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11 December 2016 @ 12:29 pm
Darker than Black, Week 31: Lotte トッポほろ苦ビター  
A while ago, we signed up for a service called Shoshbox that delivers a monthly shipment of Japanese candy. It's since merged with Tokyo Otaku Mode, and we've upgraded to a larger box size, but it's nice every month to get a shipment of candy even if a lot of it isn't to my taste. The gum goes to softlykarou, as do some of the more cracker-like snacks, and sometimes we get something amazing like the 菓実グミパイナップル (kajitsu gumi painappuru, "Real fruit gummy pineapple"), which actually does taste like it has real pineapple inside. And, very rarely, we get something that's suitable for Darker than Black.

Desserts, like much else in Japan, are heavily gendered. Women get elaborate fruit parfaits, and men get "black" chocolate, filled with the bitterness of a life spent away from wife and children, on trains in and out of the city, and spending nights hunched over at the desk and drinking with co-workers to put in the facetime. I'm pretty sure that's not enough compensation for whether either men or women has to put up with. The chocolate is pretty good, though, and when we got this in our latest DekaBox, I decided to see how well it fit in with Darker then Black.  photo darksouls.001.gif

"Full of chocolate to the end," it says on the bottom.

Much to my surprise, it actually was pretty bitter.

The cookie wrapping the chocolate was sweeter and provided a nice crunch, but the filling was a dark enough chocolate that the taste came as a contrast when I bite down through the cookie part. Much like how every time I read a note about spicy food as "spicy for Japan" when I'm looking at a menu in a restaurant, I assumed that the ほろ苦い (horonigai, "bittersweet") on the packaging would have led me astray. But it was even better than I expected. Without the cookie wrapping, the filling by itself could probably have passed muster.

I've written before about how much I like crunchy textures on things, and so I think the cookie was a net plus even if it did reduce the bitterness of the end product. It was just a thin shell over the chocolate rather than being a distinct crunchy part like in pocky. If the cookie had been even more chocolate-flavored, maybe some kind of roasted flourless chocolate cake, then it would have been fantastic. It probably also would have melted or gone bad just sitting in our kitchen, though, You can't always have everything.  photo Emot-happycat.gif

softlykarou's Opinion
Fun fact about me is that I've always preferred Toppo to Pocky. I think the chocolate feels more dense and I prefer their cookie base to Pocky's. In terms of dark chocolate, this is great. The cookie is a little sweet which lets the bitterness in the chocolate come through. It's well balanced. I like textures in my chocolate so these kinds of desserts are pretty perfect for me. I think the only downside is that I don't feel that same sense of satiation that I feel when I eat our other chocolates for Darker than Black. Still, super glad we got it in our box!
That satiation is a sticking point. I had a wish for a long time to eat an entire bar of that 90% cacao chocolate, but I just couldn't do it because chocolate with that much cacao is so filling. It took me years to accomplish that dream. I could eat an entire package of トッポ probably every single time one was given to me and it still wouldn't taste as good. But that's only because the Lindt chocolate is fantastic, not because this is bad.
Current Mood: surprisedsurprised
Current Music: Kyoto Imperial Court Music Orchestra - Etenraku