April 30th: Meiji Meltykiss Creamy Milk Chocolate / Caramelized Almond
Some of my favourite reviews this year have been Gianduja based products, with Hotel Chocolat's leading the way in terms of quality (See HERE). Up until this year I was frankly pretty oblivious that this sort of product even existed, though it seems even over in Japan that this kind of melt in the mouth confection has some sort of existence.
Meiji's Meltykiss brand has long been in existence, and in true Japanese style there have already been several different flavour variants available on the Japanese market down the years. Thanks to my friends over at J-List, I today got the chance to try two of the Meltykiss varieties - namely the 'Creamy Milk Chocolate' and 'Caramelized Almond' flavours.
If my research is correct then the Meltykiss brand is positioned at the more premium end of Japanese mass confections - the packaging would certainly go as far to suggest this. Both variants came in 100.0g boxes which contained several small cubed pieces that were held in thick foil wrappers. The outer packaging was sublime with the gold colour fonts and intricate sealing mechanisms (god that sounds geeky!!) really communicating that these were a more sophisticated option than your standard Japanese offering. Below are my brief thoughts on each variant ...
Meiji Meltykiss Creamy Milk Chocolate
Kcal 377 Fat 28.6g Carbs 25.8g (per 60.0g)
I guess it can be argued that if a product is to be classified a Gianduja then it has to contain some form of nut - hence you could say these don't fit that requirement. Although these Meltykiss Creamy Milk Chocolate contained no nut content whatsoever and were rather just cubes of soft milk chocolate, it was hardly liked they lacked flavour. Placing the first cube in my mouth a dry sensation was immediately brought to my tongue as the outer lining of cocoa powder brought about the first texture interaction. Within seconds this dryness turned to a wonderful cooling sensation, as the gloriously soft melt kicked in, and the cube melted like butter and with infinite ease. As the cube did this an explosion of double cream like flavours were released and created a delicious sweet chocolatey flavour hit. Each piece only lasted a matter of seconds on the tongue, but every last moment was immensely enjoyable.
8.4 out of 10
Meiji Meltykiss Caramelized Almond:
Kcal 377 Fat 28.7g Carbs 24.7g (per 60.0g)
Out of the two these sounded like the more exciting flavour but they were going to have to really go some to trump the Creamy Milk Chocolate variant above. Cutting the long story short like I usually like to do, I will say right now that they were simply equally as good - not better, not worse, just a little different flavour wise. One area that both variants didn't differ was in the texture delivery - these Caramelized Almond pieces felt just as amazing in the mouth and their melt was every bit as luxurious. Where they did offer something different was in the taste, as the creamy flavours of the aforementioned variety were unsurprisingly replaced by a more buttery tasting nut influence. The more savoury slant on the taste was abided somewhat by the minor note of the toffee, though it was the almond nut element that definitely came through the strongest, and it similarly just as delicious.
8.4 out of 10
Overall I have once again metaphorically 'bottled it' when it has come to picking a favourite out of the two flavours, but I genuinely couldn't separate one from the other. To get one thing straight these MeltyKiss didn't quite deliver the same rich experience that the Hotel Chocolat Gianduja do, but as products in their own right they were still incredibly moreish, and were genuinely a joy to both eat and review. If I was to live in Japan I could see Meiji's Meltykiss being one of those brands that I would really love. Not only is the taste and texture interplay superb, but actual the concept of the product is brilliant, and it is delivered in a well packaged and sophisticated manner. If you are going to be buying confectionery in from Japan soon you shouldn't be leaving Meiji Meltykiss off your shopping list.