Sunday, March 17, 2013

Koala no March, Custard Cream Puff

As a baby/child/person with easy access to them, I used to snack on Koala's March cookies like there was no tomorrow. What's not to like about these biscuits? They're poppable, cute, and tasty. A great snack, especially for little hands and people who appreciate bears doing cute things stamped on to their cookies. There were only two flavors available in the USA back in my day, chocolate and strawberry. I was all about the chocolate, of course. Apparently, there is a flavor in America now that is like a reverse koala--chocolate cookie with white chocolate creme inside. I think I would've liked that one best, but alas, not around back then. However! I've made up for lost time by snatching up these Koala no March straight from NapaJapan, in the flavor 'Custard Cream Puff'.
D' cute is that! I like to imagine all my desserts were put together by a sleepy bear. Or is he just so proud of his fine work for Lotte that he's coyly blushing? Either way, d'awwww. You can see from the illustrations that this flavor is meant to be like a choux pastry cream puff. So, I was expecting just a sort of creamy vanilla flavor, because I've been suckered into things like this a million times only to end up with the same sort of taste. Never does it taste bad, but there are only so many differences between cream puffs, cheesecakes, vanilla custards, egg tarts, et cetera that can be translated through fondant centers. The smell after I opened the box was incredibly tangy, like yogurt. An eyebrow was raised, and a few koalas were scattered onto a plate.
The gangs all here: starting from the left we've got Creamy, Schleepy, Punchy, and dead center, uh...Franklin! The first to get crunched was Punchy, he was lookin' at me funny. The biscuit seemed much crisper and crunchier than your classic Koala biscuits from the USA, or derivatives like Hello Panda. They also had air pockets in them, which was a bit of a marvel because of how thin the biscuit shell was to begin with--how did it manage air bubbles? I wonder if this was meant to replicate a choux pastry shell...The inner creme was the familiar solid fondant from every other koala snack, except it seemed less sticky and claggy this time around. It could be that it was just fresher, or that the snacks from the USA use a less-quality creme, but this could also be an attempt at replicating a creme puff's delicate and dissipating inner fluff. The only slight disappointment was the flavor. Even though the smell was tangy, the taste was the same sort of vanilla dairy taste I had in the last few dairy/milk products I've had from Japan. Not as sweet as the plain vanilla Hello Panda, but a bit bland.

Fact is though, that these Koala cookies are meant for kids, so maybe I'm expecting a little too much from them in terms of taste. An adult palette might be able to tell the difference between custard and vanilla cream, but for a kid the exciting bit is probably that the koala is wearing a chef's hat this time around.

These were perfectly tasty, but not radically different from other teensy bear biscuits that have came before it. If they were available as a flavor here in the UK, I'd  get them before strawberry, but maybe not before the classic chocolate. This won't stop me from buying every other milky custard variation that comes out in Japan though, but I'm kind of a sucker.

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