I was recently invited by a friend to join a KitKat tasting challenge. Free food? The potential to win money? Sign me up!
Growing up, Kitkats were never one of my favorite candies as sour patch watermelons and other gummies were more my thing. However, I wanted to expand my knowledge about this breakable, sharable snack so I was intrigued to participate.
It turns out that Japan takes KitKat bars to a whole other level. Beyond “original” flavor, you can find KitKats that taste like pudding, biscuits, summer ice cream, and more. What is Summer Ice Cream even supposed to taste like?!
It all started in 2004 when the first specialty flavor was introduced: matcha green tea. Since then, there have been over 300 different flavors of KitKat, many of them only sold during specific seasons or in certain cities and regions around the country.
Since certain flavors are limited to different parts of the country, KitKats have become a popular choice for omiyage – a gift given to friends and co-workers from trips away.
Not only do KitKats come in standard candy packaging, in Japan you can also find ones that double as letters you can mail to loved ones. At the post office, I found a special pack that had a cute little tiger on it to celebrate the 2022 New Year.
Five of us gathered for the big KitKat challenge and split into teams. Before us lay a heaping pile of more than 20 different KitKat flavors. The wrappers were so colorful and the flavors, exotic. I commended my friend for his commitment to procuring all of the different candies, traveling to different prefectures all over Japan over the span of six months!
Below are the different flavors we tasted:
Before starting the challenge, I felt pretty confident. I knew I could tell mango from banana and mint from strawberry. And without being blindfolded, how hard could it be? Unfortunately for us participants, my friend had a trick up his sleeve. Not only did he buy strawberry flavor, but strawberry milk, and strawberry cheesecake. Matcha was accompanied by matcha latte. And the real kicker – Save the Blue Ocean and White were two different KitKats that were actually the same flavor, so you had a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly between the two. Challenge accepted!
The tasting challenge was a blast, but more difficult than I expected. KitKats are still not my favorite candy, but my appreciation for the variety and uniqueness of the candy has grown.
After 10 rounds of candy tasting I experienced the biggest sugar crash I’ve ever had, so no more candy for me for a while.
Give me a break!
How do you think you would fare in a KitKat challenge? Watch our attempt here!
Want to learn more about Japanese food and living in Japan? Check out these posts!