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  Japanese Candy Fest 2013: Chocorooms 09:51 AM -- Mon September 30, 2013  

7.5/10 YUMS
I've actually reviewed these on Behind The Dumb Episode 4. They're chocolate mushrooms. They're also Kinoko No Yama, or "Mountain of mushrooms" according to Google Translate. You don't really get a whole mountainful in the package, but you get a decent number. I think Behind The Dumb pretty much explains it all, but for a semi-transcript: These are short little Yan-Yan sticks about an inch long, and the top half of the stick is covered with a mushroom-cap-shaped blob of chocolate. So really simple, chocolate and cookie, and it looks like a mushroom.

They're not my favorite for one simple reason: the chocolate is a little bit dark. Not super dark by any means, and not as dark as Chocolate Wheat Puffs, but a hint of bitterness in there that I don't want. I'm happier with all the other wheat+chocolate Japanese options, like Chococone, Hello Panda, Pucca, Pocky, and so on. So in the end, I will eat these if I'm trapped on a desert island, and at the moment I'm trapped on just such an island - an island made of these being the only chocolate-based candies I have left. So I'm eating them. But I'm protesting it. 7.5/10 Yums.
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  Japanese Candy Fest 2013: Giant Caplico 09:36 PM -- Sun September 29, 2013  

Giant Caplico
8/10 YUMS
As you might expect, this is a Caplico, only a whole lot bigger. Along with the size increase comes a more normal ice cream cone shape, and a lot more difficulty and mess involved in eating it. Other than that, it tastes a lot like Caplico! You get a lot more chocolate versus cone, because it extends about 2 inches above the top of the cone, where normal-sized caplico just barely pokes out of the cone. In addition to that, the sheer thickness of the cone relative to the space inside is such that the overall ratio of chocolate to cone is weighted much more heavily towards chocolate in the giant edition. I'm not sure this is an improvement, but I'm willing to eat aerated chocolate.

I guess what it comes down to for me is the question of which size I would rather have. And ... I think it's normal size! These big ones are just messy. And though I don't remember what I paid, I'm betting you get better caplico for your money without the giantness gimmick. 8/10 Yums is a fair enough rating - almost as good as normal Caplico.
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  Japanese Candy Fest 2013: Coconut Pocky 09:40 PM -- Fri September 27, 2013  

Coconut Pocky
9/10 YUMS
Pocky is back! Yeah, I got a few. These ones are just what you would expect: a Pocky stick, with chocolate on it, and coconut bits in the chocolate. The only other fact worth noting here is that the chocolate seems to be lighter than usual, a very light color, and more sweet (I.e. further from dark chocolate). I don't know if they jammed some coconut oil or coconut milk or something into it, but whatever is in there, it's good sweet chocolate.

Normally, I do not like dried coconut. I love the flavor of coconut, and coconut oil is like my favorite substance in the world, but dried coconut is a texture problem for me. Little bits of paper in your mouth that won't go away. However, they did a really nice job here, perhaps just by shredding the coconut into very small bits, or maybe it's kept soft by the chocolate. I don't know, but whatever it is, it makes the coconut much more a flavor and less a texture, so it's fantuberous! I rate Coconut Pocky 9/10 Yums. It is chocolatey, coconutty, and delicious.
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  Japanese Candy Fest 2013: Sour Grape Soft Candy 10:26 PM -- Thu September 26, 2013  

Sour Grape Soft Candy
2/10 YUMS
Oomph. I didn't realize these were sour when I got them, then I noticed the face the grape-monster was making on the package. Also, the English description on these, "Soft Candy", is remarkably misleading. These candies are rock hard. Now, they are gummies, but they start out incredibly hard, and they have to sit in your mouth a while before you can even begin to chew them without suffering dental injury. So they are little pyramids of rock hard grape-flavored gummy, coated in sour powder.

Now I don't mind sour candy, I kind of enjoy it, but these just aren't good. They actually kind of taste like wine at first (well, once you get past the initial blast of ULTRA SOUR), then as the sour powder fades away they become just sweet grape flavor. Combine those flavor oddities with the hard texture, and it's just not pleasant. I must admit that I was initially attracted to these because they have some sort of special coin thing involved - on the back of the package it displays a few different coins with little gems and swords and such on them, and assigns them numerical values of some type. Inside the package, you find a few such coins in addition to the grape candies. They are the same hard gummy as the grapes, but they have a different flavor, and seem to have less sourness although I may have just gotten one that was underpowdered. I actually like them a lot better.

I hate to be all sour grapes about this, but I'm giving these 2/10 Yums, and there is some debate as to whether I'll even finish the package. And for me vs. candy, that's pretty serious!
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  Japanese Candy Fest 2013: Strawberry Baked Pie 01:37 PM -- Wed September 25, 2013  

Strawberry Baked Pie
9/10 YUMS
Now here's something different! These are hexagonal pies. Well, sort of. They are hexagons of puff pastry, about an inch across, very light and flaky, just your usual puff pastry. Inside, they are stuffed with - you guessed it - strawberry chocolate. It is most unfortunate that now, as I am down to my last 3 pies, I examined the box closely enough to realize there are microwave directions on here. I've been eating raw pie! No, it's not raw at all, but it apparently is supposed to be warmed up! I just gave one a 7-second cook (I see a 6 next their list of microwave wattages, so maybe it's supposed to go 6 seconds? It's sure not supposed to go 6 minutes, I can tell you that), and it was more delicious than ever. I've got two more chances... I think I'm gonna try a little longer. Hmm, after 10 seconds, the strawberry goo inside is still cold, but I'm scared to go longer.

Let's try it with the last one anyway. 30 full seconds... but wait, is the 6 talking about power settings? Let's give it a while at 60%. Oh wow. Yep. Do it! Thirty seconds at 60% made it piping hot, yet non-lethal, and oh so much tastier!

So what's not to like? You got puff pastry, strawberry chocolate, warmth, and that's that. Yummy pie. I think I'm gonna raise my initial rating now that I've baked my own pie. Deserving a full 9/10 after I nuked it into yumtown. I wanna get these again and cook them up properly next time! I also want to try the chocolate flavor. I'd also love to get these with a jam type filling instead of the strawberry chocolate, because they really do work nicely as little tiny pies.
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  Japanese Candy Fest 2013: Strawberry Pocky 04:50 PM -- Tue September 24, 2013  

Strawberry Pocky
8.5/10 YUMS
These are a fairly classic Pocky you may be able to find at your local non-Japanese grocery store, although there are (I think if I am remembering right...) two or more kinds of Strawberry Pocky. The kind you're most likely to find is not this one - it's just a pocky stick with plain strawberry chocolate around it. Those are okay. These are much better! They have the strawberry chocolate, but it's peppered with little dots of strawberry seeds (not sure that's a good thing...) and dried strawberries. Yum! As a bonus, or perhaps a minus since it actually means you get less food, the sticks are heart-shaped!

I rate Strawberry Pocky 8.5/10 Yums. It's very tasty, but not the greatest ever. So hard to rate things at this top end of the scale, but as I finish this review munching on my very last strawberry heart-stick, I think I've done it right. 8.5 will do. Oh man, maybe I should've said 9... but I have no more to test! Oh well.
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  Japanese Candy Fest 2013: Cream Collon 02:51 PM -- Mon September 23, 2013  

Cream Collon
8/10 YUMS
These are a unique candy... it's a wrapper of pastry that is about the same as Pirouline - very thin, flaky, crispy. Inside this wrapper is a substance I've never eaten before. It's like some sort of cream cheese and whipped cream combination, with a little bit of some spice in it that I can't recognize. But mainly it's all about that cream flavor. Perhaps that's why they call it Cream Collon. Or they call it that because if you're lactose intolerant like me, it could cream your colon.

I'm going to give these an 8/10, but it's a tentative rating... they definitely taste good, but there's just something a little odd, and I'm just not quite sure. If I had the equivalent little tube of pastry with actual cream cheese frosting in the middle, I'd be giving it a 10/10, but this is something a bit different!
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  Japanese Candy Fest 2013: Musk Melon Hard Candy 05:38 PM -- Sun September 22, 2013  

Musk Melon Hard Candy
7.5/10 YUMS
It's hard to review hard candies, because I'm never as excited about them, but at the same time, they always taste really good (unless they don't, which is really bad). If you don't know what the oddly-named musk melon is, it's pretty much a cantaloupe. I researched a bit and I'm still not entirely sure if the cantaloupe is a species of musk melon, or vice versa, or they're both a species of some larger group. Some sources claim they're just different names for the same thing. Regardless, they're not very different, so these candies taste just like cantaloupe, and that's about all there is to it. A hard candy you suck on for a long time to enjoy a sweet cantaloupe flavor.

It's good, and I'll be happy to have these around for months to come, because that's how long they'll last. I rarely even want a hard candy, but they are really nice for getting a sweet flavor without actually having very many calories. Not so good for your teeth, though. The best rating I can guess at here is 7.5/10 Yums, which feels a bit unfair because the flavor is very good, but I just can't get all that excited about a hard candy.
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  Japanese Candy Fest 2013: Chocolate Wheat Puffs 08:57 PM -- Sat September 21, 2013  

Chocolate Wheat Puffs
5/10 YUMS
I'm making up my own name here, because the only English on the front of the package is "Wheat Chocolate", and the English label slapped on the back just says, in all caps, "CHOCOLATE". Which I can't argue is there, but it really misses the point. These are most definitely Chocolate Wheat Puffs.

Do you know the cereal Honey Smacks? Just like Honey Smacks, this is made from puffed wheat, the difference is that they coated the puffs in chocolate rather than honey. It's really unique and different, but I can't say I'm loving it. It's enjoyable for being different, and it's not unpleasant, but the chocolate is too dark for me. I'm not a fan of dark chocolate, and the wheat inside is also... I mean, it's just wheat, so it's not adding some delicious bonus, it just adds a styrofoam core.

Overall, I'm going to have to give these 5/10 Yums, because I'm willing to eat them in order to get sugar and chocolate into my body. If you like dark chocolate, I think you'll be much better off with these than I am. Sol Hunt appreciates these more than I do for sure. All in all, I'd rather eat Honey Smacks!
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  Japanese Candy Fest 2013: Pucca 06:16 PM -- Fri September 20, 2013  

8.5/10 YUMS
These come from the Hello Panda school of baking. But while Hello Panda is clearly some sort of cookie filled with chocolate, these are actually pretzels filled with chocolate. Very very thin walls of unsalted pretzel surrounding a fairly large blob of chocolate. And of course in the shape of a fish! There are assorted sea life shapes inside, which adds to the fun. As do a bunch of mazes and puzzles inside the box, but unlike your average Japanese 6-year-old, I can't solve the puzzles. It would help if I could read them.

I suppose I should compare these to Hello Panda and pick a winner, but unfortunately I somehow managed not to get any Hello Panda in this giant batch of candy, so I don't really have the proper data to do a comparison. I think these might be the winner if I did compare, actually. The thin pretzel layer is really quite satisfying to crunch through into the chocolate below. It's a little like eating a Peanut M&M, only inside out. Or those special rare Crispy M&Ms, since there's no peanut flavor. Anyway, they fairly deserve 8.5/10 Yums. There's nothing fishy about these tasty snacks.
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