Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Chocolate That Should Not Be

I know, I know. "Another blog post about food in Japan? Just give up already." Again, I beg your indulgence. I saw something recently that threw me for a loop, and if I don't say something it's going to drive me batty. Plus, my day is almost entirely made up of eating, sleeping, studying, and listening to podcasts, and the latter three don't make for good blog posts.

Deb Aoki, one of the many people I follow on Twitter, recently posted a shot of one of her finds from 7-11 here in Japan -- Crisp Moist Chocolate. Yes, I thought much the same that you're thinking now -- "how can something be crisp and moist at the same time?" Seems like it should be a contradiction in terms. I didn't give it much more thought, though, as my neighborhood 7-11 (a mere 200 meters from my apartment) doesn't seem to stock it.

Flash forward 24 hours and I'm standing in the 7-11 by Tobitakyu Station, grabbing a bit of dinner after watching FC Tokyo lose their J-League home opener to the Fighting Squirrels of Omiya Ardija. The unusually long line gave me time to survey my surroundings and catch sight of the following:

Click to fully crisp-and-moistenate. Photo by me.
The potential weirdness of the physics involved was enough to convince me to buy a bag and, with all apologies for ripping off the Lady to Lady podcast, indulge in a Tasty Tasty Taste Test.

You know what? It delivered. The little disc-shaped biscuits were crisp without being flaky, moist without even approaching sogginess, and most definitely chocolate. The whole time I was eating them, there was a nagging sensation that the taste and texture were familiar, but I couldn't quite place it. That was, however, until I read the final comment on Aoki's tweet -- which mentioned they taste like chocolate cereal -- and the light bulb finally lit.

They're Cocoa Puffs! They're airy, hockey puck-shaped Cocoa Puffs, only they crumble in your mouth like filo pastry instead of tearing it up like so many other breakfast cereals. I can only blame my having been off the breakfast cereal train for years -- thanks in large part to a wonky refrigerator in Jakarta -- for my slowness in recognizing the similarity.

It really is astounding what wonders Japan's convenience stores can weave. If the government was as nimble and creative as this country's konbini, who knows how much better things might be?

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