Today, we look at yuzu kosho flavored Kit-Kat, another curious variant unique to Japan. Please do not misread that as “Yuzu Koshiro” Kit-Kat, though I could understand the confusion. This was a very tasty piece of chocolate, and it made my tongue feel like my ears do when they hear Koshiro’s music. That is to say, very happy.*
For those unfamiliar with the term, yuzu kosho is a kind of Japanese seasoning made with the yuzu (a citrus fruit) and various peppers. It has a sharp, biting flavor offset by a fruitiness not entirely unlike that of an orange, and it’s a popular seasoning for chicken in particular. If you’ve ever had a chili-infused chocolate, you know that chocolate (especially dark chocolate) is wonderfully complemented by a little heat; and, of course, chocolate and citrus are a great combination as well. It would stand to reason that combining chocolate, citrus, and spice would make for some sort of holy trinity of flavor happiness, right?
Well, as it happens, that is completely right. Yuzu Kosho Kit-Kat is incredible. I mean, sure, it’s cheap, mass-manufactured candy — not exactly gourmet food — but as far as such things go, this is right up at the top.
I knew things were on the right track the moment I opened the wrapper and found a dark chocolate bar. Dark chocolate is pretty sadly underrepresented in the Kit-Kat family, somehow losing out to mundane milk or execrable white in far too many cases, but the upside to its relative scarcity is that when you do find it, it’s all the more enjoyable. I was also encouraged by the fact that I couldn’t smell anything but chocolate. Given the close link between taste and smell, nothing about is worse than when a bit of food greets you with a weird, inappropriate scent (like, say, maple when you’re expecting soy sauce). And even the venerable orange Kit-Kat has a strong, perfume-like, fruit smell about it. Not the yuzu kosho variety, though. The word we’re looking for here is “subtle.” And subtle is a good thing in most food, even candy bars.
This is a pleasantly subtle bar, from the scent to the flavor to the faint hint of chili heat that lingers after a bite. The chocolate is decent dark chocolate, but the wafers and creme inside are lightly infused with the taste of yuzu. At first, it almost seems like a restrained, dark chocolate version of orange Kit-Kat, but then the sharper taste of the yuzu pushes through the generic citrus flavor. Afterwards, there’s a faint but unmistakeable lingering heat on the tongue (the tip of the tongue, which is where you feel the spiciness of real yuzu kosho, too). It’s mild enough to almost feel like a pavlovian reflex — you know, this tastes like something you know is supposed to be spicy so you imagine it’s spicy — but there’s definitely some real heat there. But it’s more of a faint afterimage than a dominant sensation.
All in all, yuzu kosho is a really nice take on Kit-Kat. Everything is perfectly balanced, making it taste like a fairly standard bar with just enough tweaks to keep it interesting. Yet the changes never overpowering. I’m very sad that I was only able to afford one of these, because this is a flavor I would eat on a regular basis and thoroughly enjoy every time.
*Alternate Yuzo Koshiro joke if this selection had turned out to be disgusting: “I can understand the confusion, because this candy bar is eats of rage!”