March 12th: Lotte Crunky Crunch Chocolate Strawberry Tart

Kcal 271 Fat 16.9g Carbs 26.8g (per 48.0g)

I simply can't get enough of my Japanese chocolates at the moment, and I just love trying all the odd flavour combinations that manufacturers out there are willing to try on their consumers. The latest product sent my way by the fellas at J-List was this Lotte Crunky Crunch Chocolate Strawberry Tart (try saying that fast!), and it came described on the J-List website as 'strawberry flavoured white chocolate with crunchy malt puffs'. Looking across the web it seems that up until Nestle brought the Kit Kat to the Japanese market it was Lotte's Crunky brand of chocolates that were the 'in-thing' in the Far East, along with the timeless Pocky range of course. Today I had my own first flirtation with Crunky Crunch Chocolate, and this is what went down.

This Crunky variant came in a 48.0g size that was split into a 4x10 long thin bar. Like most Japanese products an outer cardboard sleeve protected the inner foil wrapped chocolate and I liked the style presentation with clear, colourful branding and on-pack pictures. Inside the chocolate was filled to the brim full of crispy cereal pieces and held a nice clean cut look with it's bright pink colour and enscribed Lotte branding. Like most fruit flavoured offerings from Japan this was not a chocolate that needed to be anywhere near the nose for the full effects of the aromas to be experienced. The strawberry scents were strong but a little on the artificial side to describe as truley alluring.

If you have similar previous experiences in mind like the Kit Kat Sparkling Strawberry I reviewed a few days ago I bet you are expecting me to say this was 'too sweet for my taste' right!? ... Well you're wrong, and believe me I was as surprised as anyone! Placing the first block my tongue I was expecting a strong explosion of sugary flavour influences but in contrast I was met with a laid back milky taste that a slightly cheesecake edge to it. Within seconds of being in the mouth the inevitable fruit flavours followed but the strawberry element in the taste was not the fake tasting kind I was expecting and it was far more juicy and pure in it's sweetness. As good as the chocolate was the main reason I thought this offering worked so well was because of the crunchy malt pieces which levelled out the sweetness of the chocolate bringing a more savoury, biscuit like influence to the party. This all combined made for a taste that was delicious as it was moreish, and I ended up eating far more of this bar in a single sitting than I thought I would want to before tasting it.

Overall I wouldn't say this is one of my favourite chocolates or products I have tried from Japan ever, but it was probably one of the ones that has surprised me the most. There was a very obvious pitfall that I expected this chocolate to fall in to and I really was expecting it to be horribly sugary in taste which you will all know is not something that I tend to enjoy. Reality though was quite contrary, with both the white chocolate and strawberry tasting far more subtle than expected and this really helped the resulting final taste. The cheesey edge to the chocolate (nicer than it sounds trust me!) and tart strawberry flavours were very well implemented and far exceeded everything I took for granted before actually tasting it. This was never going to be a combination that I personally was going to fall in love with, but it was certainly good for what it was and I would strongly suggest it to strawberry chocolate fans.

7.8 out of 10