Monday, March 22, 2010

Caramel Caravan: Group 4

Hakodate Seaweed Powder Caramel
** / A Quirky Chew
The name alone will send some swimming in the other direction. However, this particular flavor intrigued me. The fresh concrete color was curious. The taste, however, was lacking. The seaweed flavor is only sprinkled in what can only be described as a "quirky" caramel remix. There's nothing distinctively drowning about this caramel, but then again nothing floats to the surface. Guilty sugar snackers should pickup a box as Hakodate's Seeweed as it may carry a healthy edge.


Red Bean Caramel
* / Little Red
Given my love for the sweetness of red bean paste made from azuki beans, I was anxious to dive into this caramel. Only, it turned into a kamizake mission. For a nation that stuffs red bean paste into everything with room, it's a shock that they weren't able to properly master the caramel. There was no azuki flavor! Instead, it was just the standard caramel flavor with what appeared to be a masking of sugar. Perhaps, this caramel fails because it's unable to provide the mushy texture that makes red beans so much fun to eat. 


Kinako Caramel
** / Just2much
Japan has more uses for the soybean than they have shinto shrines. Soy beans are used for 醤油 (shoyu / soy sauce)納豆 (natto)枝豆 (edamame)豆腐 (tofu), 味噌 (miso), and in this case, 黄粉 (Kinako). Though disregard Wikipedia saying how this brown powder compares to peanut butter. It's sweet, it's fun, but it's not peanut butter. Instead it tastes like dried out hazelnut sand. Sadly this flavor should remain just a thin layer of dust atop 餅 (mochi). It was overkill resulting in a mediocre aftertaste.


Salt Caramel
** / Ocean Caramel
This Salt Caramel provided the expected: the taste of the ocean. This sure beats slurping up the water in the dolphin tank at Sea World. Though perhaps the salt concentration is too high. The salt flavor became stronger with every chew, by the end of my chewing journey my tongue was crawling towards the nearest river for fresh water. 

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