“ Brand: Nestle / Type: Biscuits „
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This time last year I was teaching compound nouns to a lot of my classes. They're quite easy to grasp, even for non-native speakers, as there is a clear rule: the first word acts as an adjective and tells you what type the second noun is. So a horse race? A type of race. A race horse? A type of horse. Ditto boat house, house boat, church service, Catholic chuch and so on. It's a rule many native speakers probably never think twice about, just as you know that we say "a big blue house" not "a blue big house". It's certainly a rule you would expect people naming products to know.
Enter the KitKat Cookies. Surely, these must be a type of Cookies? Alas, they are not. They are a type of KitKat (just like the correctly named 'Chunky KitKat', 'Caramel KitKat' and 'Mint KitKat' variations are). They're also Japanese. Maybe that explains it? You can buy these in the UK, though, and we got ours from Cyber Candy, a wonderful emporium with branches in London, Brighton and Birmingham as well as an online store http://www.cybercandy.co.uk/
Rather unusually for KitKats, these come in a box of 8 for about £2.99. These are 8 minis but not like the normal UK minis as these are only a single finger, and somewhat shorter and fatter than normal ones, as if the bar has been stood on its end and then hammered down a little. Rather than fingers, these are post-industrial-accident stumps.
The box is quite unique, too. It has an easy open tear strip, and the inside is covered with clovers and green hearts, though my Japanese doesn't stretch sufficiently for me to work out whether the reasoning behind this is explained anywhere. The box is cardboard, so recyclable, and the KitKats are wrapped in the usual new-style plastic wrap, though this is hard to get into as they don't tear where they should and the small size makes them hard to hold onto.
The box shows a cross section of a KitKat Cookie and seems to suggest they are made up of two layers of wafer with a thin strip of chocolate cream inbetween, topped off with a much thicker layer of crumbly golden biscuit. The pack also shows pictures of biscuits, to emphasis just how biscuity these treats are. They're golden, shortcake style ones, and they do look yummy.
Here's an interesting fact about KitKats. In my local Tesco they sell the 2 finger ones in the biscuit aisle, and the 4 finger ones in the chocolate bar aisle. It's as if they can't decide whether wafer is biscuity enough to make it into the high realms of biscuit land. Based on the box illustrations these would definitely pass the entrance exam.
The KitKat Cookie stumps smell like American KitKats - there's a subtle difference in the chocolate used in different countries, and American ones don't taste quite like ours, either. Inside you can taste the wafer but there's definitely something else added in. That said, the biscuit adds very little in terms of flavour. It's not noticeably buttery or vanilla flavoured, and doesn't stand out from the chocolate and wafer it's combined with, but the key reason you can tell you're not eating a normal KitKat, albeit a stubby one, is the texture. The biscuit is quite sandy and grainy which is not something you want from a biccie. It's almost like they've crumbled it up, and then stuck it on top of the wafer, rather than leaving it nice and intact ready for you to chew it into crumbs. The wafer is nice and crisp (like in normal KitKats) and the chocolate quite ok if a little less creamy than a UK KitKat (so like in American KitKats) but that biscuit is something else.
These are an interesting taste sensation. I expected them to taste more different than they actually did and was anticipating an explosion of flavour that never came. I love KitKats. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, these would be it. This is not the reason, but a happy consequence, of my shunning the University of Manchester (with their Nestle boycot) for UMIST (who couldn't care less). These KitKat Cookies, however, aren't a necessary addition to any student union shop in my opinion. The simplicity and perfect flavour balance of the original is far superior to these which seem like a poor substitute .
I just don't think the firm, thin, crisp wafer works well against the softer, crumblier, chunkier biscuit. They compete against, rather than complementing, each other, vying for your attention, and yet neither adds real taste (even in original KitKats, the wafer seems to be there for texture effect rather than a flavour kick). I don't think there's enough chocolate on these - because the contents are more, the ratio of chocolate to filling deteriorates - and a thicker coating might make all the difference.
For a Japanese chocolate product these are quite tame - no wacky flavours or outlandish colourings. They're a bit of a strange one - on their own I'd say they were just bog standard biccies not worth a second glance, and take a couple of stars off them, but slap on the KitKat name and the novelty factor boosts them up a bit and wins those stars back. Worth trying, certainly, but not one I'd buy regularly.
At 48 calories each these are a treat you can indulge in. This is balanced, however, by their miniscule size. One bite and they're gone, leaving you with a mouthful of sand and a disappointed emptiness in your mind. Thinking about it, I'm going to pocket one of those stars once again.