May 9th: Meiji Chopan Assort Strawberry

Kcal 213 Fat 13.6g Carbs 20.4g (per 37.0g)

In my penultimate review from my latest batch of goodies supplied to me by J-List, I will today be taking a look at yet another offering from Meiji's extensive portfolio. To be honest when I first saw this product nestled in alongside the other familiar looking Kit Kats and Pocky packets, I had no idea at all what it was, as I had never seen nor heard of the Chopan Assort brand before. After a little investigating on the J-List website, Google and the on-pack pictures I managed to determine that this was a product formed of a 'strawberry flavoured chocolate cup, filled with milk/white chocolate, topped with small pastry piece'. It did sound a little out of the ordinary, but I guess this is a product from Japan so it would have been silly to expect anything else.

The Chopan Assort Strawberry packet consisted of four individual chocolates that weighed in at a collective 37.0g. As you may have been able to tell from the photo above, and from my previous description, the pack was split in to milk and white chocolate varieties, each of which was portioned twice. Keeping standard with Japanese confectionery norms, the packaging was very classy and probably even more so than normal with swish looking fonts and clean looking visuals communicating the strawberry flavouring clearly and in a non overly elaborate manner. The presentation was a real strength of this product, and the chocolates themselves did more than justice to the prestigious look of the outer packet and looked nicely crafted. Contained within a very cool looking foil tray, the strawberry fruit scents that emerged smelt genuine and made for a very appetising prospect at hand.

Before I ate these I didn't quite know what sort of occasion they were best suited to be eaten - they weren't a product that seemed suitable to eat all at once, but neither did they strike me as product to be savoured and eaten one-by-one. In the end I settled on eating them two at a time alongside my usual mid-afternoon and after dinner coffees. Starting with the outer chocolate cup layer, much like the aromas suggested the fruit flavours tasted genuine, and the red berry flavours avoided a common strawberry confectionery pitfall of tasting fake and artificial. The creamy strawberry flavours nicely led in to one of the two different chocolate centres - with the white chocolate reaffirming the sweet cream flavours, whilst the milk chocolate delivering an extra dose of cocoa notes to the taste. Texture wise the melt of both chocolate layers was very nice and felt soft and smooth feel in the mouth when in full flow. The real excitement though came from the small pastry bits placed on the top of each chocolate, as not only did they bring an extra crisp, crunchy element, but they also brought a delightful brown sugar noted wheat biscuit influence to the taste, which proved to be a lovely way to round off each bite.

Overall I have to say that I really have struck lucky with my latest sampling package from Japan, as these Meiji Chopan Assort Strawberry were yet another very enjoyable product for me to review. It is quite incredible how the simple addition of such a a basic thing like a small piece of crusty pastry can make a product really stand out, but it genuinely was what separated these from being 'just another chocolate'. Speaking of the quality of the strawberry element, it has to be said it was really very implemented, and the juicy berry flavours came through well in the taste, and in a non-artificial manner. Out of the two different chocolate varieties on offer, I can't say I liked one more than the other as they were both effective at what they did. The white chocolate pieces were extra creamy, whilst the milk chocolate ones delivered more of a chocolate flavour hit - I guess it will be down to personal preference as to which you will prefer. On the whole, my everlasting impression of these Chopan Assort Strawberry is very positive, and I would recommend them to anyone who likes strawberry flavoured chocolates.

8.3 out of 10