Dangers abound, in the hallways at work. Couldn’t help manufacturing a little drama. Click for full size!
So, back in December I said something like, Can you believe I’ve never seen a peanut butter KitKat? Never mind that as far back as 2003 or 2004 I actually did have a Peanut Butter Chunky KitKat bar in Canada. I didn’t write about it at the time and wouldn’t even have remembered it if I hadn’t dug up an old point & shoot snapshot while nostalgia-diving.
Anyway, fast forward to last week, when some friends returning from Mexico brought me a little package of goodness:
Look familiar? It’s the same Nestle travel pack that the earlier Hazelnut Cream KitKats came in, except this is a variety pack containing milk chocolate, white chocolate, and… peanut butter! Like the others, these were made in Bulgaria, presumably for sale in airports around the world. So without further ado:
The Big Kat / Chunky / KitKat Bar form factor is really nice if you’re a chocolate lover. It’s thick enough that you get a really nice, toothy bite, it’s not likely to melt beyond recognition, and if the chocolate is tasty, there’s no better way to show it off. As we saw from the World Variety KitKats, Japan’s milk chocolate is just okay, and America… not so much. But in Europe, it’s definitely a winner: sweet, but not cloying; creamy; with maybe just a touch of marzipan on the tongue.
Better yet, the top layer of wafer has been replaced by a thick well of pure, creamy peanut butter, not noticeably sweet & with a nice hit of salt (this in distinct contrast to the hazelnut cream from above, which was much more candylike). The saltiness is a beautiful complement to the chocolate, like a super-luxe peanut butter cup, and with a silky smooth texture combined with the crunch from the wafers you have a really nice bonus interplay of textures. Plus, it’s a Chunky bar, so you get a lot more of it! Wins all around.
I only wish the box just had six peanut butters in it instead of two of each flavor! I’m going to have to find more — a lot more.
In related news, the supply of Japanese KitKats seems to be drying up on this side of the Pacific. I don’t know if Nestle is scaling back in general or if people have stopped importing them for some other reason, but none of my usual sources here and in Canada have seen a new flavor in months. If you’re lucky, you can find white, dark or matcha adult sweetness bars, but otherwise nothing. End of an era? Would be sad.
I was walking around, looking for a fro-yo place in Steveston, Richmond, British Columbia and I think I walked into a television set.
(The yogurt was delicious, by the way)
So I was on a cruise. I have some things to say about that but they’ve been coming slowly. Also sunburn! In general, though, it was really great.
Somehow this is the first time we’ve had a hard liquor-based KitKat flavor? I have to say, I fully approve of this trend. On the other hand, rum raisin as a concept is like the nightmare stuff of my candy childhood. I’m pretty sure those horrible lollipops were always at the bottom of the Halloween bag, right between the Good & Plentys and candy corn.
As an adult, though (read: well past college), I have managed to learn to appreciate rum as a beverage (it helps to be surrounded by lushes at work). And since Tokyo is synonymous with quality rum, …! Um. Anyway.
These KitKats are fresh from Narita Airport, thanks to Jet & family, and are the first regional flavor I’ve tried since finishing up the motherlode. There are twelve sets of foil-wrapped minis inside the attractive gift box, and the first thing you get on tearing open the wrapper is a super-strong wave of more-raisiny-than-rummy sweetness. The flavor is kind of that in reverse, tasting distinctly of dark rum with only a hint of raisin, but still very sweet. It’s fairly one-note, but the liquor prevents it from being boring.
I don’t know if I love it, but they’ll do for now. I certainly wouldn’t mind if this meant some bourbon or other whisky-based KitKats in my future. No ouzo, though — Good & Plentys have not gotten any more appealing with age.
New from England! I’ve had regular dark KitKats from Canada and semisweets from Japan, as well as a variety of dark chocolate-based novelty flavors, but this is probably the first time I’ve had a straight dark chocolate in this percentage range before. 70% is about where I like my chocolate for non-KitKat situations, so I was pretty excited to see these at our local British goods store.
(Incidentally, Dave Kim on Google+ tipped me off to the currently-running 2013 Kit Kat Chunky Champion promotion running in the U.K.. Kind of like the Lay’s flavor contest that produced this week’s sriracha potato chips, people can vote for their favorite among Mint, Coconut, Hazelnut and Chocolate Fudge. Mint! I’ve had no luck finding them here, though — Sadface.)
These are four full-size bars in a foil wrapper. After years of Japanese KitKats, I’d forgotten how big the regular bars are! The wrapping is an attractive mix of matte and dark print, and advertises that the chocolate contained within is fair trade certified. Lovely.
The bite is very firm, with a solid, but not waxy texture to the chocolate. Flavorwise, it’s a nice and strong with some bitterness (but not too much!), still generously sweet but not cloying. I really liked the rigidity of the bar, which helped reinforce that this was a strong dark chocolate. All in all, I liked these very much.
Three from Seattle Center. It’s been so long since I took photos — it’s a gladdening thing.
Listen, I know the bag on the right is the one getting all the attention, but DILL PICKLE LAYS PEOPLE
Hey! Warning! I’m assuming that, unlike me, you’ve all already seen Aliens. If not, don’t read any further, lest you be spoiled.
So. Aliens, right? Until tonight, I’d never watched it. (Call me a fake geek girl, I dare you.) I’m not sure how it is I never saw it before — I love Alien (it’s one of my all-time favorite movies), and I saw Alien 3 in the theaters when it was new. But that last might actually be the problem. The first few minutes of that movie basically told me that whatever had happened in Aliens, it didn’t matter because they took everything away quickly (and depressingly), without so much as a second thought. Also, space marines, which are not really my favorite thing ever.
Not seeing Aliens, though, that’s one of those things you need to keep a secret from people, and I accidentally let it slip. In public. I’m uncomfortable being mocked, so obviously that needed fixing. On the other hand, I don’t have any problem mocking things myself, especially ’80s movies that I don’t have any nostalgic affection for.
So! A break from Bond, so we can do:
The most terrifying thing in Aliens so far is the idea that these suit collars might actually become a real thing:
Somehow, like a facehugger, ’90s action cinema has implanted the seeds of all its supporting actors in a single movie.
Oh, Paul Reiser. How did you ever become a romantic lead with your magic mouth that drips only lies?
Speaking of which, how did he pull of this hairstyle for thirteen years straight? And was it around this time he fronted Styx?
Yay, kickass female marines. I mean, it was 1986! YAY, KICKASS FEMALE MARINES.
There’s nothing less comforting than an android who insists he’s programmed not to kill you. Right? Right.
I’m assuming this urge to hit Bill Paxton in the face will continue undiminished. Especially since I still felt that urge in 1997.
Aside: you know, James Cameron says that he wrote the scripts for this, Rambo, and Terminator all in a space of three months. And you know what? Every minute of that shows.
I love that a girl has the biggest goddamn gun in this movie.
Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier to tell them why they can’t shoot down there?
Bill Paxton. You are still annoying. But you have the best facial overacting in this movie.
Wait, how is it that this enormous ship doesn’t have any personnel on it when the marines are on away mission?
Yeah, Burke. That’s how you die.
This shot of the shuttle flying into the reactor complex is so cheesy. It’s Total Recall cheesy. Which — I mean, the rest of the movie managed to look pretty good, special effects-wise. Why blow it in the climax?
Oooh, there’s the money shot.
Attention Alien Queen: this is the ugliest childbirth video I’ve ever seen.
This ending is like revenge porn. (And here we bring up Rambo again.) SHOOT ALL THE THINGS WITH ALL THE THINGS.
That was a badass call, Ripley. Badass call.
I was wondering when the power lifter was going to show up. Filmmaking 101: If you show a power lifter, at some point that power lifter must lift something. Powerfully.
Oh, Bishop. You were creepy but you didn’t kill us. You’re worth at least ten Burkes in my mind.
Aaaaaand, THIS PART OF THE MOVIE STILL RUINED BY ALIEN 3. Damn it, Fox. You are banned, Alien 3. Go home.
Shogoin yatsuhashi are crispy cinnamon-flavored confections from Kyoto. I’ve never tried them, but I do love cinnamon! And that’s a flavor we haven’t seen in a KitKat yet, so I was excited. I’d had no clue what these were when I first pulled them out of the box, so I’d left them for the end. I’m glad I did, because they’re a really nice way to end the tour of the motherlode we started over a year ago.
The bars are coated in a pale yellow white chocolate covering, speckled with brown. An inviting cinnamon aroma wafts from the wrapper, and biting into them delivers on that promise in a big way. The flavor has a real punch, kind of like chewing on a handful of red hots: not super-spicy, but definitely more than the mild hints of cinnamon I was expecting. And those little flecks? Something like flakes of hard cinnamon candy, which deliver additional explosions of flavor in addition to a beautiful crunch that I’d never encountered before in a KitKat. The spice is balanced perfectly by a good but not overpowering sweetness.
Fifteen minutes later, my mouth is still tingly and comfortable. Mmmm. Would definitely eat again.
Well, that’s the end. I’ll write up what appears to be a Kyoto limited edition matcha flavor, left in the box, at some point in the future, but I’m expecting it to be more or less identical to the normal matcha flavor we know and love. I do have to give a shout out to my wonderful sister-in-law, Amy, who was the Secret Santa who had this motherlode sent to my door. Thanks, sweetie! I love you! Now I’ll have to get back to doing my own legwork.
Eden: We few, we clinically depressed few.
Vanlal: This day shall gentle our condition.
Pastilla: and shall think ourselves accursed that we were not here, or were here, on a case-by-case basis.
Amaou strawberries are super-premium strawberries grown in Fukuoka province, plump, round, and apparently delicious. The name means “Sweet-Large,” which I guess is really on the nose, but hopefully not ironic in the way “Red Delicious” seems to be. I’ve never been lucky enough to try these strawberries, but I have tried a ton of different strawberry KitKats, so I was really curious about these.
The bars are coated in a light pink, flavored white chocolate. The fragrance is very candy-strawberry — that is, a lot like most of the other strawberry KitKats I’ve had. Flavor-wise, they’re nice. I had been hoping for some acid, especially after reading some articles about Amaou strawberries, but these are not even remotely tart. Let’s not beat around the bush — they’re quite sweet. But they also have a round, very fruity flavor that lingers in a pleasant way for a good while after you eat them. They’re probably most comparable to the old rich strawberry KitKats from 2009, or 2012’s Takagi Strawberry Tarte.
Long story short, they’re good. And for some reason, I really want to have a glass of red wine now.
Speaking of regional luxury foods, they haven’t made a Kobe Beef KitKat yet. As far as I know! But I would totally eat that. Once.
I’m pretty sure I should not just have said “My tongue thinks things it feels are bigger than they are” out loud.
A. Trying to process this poster art literally is either madness, or the basis of an infinitely better movie than this one.
B. Omg, ladies. That cannot be comfortable.
It only takes one minute for Sean Connery to basically destroy all of the authenticity of character built up by the end of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Sorry, Mrs. Bond.
Oh Jesus, it’s these two. The bad hair twins. Can I stop the movie now?
Hmm, Tiffany Case has Peter Franks’s thumbprint to compare against, but not a photo of his face? Really? OVERTHINKING IT.
“That’s quite a nice little nothing you’re almost wearing.” Yes, it is.
But seriously, Jill St. John wears some crazy-ass outfits in this movie, and she makes them work. Damn her.
Plenty. Plenty O’Toole. This may be the worst Bond name ever. Also I can’t believe this is Natalie Wood’s sister.
Sean Connery, you are so old. So, so old.
Oooh, but the typography nerd in me LOVES the ’70s signage inside McCarran Airport.
That’s a radiation shield. Right.
These astronauts trying to take Bond down understand they’re not actually in a low-gravity environment, right? Why are they moving so slowly?
I’m pretty sure all of my childhood conceptions of Las Vegas were created by this movie, plus those casino ladies from Koyaanisqatsi.
Of all the stupid plans to kill Bond, this “let’s bury him in a pipeline” is the worst ever. Him coming out of the hatch in a tuxedo is a nice gag, though.
Yay, Bambi and Thumper. I hate this movie because whenever I hear the names Bambi and Thumper I think of these two in the woods with a skunk.
OMG WHY ARE THEY MOVING THAT WAY IT’S WEEEEEIRD
Wait, maybe they’re the ones who were in the space suits from before.
Okay, I’m really not sure Jill is carrying off this blue and beige thing.
Parachuting down in a giant shiny inflatable ball would only work if they’re not going to shoot you, and that would be ridiculous. Oh, they’re not going to shoot you? At all? Joke’s on me, I guess.
This ending is so bad. If Blofeld had shot him we wouldn’t have this stupid ending. I hate Blofeld.
I am totally putting on the Rocky Horror Picture Show after this. It’ll be a Charles Gray double feature. (Oooh-oooh)