Arriving at work yesterday, I was greeted by this cheery, colorful pile. It's a Japanese snack sampler from N., just back from a months-long gig in that country! I'm familiar with Pocky, but the rest of the items were new to me. Good thing I got in just as she was putting everything out on the table. You wouldn't have enjoyed a picture of what it looked like after we started ripping into and eating everything. My pick from the pile?
I chose to consume this beverage-themed gummy straw for two reasons. The first is that I love Haribo gummy colas (currently my favorite gummy of all time). The second is that I couldn't resist the drama occurring on the back of the package (see photo below). The two colors of cola/beverage (is the blue drink a cola? Dish soap?) are fighting over the straw! Clearly, this is why the product is colored both blue and brown.
The odor of blue and brown in a battle turned out to be overwhelmingly sweet and strange. I opened the package to discover that the scent came from this gummy wad:
Inside the pouch, a long gummy string lies coiled, appealing to me in the same sort of way that the gum that came in long rolls once was (Oh, I just remembered the name: Bubble Tape! Remember Bubble Tape?). I say I imagine this is meant to represent a straw, though it is much thinner than a straw would be. It is blue on two ends and brown in the middle. I expected it to be blue on one end and brown on the other, as if the two soda straws had merged. Curious.
Now, to my mind, Brown, though under-represented on this candy, is winning the fight. The blue ends were sweet, feisty, fruity, peppery and soapy. It stung my tongue a bit and lingered on the palate longer than necessary. The brown portion in the middle tasted like a gummily artificial version of soda pop, still sweet but smoother and less alarming.
If you look closer at that illustration again, you'll notice that the brown guy (and I don't use "guy" here to label this soda as male) looks angry and the blue guy looks scared. Now this makes sense to me. Blue is clearly a usurper. Long live Brown!!
Or does it take the blues in our lives to fully appreciate the browns?
The second Okashi offering I tried was Pucca. Again, this was because of the curious illustration on the back of the package.
Snarky! I like it. This reminded me of a certain (Quaker Oat?) cereal that was like a crunchy pillow hollowed out on the inside which you could bite into halves, but Pucca is fish-shaped and filled with fudgey chocolate. Nice crunch. Well done, fishies.
Finally, I sampled the purple disks in this tube.
Why? Because I cannot resist robot hippos. Looks like they eat grapes and then, I can only imagine, emit purple disks from some robotic orifice.
Yow! Grapey! A little chalky, but the strong fruity flavor made these novel. I don't think I'd eat a whole tube, but one was just fine.
I did not taste everything that was displayed on the tabletop. I restrained myself (though when I ran across some leftover Pocky and Pretz later in the day I may have had a nibble of 2 or 3 flavors). Ahem. When snacking with a group (especially in the workplace), it is important to not come off like a snack hog. But I did snap some quick pictures of a couple of other intriguing packages before they were trashed.
What is this? A flirty flan? A teasing cupcake? Am I receiving some sort of knowing wink from a small dulce de leche cheesecake?
A toucan, right? I liked this illustration. An exotic bird + treasure chests + chocolate candies with something inside = pretty good vacation idea. Intriguing.
All in all? I tip my hat to you, Japan. Don't stop the innovations and feel free to keep it up with the package design. But you might ease up on the blue cola products. Just saying.
p.s. Dave said CHOCO A~NPAN (the box can be seen in the first photo at the top of this post) were soft little treats that looked like hamburgers but were filled with chocolate. He raved about them. Anyone in NYC know where he can buy some more?