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Japanese Candy Review: Nama Kokuto Ame

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Foreign (non-US) Candy,Hard Candy

Nama Kokuto Ame

What’s the best part of traveling to a new place? Seeing the sights? Nope. The food? Getting closer. Trying new candy? Now you’re talking! So on my recent trip to Honolulu, I was on the hunt for candy. Not Hawaiian candy, mind you, but Asian candy. I love Asian candy – if it’s got a name in characters I can’t read and weird Engrish ingredients like “starch syrup” and “acidity,” I’m all over it. And with its large population of Japanese people, I figured Hawaii was the place to find it.

From the racks of candy at the local mall’s Shirokiya department store, your one-stop shop for all things Japanese, I selected a bag of Nama Kokuto Ame brown sugar-flavored hard candies. The bag was certainly striking, with a bold red brush-stroked character on a background of black fading to gold. The bag’s picture of crumbled lumps of brown rock sugar looked promising, as did the short ingredient list: sugar, muscovado, liquid cane sugar, and flavors. Nothing too unusual there, though I couldn’t quite recall what muscovado was.

I popped the first one in my mouth and was rewarded with a smooth, mild caramel/brown sugar flavor. A nice, pleasant flavor, not too bold or intrusive, suitable for keeping your mouth busy while doing other things without being too distracting. But as I sucked on it, the flavor, slowly but surely, began to change.

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Candy Review: Zingerman’s Zzang! Candy Bars

Categories: Candy,Candy Reviews,Chocolate Candy,Gourmet Candy

Zingerman’s Original
Seldom do I get as excited about candy as I did when the shipment of Zingerman’s Zzang! Bars arrived after a long workday. The hip, slick packaging, the simple mixed with fancy ingredients, and the interesting flavor combinations promised a unique treat. And, with three varieties, I felt sure my palate would be artfully stimulated.

I tore into the Original first, because I wanted to use it as a base to compare to the other flavors. Zingerman’s marketing team made me salivate with anticipation:

“Starting with a honey nougat made with natural peanut butter, we dip it in a sensual caramel made from muscovado brown sugar. The biggest and best butter roasted peanuts we can find come next, and the whole endeavor is finished off with a dip into a rich bath of dark chocolate.”

It looked great and smelled good, but the taste was disappointing. It was very peanutty and rich, but left an odd, almost smoky, aftertaste in my mouth. I expected the bar to be sweeter, and was left wishing I’d eaten a Snickers instead. Dang. Next…

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