Review #58: Tohato Caramel Corn – Green Tea 「キャラメルコーン:抹茶昧」

27Aug10

There’s a (not really) funny story behind this snack. I was at Ichiban’kan with my friend the day before my Disney Classics Movie Marathon Day with another friend. I spotted this on the shelf, and I thought “Perfect.” So I grabbed it off the shelf, and the next thing I know, this little old lady next to me asks “What’s that?” It takes me a couple seconds for my brain to react, and I promptly try my best to explain. (Which was somewhat difficult as she spoke to me in my “native” language that I’m not so fluent in…I’ve been American(and Japanese)-ized!) Then one after another, she kept asking questions about the stuff that was on the shelf, such as “what is this?” and “does it taste good?”.

I was stuck in a bit of mud goo, while my friend stood nearby (and probably was giggling quietly). Finally, she stopped talking so I used the chance to get away with my friend further down the aisle. Talk about awkward! Well, it’s not that I’m saying helping her was a pain, but it wasn’t the most joyful experience. I won’t lie and say that it made my day, to help an old lady, because I’m not a saint. Anyways, that’s the story.

Packaging:
So, as I said, I mainly was drawn to this for several reasons, not because of the packaging itself. One reason was, as I mentioned above, it was a perfect snack for the Movie Marathon, as my friend had just gotten back from Canada and had absolutely no snacks in her house. Another reason is that I’ve come across this snack (in various other flavors) before. I’ve always wanted to give it a try, because once my friend said it was pretty good, but I never found the chance (or perhaps I was just being too stingy). Therefore, when I saw it on the “sale” section of Ichiban’kan, I willingly grabbed it immediately. I believe I had another reason, that I can not remember for the life of me at the moment.

Still, I’m not saying the packaging is bad. It’s pretty cute. With the face, like Peko-chan. And the leaf that, to me, looks like it’s a hair accessory, though the brown “hair” at the top of the bag makes me believe the mascot (or whatever) is a guy. But at other times, the yellow nose makes me think the mascot is a bird. In the end, I still can’t figure it out. The spoon dripping chocolate is also cool, though the meaning, I’m not really sure as there is not chocolate in the snack (not that I know of at least, because it’s not listed in the ingredients for one thing and for the other, it can’t be tasted). I also really love the font of “caramel corn” it’s so awesome, I love fonts like that. The packaging also shows what the insides are, though I’m not sure some people would be fond of seeing it as, I admit, it looks a little strange.

Rating:A+

Cost:
As I mentioned, this was on sale at Ichiban’kan for $.99 actually. How could I pass up that offer, when I knew I wouldn’t be back for a while? You can buy this particular at eCrater for $3.99 or (overpriced) at Tsunami.hk for $5.99 (if you trust this site more).  Of course, you could try the other flavors – Original ($2.79) and/or Roasted Almond ($3.75).

Taste:
The first taste, I thought it was really sweet and kind of weird. But after a couple more, I got used to it. The piece is brimming with sugar, well not really, because I could be mistaking sugar for corn crumbs, or something. The taste is sweet from the sugar, but not as intense as the green tea flavor molds together with it. I believe this snack uses kuromitsu (“black honey”), although it’s not listed in the ingredients, it’s still written on the package. (An explanation for the “chocolate” dripping spoon). The taste is of a sweet honey (or molasses, which is what kuromitsu is made of), more than sugar actually. Yes, I changed my mind. Because, I saw “honey” listed in the ingredients, and now I can taste it. Well, before, I could taste it, but I just couldn’t distinguish it. The taste is really good, despite it being weird at first. The only bad point about this is that it’s really high in sugar. (See below) Each serving has about 10g of sugar, so that’s not very good.

The texture of these are a bit unexpected. I think I thought it would be crunchy, or like caramel corn (like the real ones). But actually, it’s soft, in the “melt-in-your-mouth” feeling, although it doesn’t really melt, of course. If I were to put it in words, I think the texture is similar to that of a cheese puff. So these would be like a green tea flavored cheese puff. I think it’s kind of weird to picture that (especially combining cheese and green tea), but that’s what it is.

I kept this snack rolled up tight and tied with a rubber band, and left it sitting in my bag for about a week, and I thought it tasted about the same (aside from Snack Love’s experience). So, either I was good at keeping the air from coming in, or perhaps it’s because of a different temperature.

Nutritional Facts:
Net Wt: 2.65oz (75g)
Serving Size: 0.7oz (20g)
Servings: about 4
Calories: 62
Total Fat: 4.8g
Sat. Fat: 2.1g
Trans Fat: 0.5g
Cholest.: 0mg
Sodium: 23mg
Total Carb.: 9.4g
Sugars: 9.4g
Protein: 0.4g

Rating: A

Overall:
The packaging is cute, and cool in various ways. The font is cool and the mascot is cute, those are the main points, I believe. The taste, though weird at first, turned out great. The flavor is awesome, and the texture is pretty good as well. The only problem is that it’s too sweet, and has too much sugar.

Overall Rating: A

I think this is some contest to win a camera, but I can't read Japanese very well, and also, I probably couldn't enter anyways.

Verdict:
I will finish off the rest of these slowly (as the sugar load is high). I would consider buying this snack again, maybe in a different flavor. But I probably won’t, unless there is one with less sugar. I do, however, recommend this snack (particularly this flavor), especially to green tea lovers.

Rating Scale:
(A+ = Perfect, or close to it.)
(A = Awesome.)
B = Good.
C = Average.
D = Bad.
F = Inedible.

Read Snack Love’s thoughts on this Matcha Caramel Corn here. Check out the Tohato website, where they show their many various flavors (that I could not find), like ラムネ for instance.

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