Sunday, August 31, 2014

Takenoko No Sato, Mellow Chestnut

I'm back from Japan! It was a lovely two weeks...week and a half, maybe - but it feels nice to be back home. We ate tons of good food, and I'll be looking back on the trip in big installments like my previous Singapore & Berlin series, but as a nice starter I've already snacked on one of my bring-home treats: these bamboo shoot shaped cookies that you may have seen in many flavors elsewhere.

Takenoko no Sato means Bamboo Shoot Village, and the inner packaging reflects that by showing you a relaxing old-timey village scene. Am I to believe that these cookies are living out normal, village-type lives inside this rattling box? And here I come, just eating them one of by one & in some cases, two by two. Life's not fair, cookies, get used to it.

This flavor particularly is 'Mellow Chestnut', and I had an interesting experience with it. When bitten into, there is a weird savory edge that is a bit unpleasant. If you've ever had mont blanc and felt like "gee, suddenly this tastes a lot more like what I expect an acorn to taste like than a delicious nutty dessert paste" than A) you're just like me, and B) you'll know just what I mean, flavorwise. Chestnut is certainly not the only nut that falls victim to this, it's happened to me with almonds & hazelnuts alike.

However, when allowed to melt in the mouth the taste is, in fact, very mellow. Nutty & creamy, seamlessly blending into the buttery cookie. It seems to be an actual chestnut flavored white chocolate given the melt quality, rather than a 'coating'. I think they'd be really nice with tea or milk, but they're quite tiny so no dunking.

 I did consider a cookie soup sort of recipe with these...Cookie soup of course being my childhood culinary masterstroke: as many cookies as you care to eat stacked in a bowl, pour milk on top, eat with a spoon. Do combos - multiple cookie types, different milk flavors, add toppings...Cookie soup truly is the most versatile dessert soup of them all. These would integrate very nicely into any form of cookie soup.

 The smell might put off some, as it is a bit earthy - but when you're eating chestnut flavored, bamboo shoot shaped cookies that's part of the charm, huh? It's only earthy in the way that some nuts are.

There are about maybe 20 in a box - I split it with my husband as a little snack and we both felt pretty satisfied.

If the flavor of mellow chestnut doesn't strike your fancy, there are tons more. NapaJapan has a good size selection, I'd love to try the Maple one sometime.

Look forward to more to come from Japan, both individual reviews and retrospectives & general thoughts on the food available this time around!

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