Bemmu over at Candy Japan was kind enough to send me sample shipment of Candy Japan to review for you guys, and here’s what I thought.
So, what is Candy Japan? Well, it’s a fun subscription service run by Bemmu Sepponen, a Finn who’s settled in Japan with his wife. For 25$ (£14.62 in real money- sorry America!) a month, you will receive 2 shipments of delicious, interesting Japanese sweets and snacks. That’s £7.31 a shipment, approximately, which includes shipping. The system runs a month in arrears, so if you’re impatient this might not be for you, but I really like the fact you get two shipments a month. It’s double the surprise for your buck! Unlike more formal subscription boxes, Candy Japan often ships out in smaller, more convenient mailing envelopes, but its definitely what’s inside that counts. Bemmu also sends out an email about your shipment around the time it should arrive, including the product name (if you can’t decipher it) and what it’s all about.
So this is what I got in my shipment; so in other words, here’s a sample of what £7.31 gets you:
Excuse the shoddy framing on my armchair. Gawd.
Hachimitsukinkan Jerii (go GCSE Japanese…) are round, orange jelly candies flavoured with honey and kumquat. The kumquat bears on the packaging hint at the sweet treats inside, and of course, bears love honey! These sweets have merit beyond their cute packaging. They have a crystallised sugar coating and a liquid centre. They’re sweet and fragrant- somewhat citrus, somewhat not. I can’t taste the honey overwhelmingly, but they’re very palatable. Even with the cutesy packaging, I think these are sweets that adults and children could enjoy.
Super Mario Gummy
Suupaa Mario Gami are super cute sweets in the shape of Mario’s face. The packaging is bright and fun, covered in popular Nintendo characters (such as the plumber himself). The gummy candies smell very sweet- of cola and melon, and are translucent brown in colour. They taste almost like cola bottles (they are supposed to be cola flavoured) but a little more fruity. Apparently I should consider myself lucky, as my pack included several candies that weren’t Marios- I got two mushrooms, two coins and a question block. These candies are adorable, and I can name a dozen of my friends right of the bat who would find them charming, and of course they would appeal to kiddies too.
Salted Caramel Chews
Shio Miruku Kyarameru are salted caramel chews. These are a more premium kind of sweet than the other two cutesy gummies. With salt purportedly from Lorraine, France, and cream from Hokkaido in northern Japan, these are gourmet chews. The sleek black packaging reflects this sophisticated image. Like a lot of japanese chewy sweets, these come individually wrapped. They smell amazing- creamy and almost fudgey, with a pretty pale cream-caramel colour. They taste super creamy, with just the barest hint of salt. The consistency is like a soft true caramel,with a little more of a chewiness of a typical chew sweet. They’re divine. Oh my goodness. I’m trying not to devour the whole packet in one sitting, particularly as I’m on the Paleo diet at the moment, but it’s a trial. These are definitely best enjoyed by those mature enough to enjoy the subtle flavours here.
So, is Candy Japan worth the money? Well, that’s up to you, really. Its difficult to pin down how much the shipment is worth, because most if not all of the candies aren’t available in this country. However, I’ve tried to estimate their cost using the same, or similar, products via several uk stockists of Japanese candies including The Japan Centre, Cyber Candy and the best source of similar sweets, Tofu Cute. Incidentally, I couldn’t find any of the shipment specific products readily available via UK stockists.
Based on similar products (i.e jellies and gummies) of around the same weight at the Mario and Honey-Kumquat candies, you would pay about £1.99-£2.99 in the UK for each packet, perhaps a little more for the Mario gummies. Based on very similar products such as Hi-Chew and Puccho, which are less ‘premium’ options, I expect you would pay about £1.50-£2.50 for the Salted Caramel chews. All in all that is about £6-8 worth of sweets, so the price of £7.31 a shipping is pretty good value- probably cheaper than purchasing separately over here (if you could even find these sweets- I couldn’t), and with the added bonus of the surprise of opening the packet.
If you love sweets, or Japan, or both, this would be a lovely subscription for you to sign up for. It also screams to be shared with friends or colleagues- blind tastings would be great fun. With the regular deliveries ensuring continued interest, plus Bemmu’s helpful emails, this is a really fun idea and great service.
Maybe I’ll sign up long term when my diet is done!