Tag Archives: candy

The weird and wonderful world of Japanese Kit Kat Bars

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Green Tea Kit Kat by Smallbrainfield

JapanKit Kat, the chocolate-coated wafer candy from Nestle, is experience a bit of a publicity resurgence in the US, due to a popular series of quirky ads featuring Chance the Rapper. However, nowhere is Kit Kat more popular than in Japan, where the humble Kit Kat bar is only a jumping-off point for fanciful flavors and gourmet Kit Kat creations. Kit Kat was introduced to Japan in 1973, and has since become ubiquitous convenience store treat, as well as a popular gift for students and a present for friends and family when traveling. In Japan, the different flavor varieties of Kit Kat are seemingly endless – there are nearly 300 – including anything from strawberry cheesecake to plum to wasabi. Now there’e even a Sake-flavored KitKat. When we visited a candy store in Chicago’s Chinatown, we were able to sample the sweet potato and green tea Kit Kats. The sweet potato flavor basically tasted like white chocolate, but the green tea flavor was really excellent! If you are hankering for some unique Japanese-flavored Kit Kats, check out Amazon – you can get a variety pack, or pick up bags of esoteric flavors like Pumpkin Pudding. And just when you think it couldn’t get any weirder – enter Kit Kat sushi!

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Kit Kat display in Tokyo by jpellgen

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The Magical World of Turkish Osmanlı Macunu

turkeyWe absolutely love the culture of street food in Turkey, and we were completely intrigued by Zester’s videos of the Turkish candy, Osmanlı Macunu, being made on the street. Macun (which means “paste” in Turkish) is basically a colorful sugar lollipop that comes in a variety of flavors, made to order. Each lollipop is composed of several flavors, twirled on a stick in succession and then cured by lemon. You just have to watch!

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Czech and Slovak candy for St. Nicholas Day / Deň Sv. Mikuláša

czechSlovakiaThe holiday season is upon us – and that means food – and especially sweets – are out in full force! One of the biggest sweet-filled holidays in Central Europe is right around the corner: St. Nicholas Day. On the Eve of St. Nicholas Day (called Deň Sv. Mikuláša in Slovak), children leave out their boots in the hopes that they will get a special treat from St. Nicholas, perhaps some fruit, or if they are lucky, candy! This tradition is similar to other countries, such as the celebration of Sinterklaas in the NetherlandsIf you’re looking to learn about Czech candies, Prague Artel blog has a comprehensive guide about some of the most famous varieties (we think Kofila looks especially delicious). You can get your fix of Czech / Slovak candies at Slovczechvar.com and Equ.inox has reviews of both Czech and Slovak chocolates. For something a little more substantial, check out these St. Nicholas moon cookies.

Candy-filled shoes for St. Nicholas Day - by Major Bonnet

Candy-filled shoes for St. Nicholas Day – by Major Bonnet

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Paçoca de Amendoim – Brazilian peanut candy

Brazilians love little candies and treats, and at some places, like Perini supermarket, you can buy the individual bite-sized treats and create your own box of goodies. One of these popular treats is Paçoca de Amendoim – kind of a riff on Peanut Fudge – with the added texture of Manioc flour. The name comes from the Tupi word Posok which means “to crumble.” Making Paçoca is super simple, and we found versions at Pink Bites (using cookies instead of manioc) and Flavors of BrazilAs Flavors of Brazil points out – there is a dish also called paçoca that is completely different – think beef and onions. We actually ran into this situation at the São Cristóvão market in Rio – which has food from the Northeast – both kinds of paçoca were for sale. Be careful you order the one you’re intending!

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Israel: Mekupelet

Thank goodness for the internet. I recently was the recipient of an assortment of snack-sized Israeli chocolate bars, and none of them, and I mean none had any sort of roman letters. Since I don’t read any Hebrew, and I was curious as to what type of log-like confection I was eating, I turned to Google. All I typed into Google was “Israeli candy” “chocolate” and “log” – but somehow I still got directed to the right place! The candy I had was Mekupelet, a famous Israeli candy similar to the Cadbury Flake bar – milk chocolate specifically extruded in a flaky form to look like a log. Markos Kirsch attempted to compare the two, but they were pretty much running neck and neck, with no clear winner.

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FTC: Aero Bars

England International candy is  so wonderfully random and varied, you can’t help but love it. At the top of my list of fun international candies from my youth has to be Aero, made by Nestle. Aero is a UK creation, and was first made by the Rowntree Mackintosh company in 1935 (Nestle bought Rowntree Mackintosh in 1988). Above all else, Aero is a novelty bar, and not some extraordinarily fine bittersweet chocolate.

The novelty, in this case, is that Aero bars have a bubbly, aerated chocolate filling, which creates a pretty unique texture. Tellingly, the tagline of Aero is “have you felt the bubbles melt?”If you cut the bars open you can really see the bubbly interior – check it out below. Though we searched the web for how the bubbles in Aero form, it seems to be a closely guarded and much-speculated secret. Aero bars also come in dark chocolate and mint varieties – check out the awesome green color below! Aero is available at Cost Plus infrequently, and any respectable British Market.

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FTC: Caramels from Dulcelandia in Chicago

colombia.pngMexico FlagDulcelandia is a a chain of Mexican candy stores found across Chicagoland. Today I got my hands on assortment of caramels bought from Dulcelandia (though I have never been), and I am excited to say they were pretty tasty. I can’t wait to go to Dulcelandia myself to get some more sweets. Don’t tell my dentist!Cachitos

  • Ricos Besos: Did I lose a filling? Pure, chewy little chunks of milk caramel from Mexico. The chewiest imaginable.
  • Cachitos: These candies from Mexico were my favorite of the three. Cachitos are swirled chocolate and caramel pinwheels. Bite-sized and perfectly melt-in-your-mouth tasty.
  • Bianchi: Bianchi are little milk caramels with a gooey chocolate center from Colombia. They almost reminded me of a chocolate Werthers.
  • Arequipe: Arequipe is the Colombian word for a dulce de leche. These are from the same company as Bianchi, and have the same outer hard caramel shell with a gooey ducle de leche center.

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