not a whole lot to say about it to be honest, but the marmalade was well balanced for tang & sweetness.

Peppermint & Coffee (second row, far left) - This one was lovely. Strong, sweet peppermint with a hint of a coffee bean style flavor. Not so strong like brewed coffee, more like - well, a chocolate covered coffee bean. It was a lot like having a nice mint fondant chocolate with a sip of a strong espresso to follow. It was interesting to try this as the filling was much stiffer/more fondant than I usually see in Paul A Young.

New York (dead center) - Cream cheese, biscuit, dark chocolate. This one was awesome. Definitely the most traditional of all the flavors, as it is a cheese cake in domed chocolate form...I mean, what could go wrong? What I liked best was the density & sourness, it really captured NYC style cheesecake in a way that many British places kinda don't see. Often topped with sour cream, NYC cheesecake is a dense & not too sweet, more fatty affair. This got it right - and the little bits of graham-y biscuit drove the point home. I'd happily scarf these down just like the salted caramels - it's the same sort of perfect balance. A new line of cheesecake chocolates would be a great idea, too...in case Mr. A. Young happens to read. ;) Blueberry compote on top? Just sayin'.

Bonus mini-review! I also shared the Pink Praline brownie, and it was as dense & fudgey as ever, with a subtle almond sugar crunch on top. As nice as ever, and nearly just a perfect plain brownie.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Taffy Mail for February (American Candy Subscription Box in the UK!)

I've just recently started looking into subscription boxes, and I was a bit disappointed to see that my countrymen in the USA had yet to open up the shores of our sugary sea to the United Kingdom. In a word, there were no North American candy subscription boxes that shipped to the UK. Disappointing for a wayward American who likes to keep up to date with the limited edition Oreos back home...(Red Velvet, come to me!)

Taffy Mail Review Subscription Box American Candy

Leave it to some ingenious Brits to solve this problem for themselves. The fine folks at Taffy Mail were kind enough to send me a box to review. Thanks so much - it made me nostalgic, and it really felt like a care package from home for me. For non-Americans, I'm sure it's an exciting box full of things that they may remember from childhood holidays - or even things that they've never tried, which the patriot in me knows they'll love.

They're based here in the UK & ship out delicious American sweets every month at just £14.99, shipped. If you want to get it for just £12.99 shipped - use my code 'CREAMYSTEAKS' for £2 off!

Best of all, they also include a soda - which if you've ever tried to buy soda from overseas you know the shipping is ridiculous. My box was full of awesome candy & chocolate, read on for blow-by-blow (or is that Blow Pop by Blow Pop?) reviews of what I got. Would you believe it, but there were some things in there that I had never tried myself!




Airheads Grape - Never had an Airhead in my life...I was never big on chewing, now or as a kid, I'm more of a chomper. Turns out all these years I've been really missing out. Airheads are a very soft taffy that doesn't linger about on your teeth, it's sticky but only just. Unlike, for instance, Laffy Taffy which I have solid recollections of having to dig out of my teeth by the end of a chunk - or any caramel ever. The grape flavor was strong, sweet, & tart. Reminded me of Crush Grape soda! Miss that stuff.



Abba Zabba - I've had this bar before, and it's definitely an odd one. Absolutely fun to try, it's extremely sticky & chewy sweet taffy with a peanut butter center. I'm not the biggest fan personally, but it was nice to see something a bit more rare in the box. Once you've reached the peanut butter center, it's actually quite nice. It's working your way through that thick rope of taffy that may prove difficult. If you've got strong teeth you may find it a pleasant chew, but I've got li'l baby milk teeth so I can't handle it.


Nerds Rope - I loved Nerds Rope. As soon as it came out when I was a kid in 1997 I was all about it. It's a very smooth, relatively thin gummy rope that is coated in a variety of Nerds. They did different flavors, and this one is Valentine's themed. It was just as nice as I remember, the Nerds were tangy & of course incredibly sweet (did you know they're basically just sugar coated in sugar?) and the gummy is soft & 'red' tasting. You know how red licorice tastes, or unspecified red 'jam'? That's the Nerds Rope!



Whatchamacallit - Now this is one I doubt many British people have tried, considering a lot of Americans probably never give this one a go in their lifetimes! It's one of the older Hershey's bars that lacks advertising & colorful limited editions, along the lines of the 5th Avenue & the ever mysterious Mr Goodbar. This one has caramel & 'peanut flavor crisps'. I've got to imagine there are some holdout Whatchamacallit superfans from the 70s that still bulk buy these, and I'm glad they exist because it's a fine bar of chocolate. The caramel is runny & not too sticky or stiff, the peanut crisps are like softer, less sticky Butterfinger pieces. If you're a fan of Butterfingers, especially if you like the flavor but find the texture too sticky, I think you'd go nuts for the Whatchamacallit. It is quite nice!


Kool-Aid Strawberry Lemonade - Ah, Kool-Aid! I don't think I've tried this flavor before, I was always a red or purple fan. It's quite tart, which makes it a bit more appealing to the adult palate. It's a lot like a Countrytime Lemonade actually - but some of that might have to do with the fact that I didn't add too much sugar. The strawberry flavor, hm - maybe if I added more sugar it would be more pronounced, but as of right now it just softens the lemon up a bit. In case you're wondering, you can make Kool-Aid directly into a glass, you just use a smaller portion of the packet & less sugar. It's a bit tougher to get the balance right, but the good news is you don't need to go out and buy a pitcher!



Dove Cookies 'n' Cream Bar - I've reviewed this one before! What are the odds. As I said in my previous review, I'm actually not crazy for American white chocolate bars - they are very sweet. I ate Hershey's Cookies & Cream bars a lot as a kid, and as soon as I start thinking about them now my throat starts to get a bit sore. I had a segment, and while it was smooth & the cookie chunks a bit more noticeable than before, I still gave the rest to my husband. He loved it - your results will vary depending on how white chocolate you ate as a kid, I guess!



Tootsie Pop Drops - Love Tootsie Pops, but hate sticks? This is just your style then! I'm ambivalent towards sticks, but what I do like about these is the size & ease with which you can eat. Also, it takes a lot less licks to get to the center of one of these, which is good because everyone knows the melty Tootsie center is the best. I bet that owl's head is spinning. These come in all the best flavors of Tootsie Pop, so orange, "blue", grape, cherry & even the dreaded chocolate flavor hard candy. Woe be to the teacher who passed that flavor out to me, hated it. All the fruity ones are just perfect though! If you've never had a Tootsie Pop, I feel bad for you, but they're fruity tart lollipops with a Tootsie Roll center. As you suck, the center because melty & gooey, and once you get to the center it's a lot like a flavored Tootsie...which are also awesome. Orange is my favorite these days, the combination of a tangy citrus hard candy & a malty, soft choco-ish center is quite nice & something I can imagine the land of Terry's Chocolate Oranges & Cadbury Eclairs loving. Even though these are quite small drops, I was able to get a good 10 minutes worth of candy pleasure out of one. That is... without biting. I'm no owl.


Pixy Stix - Oh man, I ate a lot of Pixy Stix growing up. They might explain why I did so little actual growing up after awhile. This is "blue" flavor, an American flavor that is in some ways blueberry, in some ways raspberry, and in a lot of ways neon citric acid. It was my favorite flavor as a kid because well, it was almost always the strongest flavor in the bunch, was kinda sour, and usually had razzbadattude. Just like how I remember it, except now as an adult I'm very conscious of the fact that it's a straw full of sugar, and instead of giving me the energy I need to play dogs for hours & hours it just makes me feel ashamed. Like I said, a Pixy Stix is basically a stick of sugar & is as you might expect, quite sweet. It's not purely sweet though, it does have a hint of tartness & tang. SweetTarts are actually Pixy Stix that have been compressed into discs, so if you know & love that flavor, you'll get it pure & uncut in Pixy form. It was really nice to try this again, and it was actually a lot nicer as an adult than I thought it would be! I guess we never stop loving slightly sour sugar.


Jolly Rancher Stix, Green Apple - We all know green apple is the best flavor of Jolly Rancher, but how does it fair in stick form? I'll be honest - I'm not sure I understand how we're supposed to eat this product. It's no fault of Taffy Mail's of course, but I suppose you're meant to just have half of a hard candy sticking out of your mouth while you gum endlessly at the other end until you get it to biting consistency? Jolly Ranchers in their normal form are bite-sized hard candy logs that you just put in your mouth, in their entirety, and suck on. This thing is way too big for that, and the only other things I can think of just look so weird & feel uncomfortable. The taste was just as nice, a tart green apple that is sweet & fresh tasting, but I just can't get over how exactly I'm meant to eat it. I'd recommend sticking to the classic Jolly Ranchers shape, but it's an interesting experiment - I bet kid's would find a way to eat it in a more clever way than I did.



Butterfinger Bites - I was into the Butterfinger BBs back in the old days, and while these are quite a bit bigger it's the same principle. I think the fine folks down at Butterfinger Co. realize that their candy is almost impossible to just eat as a big hunk of chewy peanut-flavored confection, so they come up with simpler ways of getting that salty, peanutty crunch without having to actually eat an entire bar of it. See Butterfinger Cups, BBs, Snackerz, and Bites. The bites are about thumb sized and mostly Butterfinger inside, with just a medium sized coating of chocolate, The flaky & crispy innards are as they always are, and the flavor (in case you've never had a Butterfinger period) is more peanutty than peanut buttery. It tastes a bit like sweetened - but not roasted or salted - peanuts. It's a unique flavor, and that's why Butterfinger Cups can sit happily beside Reese's. The smaller bite size version is definitely preferable to the large bars, but be warned that you'll still get some stuck in your teeth.


M&Ms Minis - Have you had M&Ms? Yes? Have you ever had them teeny tiny & adorable? Maybe not? Well here's your chance. I like these better than traditional M&Ms because the shell is a bit thinner, so it's more like you're just eating little dots of chocolate. I'm not crazy for the hard sugar shell on Smarties or Mini Eggs, and the M&Ms Minis swing in the opposite direction by making it thinner & less crunchy. I also think they're just adorable. I remember when these came out I got them a lot at the movies, and they blend quite nicely with popcorn. I've compared them above to a regular M&M I happened to have around.


Day's Root Beer - Tasty root beer! You've got to try it, and this is a nice & mild one. It's not too spicy & not too minty, it's like a non-fruity Dr Pepper. It's so hard to describe the flavor of root beer...this is a really lovely one though!

Whew! What a haul, huh? I absolutely loved getting this box - for me it was nostalgic & tasty. There was also so much inside, I shared half of everything (well...more or less) with my husband and we both had candy for days.

 If you want to sign up at Taffy Mail, please be sure to use my code CREAMYSTEAKS to get £2 off your order!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Candy Adriatico, February Box



 When I got the opportunity to review this new subscription box from the Adriatic Sea area - called Candy Adriatico -  I was super excited. Thank you, lovely Nadi for the complimentary shipment. It arrived in such a nice, personalized box I could tell a lot of thought was put into it.


Inside there was further customization, with a personal note & a sweet postcard from Piran. It's an attractive city, I'd like to visit someday - 4th most romantic in Europe, apparently! Everything came in a large quantity - we could've easily gotten just a few of those Truly gummies, for instance, but it's an entire bag.

I noticed that most of the snack packaging was red, and I'm not sure if that was because of Valentine's Day or that's just the way snacks are packaged in the Adriatic region! Kind of like how purple & blue seems to be the color of sweets in England. Either way, it was cheery & very on-theme for Valentine's Day.


The first thing I dug into was the Dorina bar, milk chocolate with puffed rice. I loved it, and luckily there was lots of it to love. It's a moderately sweet & milky chocolate, like Milka or other European continental chocolates. 


The rice was plentiful & maybe lightly sweetened - reminded me of cereals like this one, which personal favorites of mine. I really liked the texture of this bar, the amount of puffed rice inside was more than you may first expect and made for something different from your usual Cadbury bar.


The Jadro wafers were next up, and I was pretty into these from the start. When I was younger I used to love World Market, a shop in the USA that sells some candy & snacks from around the world. Big shock I'd like a place like that, huh? Anyway, they sold Loacker wafer cubes, and I loved them. I assumed these wafers were from Italy as well, but these were actually from Croatia!


 These were just as nice as the Loacker wafers from back then. Crispy yet delicate. Inside the wafers is chocolate cream & I believe vanilla cream? The chocolate filling has a strong taste, unlike some cheaper (read...American) wafer cookies. The white filling also had a legitimate taste of vanilla - rather than the standard 'sugar cream'. It may have been white chocolate, but whatever it was it had a rich & buttery flavor.

Speaking of Loacker - this next bar is actually made by them! I didn't realize until after I had already eaten it, haha. This one is Choco & Milk Cereals.


 It reminded me of the Kinder Country bar, with the thick milky cream that has a slightly nutty taste. The little bits of cereal just add crispness & the chocolate coating is high quality European stuff. 


This one went down very quickly, I'd happily choose it for an afternoon snack anytime.

Next I enjoyed the roll cake. This really reminded me of Little Debbie's Swiss Rolls, but better. The chocolate covering is properly chocolate, not a weird choco-confection like a lot of snack cakes use. The filling was creamy & light, didn't coat my mouth in a weird way.


 The cake itself was natural & sweet. If you're an expat American craving Little Debbie's, I'd happily recommend you find a way to get these - good news, there is a way, and I'll tell you at the end. :)

The Zanzibar chocolate was gianduja with a whole hazelnut in, and it was just as tasty as it sounds. Which is to say super tasty. I love hazelnut & chocolate combinations like all red-blooded human beings, and this is just a quick little hit of that perfect combo.


 Nice to include a whole nut as well - gives it a more premium feel. The hole in my bar is where the nut was...haha. Sorry.

There were a couple of fruitier candies included - including some strawberry Starburst type sweets that I didn't try...but I received reports from my snacking companion that they were nice & sweet. That's why he doesn't have his own blog I suppose, haha. 


I did have quite a few of these Truly gummies & they're quite nice. I appreciate the natural way they've been made, with fruit juice & no artificial colors. To be honest, I kind of like the stronger taste that comes with artificial flavors, but I also understand it's unhealthy!


 I really love the texture of these, they're like firm gumdrops covered in a fine sugar. The orange is particularly good with a strong fruity tang.

So all together, a lovely package with tons of chocolate I would've never otherwise tried. That's what makes this box so interesting to me - it's chocolate & candy from a region that I (and perhaps others, too) don't know much about. That's not to even mention the sweet the owner who is very communicative & obviously passionate about her region of the world and the delicious snacks therein. If you're interested in this specific box (including the reminiscent-but-tastier cake rolls) I happen to have some insider info that there will soon be an option on the site to order sweets from previous boxes...However, it'd be just as fun to get some new snacks! Take a look at the Candy Adriatico website for more info & discover the snacks of the Adriatic sea!..and I don't mean fish & kelp.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Puccho Disney Pixar World, Candy & Charm

I'm not usually one for chewy candies - I know they're particularly harsh on teeth, so my paranoia about decay overrides the joy that a long lasting, tangy chew can provide.


That being said, I am a sucker for a gimmick, especially one that I can hang off of my keys. Enter Puccho Disney Pixar World, a candy that comes with a charm. Not just a charm if you ask me, but lots of charm. With it's bright packaging and promise of adorably pudgy Pixar characters (that do indeed resemble Puccho squares) inside, I couldn't resist these charms.


I was hoping to get either Mike, Sully, or Buzz as my charming companion - but I'm certainly not complaining about Unsure Puccho Woody! He's very sweet.

Speaking of sweet, the candies themselves are a milky berry flavor. While not my favorite - I would've preferred something citrus or more tangy if I was choosing based on flavor - they're inoffensive & are probably toothsome to all fans of chewy candies. Won't be setting anyone's world on fire, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone who would spit out a gentle strawberry & raspberry candy. I was most reminded of the Berries 'n' Creme variety of Starburst, famous for this terrible, no good, genuinely annoying ad.


Puccho sets itself apart from other chewy candies by including cool little bits of firmer gummy inside. Some varieties also include fizzy bits, but these Disney Pixar variant stick to the basic formula. The main body of the Puccho is a soft Starburst texture, while the interior gummies are firm - a bit like a Haribo Gold Bear.

They're still available to purchase at TofuCute (shipping within the UK!) at a right reasonable £2.99 for an imported candy & keychain. I haven't seen them on any of my other favorite Japanese candy webshops, but maybe they'll arrive later on in the year.

It's a shame that this free toy/free bauble attached to food & drink thing hasn't really made it across the world yet. In America we used to get free toys in cereal, but that has really declined in practice since I was a kid. Probably fear of choking hazards - same reason the Kinder Egg is banned in the USA. Were there free toys in cereal in England ever?

 I did happen to see over Christmas that you could get a big box of PG Tips that included a stuffed version of their monkey mascot inside, so perhaps the time is nigh for western consumable companies to start including fun extras in their products again!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Pumpkin Pudding Bakeable KitKats

I promised two KitKat reviews this week, and while I'm pushing "this week" to it's very limits - a promise is a promise.

Earlier this week I reviewed a fine UK limited edition KitKat, the Toffee Treat. While very tasty, it wasn't necessarily as innovative as a lot of the Japanese limited editions that come out. It's fair enough, the consumer purchasing power in the UK is both a lot more traditional, and just far fewer actual consumers...Luckily, importing exotic treats is quite easy in this day & age. Imagine our grandfathers' & grandmothers' plight to get rare Japanese KitKats. That much patience, they truly were the greatest generation.

Before I go on, I must tell all of my UK readers that yes, these KitKats are easily procured here in the UK still! Even though it's been awhile since Halloween, you can still get them at Japan Centre, online & probably in store. Even better than that, they're actually on sale - a bag of 12 mini bars for about £10. Not bad at all for a treat - make this Valentine's Day spooky & bakeable, perhaps? The best holidays are, after all.


So the packaging, as usual, is super cute. This year it seemed to be quite difficult to differentiate between the bakeable pumpkin & regular pumpkin, which I believe was also re-released. I've already reviewed the normal pumpkin pudding KitKats here. The 2013 pumpkin pudding packaging is very similar to this year, except this one is bakeable - I'm sure the difference is made very clear if you read Japanese, but just double check that you are purchasing the version you want. The Japan Centre is selling the bakeable one for sure, though!


I like this cute little witch with the spoon.

The spice on this is very subtle - if you're used to American pumpkin spice flavors you'll be surprised by the gently warming spice rather than the cinnamon & nutmeg blast. When not baked it does it taste a bit like a squash or 'real' pumpkin more than anything else, with a strong background of vanilla or white chocolate.


Basically, it tastes almost exactly like 2013's pumpkin pudding KitKat, gently warm sweet pumpkin. Except this one can be baked!


Here it is after a huge blast in the oven grill - there are better ways to cook these, but it takes some practice. I actually quite like the brulee style with quite a crisp top, but you can bake it on a lower heat for a longer amount of time and get a more even browning rather than just crisping the top & making the bottom gooey.

You can get a bit more info about how to bake these in my previous review for the bakeable custard pudding variety, and you can see how these look when cooked a bit more slowly & at a lower temperature.

The flavor of the pumpkin dissipates in these when baked, and in it's place is a sweet & just slightly spicy flavor.


Honestly, I really liked them but the taste wasn't that different from the custard pudding variety. It was only just a bit spicier. I love the bakeable KitKats, and I'll gladly try any other flavors that come down the pipeline, but this one wasn't exactly a mind-blower. I hope that maybe the next flavor will be milk or dark chocolate, just to change things up a bit. They're absolutely worth a pick up, especially if you haven't tried the custard pudding version and therefore don't know the magic of a gooey, crispy KitKat yet.