My theory is that Japanese kids are told in school not to talk about what they like or dislike food-wise and to just eat their kyushoku without complaining. I've seen students holding their noses and choking down things they don't like because they aren't allowed to put them back or give them away. They come out of school with a more adventurous spirit when it comes to eating because of it. American kids on the other hand have moms who pack their lunches with their favorite foods and can buy whatever they want on the lunch line so they never venture too far out of their comfort zone. Thus, we have boring Kit Kats in America and crazy "what were they thinking?" flavors in Japan because Nestle execs in Japan know that people will try them, no matter how crazy the flavor might be (Soy sauce anyone?) I have to say in this instance I side with Japan.
But that isn't to say I haven't had fun with Japanese Kit Kats while in America. I've been forcing
all the leftovers I've had from the bags of minis on friends and family. Some people looked at me suspiciously. Others who hadn't received any looked put out I hadn't saved any for them. But the most excited was my friend Kristin, who was in fact the inspiration for this blog in the first place.
Back in the spring I happened to mention to her that they had some crazy flavors, "for example I just ate a Jasmine Tea Kit Kat the other day and they have Espresso Coffee Kit Kats too."
Her response: "OMG! You should try them all and them put them on your blog and I will TOTALLY read it!!!....er...not that I don't read it now, but it would be really REALLY cool!" And thus JenKen's KitKat Blog was born.
So naturally I had to bring her back some Kit Kats. In return she took me on a chocolate tour of Chicago (where we had champagne truffles flown in weekly from Switzerland, designer cupcakes, and chocolate tea) and introduced me to the wonders of bacon chocolate (that's right bacon and chocolate - a match made in heaven!) Is it any wonder we are the best of friends?
I'm headed back to Japan next week where I'm hoping I can still find some of the bars that came out while I've been gone like Ume-shu Soda and Sour Orange. Many more reviews to come soon!
Oh and you can read Kristin's thoughts on her Japanese Kit Kats here.