And now for something a little bit different. For the the next few weeks we will be having a Sunday guest post from Pocky and Eastern snack specialist Nli10. I'm sure we will all make him feel very welcome... ;-)
Hello - My name is NLi10 and I'm a Pocky addict. I think it all stems from a love of eastern culture and novelty convenience snack foods. Pocky is essentially European salted bread sticks coated in Asian style fondant chocolate, and is that mix of savoury and sweet that can be so intoxicating. The above is my current collection of Pocky - artificially more than usual due to a visit to Yum Yum on Bank Street in Worcester (cheapest place for Thai Pocky that I know) and the recent opening of Cyber Candy (who sell the much more expensive Japanese Pocky). The staple Pocky collection has been discussed on this blog before (http://foodstufffinds.blogspot.com/2008/09/pocky-available-by-specialist-importer.html) as has the odd EuroPocky Mikado (JP Pocky made with Uk friendly Milk Chocolate - http://foodstufffinds.blogspot.com/2009/03/kraft-foods-glico-mikado-sainsburys.html) which I found at a local paper shop in the smaller 49p boxes as opposed to the £1.10 supermarket box in the previous review. I will stick to talking about the three exotic flavours I've had sitting around for special occasions which I picked up at a comic convention.
Pocky Crush (left) This is similar to Pocky Almond & Pocky Strawberry Deluxe in that the flavour is on the outside of the chocolate. The bread stick inner is the same as normal, maybe a little fatter, but the Crush part is like broken bourbon biscuits or Oreo stuck to the outside. This gives it a much more chocolatey taste than the typical Pocky and a much more interesting texture. The extra pieces mean this tastes similar to the holy grail that is Pocky Mens - a JP thick dark chocolate variety. As this is a deluxe Pocky you get two packets of four in a box - and at import prices that makes it a luxury. All three packets shown above have been opened especially for the reviews.
Pocky Blueberry (middle) This is a limited edition JP Pocky which is much more similar to the standard Pocky with the thin sticks and fruit in the chocolate/ fondant. The first thing you notice is how much the flavour pops and zings as you bite into it. As with the other fruit Pocky the addition of small chunks of actual fruit means that the taste experience is much more powerful and luxurious than the standard Pocky. Perfect for summer weather, but again few to a packet & 2 packets to a box. Incidentally I can't find the boxes for these flavours which is a shame!
Pocky Desert (right) These are I believe an approximation of tiramisu and other choc & custard based deserts, presumably in an eastern style. After the initial shock of there only being three sticks wears off, the overpowering smell of artificial banana kicks in and I was left wondering if I had finally found a Pocky I didn't like. Once bitten into all is forgiven, as the choco-banana Pocky's more exotic cousin does not disappoint. With the thickest bread stick yet (half a cm at least) and a generous helping of covering the flavours really work well together. The chocolate is darker and more satisfying and the banana is not as sweet, and due to the thickness the soft bite gives a satisfying crunch and is a great treat.
Overall I'd buy the Crush again first, but deluxe Pocky coming in at £3 a box at trade shows, I think I'd branch out to other new flavours first. Pocky Tangerine is my most wanted to try flavour.