Thursday, December 28, 2006
The Turkish coffee shop where my husband acquired dates (as I mentioned in a previous post) also carries imported candy bars. My husband doesn't tend to buy these types of things very often. However, he is often compelled to purchase such things when he comes across something we've never seen before, particularly if it is not made in Japan. I guess that buying chocolates only when they are novel is one way to reduce the frequency of one's consumption of sweets. These bars were relatively expensive so that would probably dissuade us from repeat consumption on a regular basis if nothing else does.
All of these bars were produced in Turkey and have information on them in 4 languages including Turkish and English. One of them also has Arabic writing. It's specifically stated on one that it contains "no lard and alcohol". I'm guessing this is to make it clear that it is acceptable for those of the Islamic faith.
My husband and I split the Alpella bar this evening and I had a small nibble of the Peki and Kranci bars. The Alpella was incredibly good and it required a great deal of restraint not to gobble it down in its entirety. It's wafers full of hazelnut creme (my favorite). The name "Alpella" is clearly meant as a play on "Alpine" and "Caramio" for caramel.
"Peki" means "okay" in Turkish and I'm guessing it is a translation of the Nestle "Yes" bar (which this bar closely resembles). There's no Nestle logo on the bar so it's either a rip-off or Nestle doesn't include its logo on it's Turkish products. I didn't care much for the Peki as it seemed overly sweet and had what I felt was an odd texture. The Kranci is straightforward chocolate covered specs of hazelnut.
My husband and I rarely buy Japanese chocolate except for the occasional special Kit-Kat once in a blue moon. I'm pretty sure Japan must have the world's record for greatest number of Kit-Kat flavor variations. To date, I have seen white chocolate, pumpkin, lemon cheesecake, green tea, cappuccino, coconut, strawberry, banana, mango, maple, sakura (cherry), adzuki (red bean), bitter, mild bitter, passion fruit, yogurt and there are several white chocolate varieties made with various kinds of milk from different regions of Japan.
The Wikipedia entry on Kit-Kats lists an even greater variety than I have personally seen. It also mentions that they are the number one candy bar in Japan and that "kitto katto" roughly translates into "I hope you succeed". That last bit of information was news to me. I'm sure it doesn't hurt to have a name that translates appealingly though I think the general appeal of a chocolate-covered wafer and an infinite variety of possibilities has a lot more to do with its success. One thing the Japanese market seems to love is novelty.