This addictive, green-tinted candy bar is available only during cherry-blossom season, and only in Japan.
Japanese are inordinately fond of Kit Kat candy bars, partly because the name is similar to a Japanese phrase that means “You will win.” To that end, Kit Kats are often given as presents on auspicious occasions, and the box shown above has a panel on the back that functions as a gift tag, allowing you to give it to a friend as a sort of encouragement for an upcoming event. But the most popular form of the candy is not the chocolate-coated bar Americans are familiar with, but a green-tea-flavored version based on white chocolate.
But during cherry blossom season in springtime, a slightly different flavor is offered, Sakura Matcha Kit Kat. “Matcha” is very finely ground, superior quality green tea, the kind often used in tea ceremonies, while “Sakura” refers to the blossom of the Japanese cherry tree. In other words, the candy bar is flavored with high-quality tea and cherry blossoms.
A friend brought some home from Tokyo a few days ago, and we shared a candy bar. The cardboard package had three two-finger bars in it, separately wrapped in pink-tinted green foil. The flavor was more of cherry than of green tea, possibly since an expensive form of green tea was being used. Is there a difference between cherry and cherry-blossom flavor? Not that I could tell. Still, the Kit Kat was tasty, and very unusual. In fact, it’s hard to imagine the bar being successfully marketed here.
What flavor would American candy companies use to suggest good luck?
Creamy, green, and with a slight odor of cherry blossoms. Welcome springtime!
Check out other Strange Snacks of the World
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 14, 2013