January 5th: 'Bits n Bobs' Lotte (Japan)

The 'Bits n Bobs' reviews last year were all largely met with big seals of approval from ChocolateMission readers, so in 2011 you will like see posts containing shorter reviews, but with more products. Kicking off this trend I today bring you a few things I had remaining from a sampling package from J-List last year. These three products below are all manufactured by Lotte - the same people who make those fantastic Pocky look-a-likes 'Toppo'.

Lotte Charlotte Rich Milk / Lotte Charlotte Strawberry

Rich Milk - Kcal 36 Fat 2.5g Carbs 3.1g (per stick)
Strawberry - Kcal 39 Fat 2.2g Carbs 4.2g (per stick)

According to the J-List website these Lotte Charlotte have quite the historical background in regards to their name:'The name Lotte is a central fictional character in famous novel written by German author Johann Wolfgang Goethe first published in 1774 entitled "The Sorrows of Young Werther." Lotte is actually derived from the name Charlotte, a 19 year old woman whom he met in real life and fell in love with. Hence the name Lotte of Japan was born'

... interesting stuff huh!? Both variants came in nifty looking flat carboard pocket pouches that contained six long finger chocolate pieces within. The exterior packaging and inner golden sleeves did give both variants a premium elegance, though it was the strawberry flavour that looked the more interesting as they had visible liquid centres.

When it came to the taste both flavours provided adequete, if unexciting flavour experiences. Across both variants the milk chocolate tasted remarkably similar to Milka, just without the end note of hazelnut. The taste was sweet, friendly and predominently rooted in it's milk flavours rather than it's cocoa prestige. The strawberry centred variant offered a syrupy textured substance running through it's centre, however like it's smell suggested it was a little artifical tasting and more recogniseable for it's sugaryness than it's real red berry fruit flavours.

Overall these were nicely packaged, elegant looking chocolates, but they did little for me when it came to the taste department. Those people that enjoy just little chocolate snacks may like them for their convenience and small size, however I found them mostly unsatisfying. Neither were unpleasant in any manner but I wouldn't advise purchasing them.

Rich Milk - 7.0 out of 10
Strawberry - 6.9 out of 10

Lotte Crunky Ball Nude

Kcal 314 Fat 15.3g Carbs 38.9g (per pack)

You may be thinking this are another funnily named product from Lotte. The terminology 'Nude' is not one that is supposed to be cheeky, it is actually just a word that doesn't translate well from Japanese to English. The 'Nude' part of the name is actually supposed to signify the fact these chocolates are 'Inside-Out'. You may know that the normal Lotte Crunky bars are formed of chocolate with crisped rice inside. Well as you may well have gathered, these Lotte Crunky Ball Nude flipped this combination, with the rice also appearing in the outer chocolate aswell as constituting the inner centres.

These Crunky Ball Nude came in a 61.0g carboard pack that contained a foil packet containing around 20 to 30 ball shaped pieces. Aroma wise the balls smelly mostly of savoury biscuit, though there were small suggestions of cocoa present at times. When it came to the taste my immediate reaction was to grab a glass of milk to wash them down with. The balls were nicely crunchy, however they had a cereal like dryness to them that meant they would be far more enjoyable slightly moistened before being placed in the mouth. Due to the dominance of the rice, the chocolate flavour hit was subsequently mild at best with only faint registration at the beginning of each mouthful before the more savoury rice tast kicked in.

Overall I will have to be similar in my recommendation to purchase with these Lotte Crunky Balls Nude than I was with the Lotte Charlotte. These Crunky Balls were again pleasant enough tasting, but their heavy rice portioning meant that they were altogether just a bit generic and with the light malty taste a little unengaging. I wouldn't be passing up on them if offered, but at the same time I can't recommend you go out your way to buy them.

6.8 out of 10