Azuki beans from Hokkaido are known for their sweet taste and tender texture. Hokkaido’s cold climate wouldn’t immediately promote itself as one suited to growing azuki beans, but the short crop rearing period for azuki beans make the temperature fluctuations between day and night in the rich volcanic soil of Hokkaido ideal for growing azuki beans as it increases their carbohydrate content, the secret to their deliciousnes.
This Hokkaido Red Bean KitKat by Nestle Japan celebrates these popular azuki beans.
They feature wafers sandwiching a sweet azuki bean paste and enrobed in an azuki bean flavoured dark chocolate. The obvious flavour comparison is with the Azuki Sandwich KitKat that’s inspired by ogura toast, or buttered toast with thickly spread azuki paste, and a limited edition for the Chukyo area around Nagoya.
A pleasant smell of sweet azuki and dark chocolate comes through on opening the packaging. The sweetness of the azuki beans registers on the palate ahead of the dark chocolate, which melts to a smooth mouthfeel before another wave of azuki beans flavour hits as you reach the sandwiching cream, building to a pleasant sweetness. The bitterness of the melting dark chocolate counters the sweetness of the initial azuki, before the melted dark chocolate balances that in the second hit. The azuki beans flavour in the finish, though, is richer as it retains the original azuki beans flavour from the enrobing chocolate.
Overall, the flavour is comparable to the Azuki Sandwich KitKat, replacing the nutty butter notes with a sweeter azuki beans flavour that’s countered by a darker chocolate here.
This box of Hokkaido Red Bean KitKat by Nestle Japan contained 3 mini bars. It was produced in Japan and purchased in Osaka Japan in 2015.