RocketNews 24 (by Oona McGee):
Now you can enjoy a break with a Kit Kat and a shot of Japanese rice wine all rolled into one.
Japan is well-known for its huge variety of Kit Kats, with flavors ranging from wasabi to soybean and purple sweet potato to red bean sandwich. While most are developed as regional souvenirs, representing delicacies of the area, there’s one particular variety that says “Japan” like no other, and appears at the top of the must-buy souvenir list for many foreign visitors: the Green Tea Kit Kat.
Nestlé Japan says the exclusive variety remains a popular choice with foreign tourists, with sales for 2015 up by 20 percent over the previous year. The product’s huge popularity encouraged the company to develop another Japan-exclusive flavour, this time based on the country’s well-known traditional brew, nihonshuu, or sake as it’s known internationally.
▼ Aimed at the foreign tourist market, the packaging features a beautiful pink sakura cherry blossom design, along with an image of the well-known liquor.
The new Kit Kats contain sake powder which has been kneaded into the white chocolate-encased wafers, giving the chocolates all the flavor and aroma of a top-quality rice wine, while providing a light and refreshing aftertaste. Available from 1 February this year, the new variety will come in three-pack boxes for 150 yen (US$1.24) at convenience stores, while the specially designed nine-piece box will be available for 700 yen from souvenir stores around the country.
▼ The nine-piece packs feature a beautiful package in the shape of an Isshobin, 1.8-litre bottle.
If you’re in Japan and would like to try a sample, Nestlé Japan will be featuring the sake Kit Kats at a booth at the upcoming event, which will be held from February 5-14 at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo.
Some of our readers are undoubtedly aware that we here at RocketNews24 are quite fond of Kit Kats. And while we’re used to seeing the popular chocolate snack in an array of interesting flavors, we have to say we were genuinely intrigued when we heard about “bakeable” Kit Kats last year, as were many other Kit Kat fans across Japan, judging from the fact that the unique sweet attracted enough attention to be turned into pizzas. Now, the bakeable Kit Kats have returned, and in a new flavor to boot! Of course, we weren’t about to be kept away from such sweetness. Join us as we try the new “Bake ‘N Tasty Mini Kit Kats Cheesecake Flavor” (Kit Kat Mini Yaite Oishi Cheesecake Aji)!
When we heard that a new version of the bakeable Kit Kats had come out this week, we naturally rushed to the local supermarket in search of the snack.
▼ Sure enough, we found the new Kit Kats being sold for 256 yen (US$2.15) for a bag containing 13 mini pieces.
▼ Last year’s bakeable Kit Kats were in a custard pudding flavor, and this time, as it says on the package, it’s cheesecake! The illustration of the toaster oven also makes it clear that these Kit Kats are meant to be baked.
▼ Toasting the Kit Kats should turn them golden brown like this:
▼ On the back of the package, there were instructions on how to bake the Kit Kats.
▼ You place the Kit Kats on the toaster tray after covering it with aluminum foil …
▼ … and turn the toaster on to heat for two to two and a half minutes. Once the surface starts to turn brown, the Kit Kats apparently can get burned quite quickly, so you’ll need to be careful not to heat it for too long.
▼ We opened the bag …
▼ … and the mini Kit Kats came individually wrapped in cute green and white checkered packages.
▼ The Kit Kat looks like just regular white chocolate before it’s toasted.
▼ We turned on the heat and waited …
▼ … and they were done in just minutes!
▼ Beautiful! Now we were ready to taste them.
So, now that the Kit Kats were toasted, how did they taste? They had a delightful texture, crispy and light, and although we maybe could taste the chocolate more than the cream cheese, the flavor was definitely enjoyable. And the sweet smell of warm toasted chocolate and cheese was indeed wonderful enough to make our mouth water even before tasting the actual treat.
Nestle Japan had actually previously sold a baked type cream cheese Kit Kat from the Kit Kat Chocolatory shop, which we tasted last year along with the pudding flavored bakeable Kit Kats. Having tried both, we thought that last year’s Chocolatory cream cheese Kit Kats had more of a cheese flavor, while these new cheesecake flavor bakeable Kit Kats seemed to be sweeter, and perhaps closer to how you might expect a typical “chocolate” snack to taste.
That doesn’t change the fact that we think the new Kit Kats still make a highly tasty treat. Plus, their small size makes them very convenient to eat as a quick snack. There’s apparently also a smaller package containing just three of the mini Kit Kats available exclusively at convenience stores, so if you’re in Japan this spring, you may very well come across this newest offering from Nestle Japan, in which case we wish you sweet and happy toasting!
Remember the Kit Kat Chocolaterie, the world’s first Kit Kat specialty store that opened in the Ikebukuro Seibu Department Store back in January this year? The shop sells limited edition Kit Kats produced by celebrity patissier Yasumasa Takagi, so it’s not surprising that huge crowds of Kit Kat fans have been making their pilgrimage to the store in search of unique Kit Kat products.
Since then, the Kit Kat bandwagon has apparently been going strong, as two more Chocolaterie shops have opened in Japan, one in the Daimaru Department Store at Tokyo Station and another at the Matsuya Department Store in Nagoya. And now, they’ve announced that they’ll be coming out with a special “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Patissier Gift” set for Christmas, and we can’t wait to see what goodies it contains. Plus, there’s even a Kit Kat inspired Christmas cake created by chef Takagi that they’re now taking orders for — who knew that Christmas could be so much fun for Kit Kat lovers?
The gift set, which contains special Kit Kat Chocolaterie products and chef Takagi’s original baked confections, is a dream collaboration for any sweets fan.
For 4,500 yen (US$37.92), the set contains one piece each of the “Kit Kat Sublime Bitter” and “Kit Kat Sublime Raspberry“, a box of the “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Special Strawberry Maple” and also the “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Special Ginger“, plus five madeleines and four cookies from chef Takagi. A delightful added touch is that the madeleines have a whole Kit Kat baked into them, giving them a crunchy texture, and the cookies also contain crunched Kit Kat bits — they definitely aren’t your ordinary baked treats!
You can now also pre-order this delectable looking “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Noel” cake covered in shiny chocolate, available for 5,000 yen ($42.13).
The cake too is the work of chef Takagi and was created as an homage to the well-loved Kit Kat snack. The cake, made from layers of caramel butter cream, crispy fiantine cookie and biscuit, is designed to recreate the look and texture of Kit Kats without actually using the snack as an ingredient. Now, that certainly makes for a unique Christmas cake!
Chef Takagi commented that he wanted to include items in the gift package that would offer a sense of genuine surprise, which is why he came up with the idea of baking an entire Kit Kat into the madeleines, and as for the cake, he made an effort to create his own rendition of a Kit Kat using original ingredients, resulting in what he hopes is a delightfully surprising and fulling cake.
The “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Patissier Gift” will be available at all three Kit Kat Chocolaterie stores for just one week from December 19 to 25, but they’ll be selling only 20 sets each day, so they may very well sell out. You can also place orders now for the “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Noel” cake at the Ikebukuro Seibu store and the Tokyo Daimaru Store until December 20 for pick-up on December 24, but these are also limited to a total of 75 cakes, so anyone intending to order one may want to hurry.
So, if you’re celebrating the Holiday Season this year in Japan with someone with a fondness for Kit Kats, these could be the perfect treat. Here’s to a chocolatey, crunchy Christmas!
Ah, wasabi, the pungent root that adds spice to sushi and gets up the noses of over-enthusiastic consumers, leaving many a watery eye and a burning palate. It seems that you either love wasabi or hate it, with wasabi-lovers clamoring for a touch of the green stuff in a variety of forms including Kit-Kats and potato chips, and wasabi-haters strictly stipulating to sushi chefs that they require their sushi sabi-nuki de, or sans wasabi. But did you know that the wasabi-lovers actually get to enjoy a host of health and beauty benefits that are denied to those who shy away from this miraculous wonder root? Read on as we unveil the five surprising health effects of regular wasabi consumption!
First, here’s a little info on wasabi itself. Wasabi is a member of the brassicacae family of plants, which includes mustard and horseradish. The uninitiated might refer to wasabi as “Japanese horseradish” but real wasabi is actually completely different.The confusion probably stems from the fact that most wasabi you can buy in a tube is actually a mixture of mustard, horseradish and food coloring, as real wasabi paste quickly loses flavor within about 15 minutes and is therefore less suitable for sale. Proper wasabi can be served grated or powdered as well as in paste form. If you’ve ever actually eaten too much wasabi, you’ll know that its “hotness” tends to manifest as a sharp, stinging nasal pain which quickly dissipates after a few seconds of eye-streaming agony. Sure, the tang of wasabi is a bit too much for some, but here’s why we should all be loading up our sushi with more of this amazing condiment.
Reason 1: Wasabi prevents food poisoning
Did you ever wonder why wasabi traditionally tends to be eaten with sushi? It’s not just because the spiciness of the wasabi perfectly complements the mild flavors of rice and raw fish. Wasabi contains allyl isothiocyanate, a potent insecticide and bacteriocide which helps to combat potential food bugs (although if your sushi is fresh, you probably don’t have to worry too much about this). Wasabi also helps prevent food poisoning by neutralizing and killing any mold spores that are present. Experts recommend including a touch of wasabi in your daily bento box in order to keep your lunch free from any nasties.
▼ Load up on wasabi whenever you’re eating sushi to help minimize your risk of an upset stomach later! The accompanying shoga ginger also has anti-bacterial properties, and a bowl of miso soup at the end of the meal will help to keep your tummy happy.
Reason 2: Wasabi keeps you young
Sulfinyl, a compound released when fresh wasabi is grated, is a powerful anti-oxidant. Regular consumption of sulfinyl could help to reverse early ageing, as it lowers reactive oxygen in the body. As well as helping to fight cancer, this also contributes to a lessening of the general wear and tear of the body as a result of the natural ageing process.
▼ How about incorporating some wasabi toothpaste into your morning routine in order to stave off the ravages of age?
Reason 3: Wasabi could help to prevent certain cancers
As well as keeping you young, wasabi could also reduce your risk of cancer. The compound 6-MSITC has anti-inflammatory properties which also provide host defence against cancer cells.
▼ Pass the wasabi sauce!
Reason 4: Wasabi is great for your circulation
As well as fighting cancer, that 6-MSITC that we mentioned also works to inhibit platelet aggregation, the clumping together of platelets into blood clots. In other words, it prevents blood clots forming and effectively reduces your risk of heart attack and strokes. The beneficial circulatory effects are also praised for helping to maintain cardiovascular health overall, as well as keeping the skin clear.
▼ Skip the beauty supplements and reach for the wasabi pills! Or just, you know, eat some regular wasabi.
Reason 5: Wasabi fights colds and allergies
Swallowing a big ol’ lump of wasabi is one sure-fire way to clear out blocked sinuses from a cold, flu or allergies. The gaseous release of the allyl isothiocyanate that helps to fight bacteria also works its magic on cold and flu-causing pathogens which attack the respiratory tract. Next time you’re facing the sniffles, maybe try going out for sushi !
▼You could also chow down on a big pile of wasabi Kit-Kats, but they probably won’t help with your cold, no matter how much you sniff ‘em.
So, there you have it! The five top health benefits of eating delicious wasabi. Note: be careful if you’re taking any medicines that are metabolized by the liver, as too much wasabi can interact with such medicines in unpredictable ways. Around a teaspoon a day of wasabi should do the trick – or a few handfuls of wasabi-based snacks…
Earlier this week, we found out that bakeable Kit Kats exist. The delicious DIY novelty from Japan made us all want to throw our Kit Kats in the toaster oven whilst wiping the drool from our chins. Now, it looks like the Japanese restaurant Napoli no Kama is capitalizing on the idea with pizzas topped with those very same Kit Kats.
What made the bakeable snack, dubbed “Bake ‘N Tasty Mini Kit Kats Custard Pudding Flavor,” so awesome was that they would caramelize the chocolate into a crystal-like substance before the surface chocolate melted. Napoli no Kama is offering what they call a Kit Kat and Mango Dolce Pizza. The pie is made with Gorgonzola cheese sauce, honey maple sauce, mango slices, mixed nuts and topped with pudding-flavored bakeable Kit Kats.
The Mango Dolce Pizza, medium-sized, is available at 1,630 yen ($16 US) for a limited time only. Excuse us while we book our flights.
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Exam season in Japan is brutal. Not only do college hopefuls have to study in order to get into the university of their dreams, those hoping to go to high school also have to endure a rigorous examination process as compulsory education in Japan ends with junior high. As thousands of anxious students slave away at their desks until late at night, only to wake up, go to school, then study all over again, many companies in Japan have released special edition examination season versions of popular snacks in order to ease the torture of studying, if not for a brief moment. Let’s take a look at —- new packages, flavors, and designs of these exam season snacks.
Koala no Machi
The adorable little koalas in Lotte’s Koala no Machi chocolate snacks have some new friends in honor of entrance exam season…14 of them to be exact.
Each koala in the “Aim for Success” special edition packaging represents a different aspect of exam season. You may be confused as to why a sleeping koala holding on to a tree branch symbolizes studying for a test, but the makers of Koala no Machi claim, “A koala doesn’t fall from the tree even when it’s sleeping,” encouraging students to eat, sleep, and breathe their exam prep. Other symbols include a koala dressed as a daruma, a traditional Japanese good luck charm, a “new student” koala, and various koalas holding signs of encouragement. The back of the package also has a picture of an Omamori, or good luck charm, which is often bought at temples to help students prepare for and pass their exam.
▼ Here you can see the Omamori on the left and four images of the actual “Aim for Success” koalas.
Kameda Kaki no Tane
A favorite bar snack among many beer enthusiasts in Japan, Kameda Kaki no Tane have been given a coffee infusion and name change in honor of exam season. The kaki of Kaki no Tane has been changed to kachi, the Japanese word for victory and the usually plain peanuts have been given a crunchy coffee coating to better help students stay focused while studying.
▼ Mmmm, crunchy.
The package was also changed to be able to stand straight up on a student’s desk and doesn’t fall over easily, just like the daruma good luck charm.
There are some snacks that are simply destined to become good luck charms for students studying for a big test. Yukimi Daifuku, with the word fuku, the Japanese word for “good fortune,” tucked right at the end, is one of those snacks. Although not intended specifically for students, the bold yellow “fuku” on the package was originally meant as a way to bring good fortune to all people in Japan. However, with their entire futures on the line, students studying for the entrance exam have adopted this delicious ice cream snack as a small way to get an edge on the competition. Yukimi Daifuku is also only available during winter time around the New Year, the same time students start to seriously study for the entrance exam, making it a natural choice for hungry studiers across Japan.
Perhaps the original good luck food for entrance exam students in Japan, Kit Kats are eaten and given as gifts by the thousands this time of year. The snack is pronounced kitto katsu in Japanese, which also means “you will surely win,” making it a favorite of superstitious test takers. This year, Nestle Japan is selling a 14 pack of mini Kit Kat bars with various good luck saying printed on them such as “Cherry blossoms bloom in your future” and helpful facts such as “Columbus discovered America in 1492″ and “100°C=373K”.
Popular cracker, Happy Turn, sprinkled with secret “Happy Powder” has been turned into a good luck charm for test takers in a pink cherry blossom bag with phrases such as “You’re going to pass!” and “Happy examination episode.” Special heart-shaped crackers are also hidden in some packages, giving some lucky snackers an extra happy boost.
When it comes down to it, no matter how many good luck snacks a test taker consumes, no additional knowledge is going to be imprinted in their brain. But at least these sweet, savory and otherwise cute snacks will serve as a morale booster for students across Japan who have been studying nonstop for months in hopes for a passing grade.
Source: Naver Matome
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(photo taken in Nagoya, Japan)
(photo taken in Nagoya, Japan)