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Glico Giant Pocky Rainbow

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This shiny box Glico Giant Pocky Rainbow is per­fect for sampling the region­al fla­vours that are avail­able for sale only in the ori­gin­at­ing region or inter­na­tion­al air­ports as well as oth­er rarer fla­vours.

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Each box has sev­en fla­vours in sev­en col­ours. The way they’re arranged here is as they appear on the pack­aging, but you could arrange them roughly in the col­ours of the rain­bow: red, orange, yel­low, green, blue, indigo and viol­et (here, pink?).

The col­ours inside put any true rain­bow dreams to rest. The sev­en fla­vours are (from top to bot­tom): chocol­ate, matcha, banana, mel­on, grape, straw­berry and vanilla.

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This Chocolate GiantPocky is enrobed in milk chocol­ate and identic­al to the ones that come in their own box with a sim­il­ar red pack­aging.

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…and this  Matcha Giant Pocky is a matcha fla­voured bis­cuit enrobed in matcha mousse made from tea grown in the Uji region of Kyoto. It’s the same as the Giant Pocky Uji Matcha with sim­il­ar green pack­aging.

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Next up is the yel­low fla­vour: banana. It has an arti­fi­cial banana smell, which I enjoy over the smell of fresh bana­nas, but has the taste and mouth­feel of fresh ripe bana­nas com­ple­men­ted by the soft mousse. The strength and sweet­ness of the banana are well-bal­anced by the bis­cuit, leav­ing a pleas­ant banana after­taste.

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The orange bis­cuit takes its col­our from the flesh of its Yubari mel­on fla­vour. Yubari mel­on is a region-lim­ited fla­vour of Pocky for Hokkaido, being a spe­cialty to the city of Yubari. The Pocky uses 15% real Yubari mel­on juice, which comes through as a sweet, ripe rock­mel­on smell. The mel­on notes are stronger in the smell than in the taste where its dis­tinct fla­vour fades to a gen­er­ic sweet­ness when eaten with the bis­cuit, leav­ing a sweet after­taste without mel­on notes. That said, the intense sweet­ness of ripe rock­mel­on could mean that a more pro­nounced fla­vour may be sick­en­ingly sweet.

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The third and final region-lim­ited fla­vour is the purple Kyoho Grape fla­vour for the Shinshu (Nagano) region. There are bright notes of grape — like grape fla­voured candy — from the smell of this Pocky, which trans­lates to a mousse that, in the same way as ripe grapes, is richly sweet fol­lowed by a gentle acid­ity as you reach the freeze dried specks. The bis­cuit mel­lows the deep­ness of the fla­vour in the fin­ish before the grape fla­vour returns in the after­taste. A thick­er mousse would’ve held its own bet­ter.

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This pink bis­cuit is a new format for a clas­sic fla­vour: straw­berry. The straw­berry mousse here is the same as that in the Glico Pocky Strawberry with more freeze-dried bits, although the thick­er bis­cuit lends a less crispy and more crumbly tex­ture that dilutes the rich­ness of the straw­berry fla­vour but retains the sweet­ness.

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And finally, the white bis­cuit is the most vanilla of fla­vours, although that’s per­haps not an apt descrip­tion as you’d be hard-pressed to find vanilla fla­voured Pocky else­where. The vanilla mousse is thin and the fla­vour is subtle, emer­ging towards the second half of the body from gen­er­ic sweet­ness, but retreats by the fin­ish to leave the after­taste of sweet bis­cuit. A rich­er vanilla fla­vour that resembles less of a soft-serve and more of a vanilla bean would go a long way.

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A com­par­is­on of the shape and pat­terns on the base of each Pocky exposes two dif­fer­ent meth­ods of man­u­fac­ture, with the meth­od used for the chocol­ate, banana and vanilla fla­vours hav­ing a crunchy and firmer bis­cuit com­pared to the meth­od used for the matcha, mel­on, grape and straw­berry. In gen­er­al, the thick­er bis­cuit in Giant Pocky has ten­ded to over­whelm the rich­ness of the fla­vour­ing mousse in many cases.

This box of Glico Giant Pocky Rainbow con­tained 21 pieces or 3 pieces of each fla­vour. It was pro­duced in Japan and was pur­chased in Osaka, Japan in 2015.