** / One Tough Chew
This caramel is from Japan's confectionary juggernaut Glico, the company most known for its pocky. While not that excited to sample a national product, especially with the January, 2011 expiration. With most caramel expirations hovering between 2 and 6 months away, I'm guessing that Gilco's Strawberry caramel is heavy on the chemicals. Oh well. I had to salivate on this sucka for 2 minutes straight before it let me to make a dent. It felt as though the strawberry flavor was playing hide-and-seek. But then I noticed the scattering of strawberry pimples in each piece, which explained the phemonenon. The caramel though had a much different flavor from its Japanese siblings, and reminded me of an American candy, which at this moment I can't recall. Overall, it scores 2 stars merely for the wonder of its strawberry pockets, though I was honesty scared this rock hard caramel was going to take a few of my teeth as a souvenir.
Condensed Milk Caramel
** / "Been there chewed that"
Milk Caramel is a common sight. Especially at Kappa Zushi, a popular conveyer belt sushi restaurant, where even they sell their own Kappa adorned milk caramel. But the thought of a sweeter "condensed milk" was tempting. Although smooth and rich, there was nothing remarkable here. While the taste is on the 3 star level, I knock it down to 2 based on the lack of individuality.
Hakodate Wine Caramel
*** / Cheers!
Being certified white trash, I'm unable to call myself a connoisseur of the finer things in life, especially wine. Though this Hakodate Vin Rouge (red wine) caramel gave me the royal treatment. While just .05% alcohol, wonderful red wine flavors splashed across my tongue with every chew. This 3 star caramel is also quite addicting but I now I find myself asking, "Where's the cheese?" This is one wine you won't want to spit out! But for those who aren't up for a wine tasting, I suggest trying a less cultured flavor.
Nanae Sweet Apple Wine Caramel
** / Cider in Disguise
After sampling the delicious Hakodate Vin Rouge, I decided to try the Nanae Sweet Apple Wine Caramel. You really have to give the island of Hokkaido props for producing such a wide variety of home-grown local specialties. But I'm sorry to say that this particular caramel is a little confusing. While containing .05% alcohol just like it's Hakodate sibling, the wine flavor was absent. Though, it's replacement, the taste of apple cider was warmly welcomed. Though oddly, the wine flavor surfaced as an after taste. Overall, a promising caramel that needs to re-work the balance of flavors.