Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' (味) means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.
This time: raw chocolate!
This review almost didn't happen. I was gifted some raw chocolate, and I nearly forgot to eat it. Did you know the 'still good to eat' period for raw choco is only a month? I did not.
Soooo here I am, eating a LOT of Royce raw chocolate this week.
Royce Chocolate was founded in Sapporo, Hokkaido, in 1983.
"By breaking down old customs and producing consistently original items, we are pursuing a new level in chocolate enjoyment. Our artisans make the finest in premium chocolate."
I'm ready for that! Hokkaido's 'thing', when it comes to food and drink, is milk/cream. It's got the same sort of impressive reputation as Jersey. Lots to be excited for here.
With Hokkaido milk and Hokkaido cream in the mix, it should be no surprise that these raw chocolate boxes top 750 calories each. 20 pieces per box, something like 37.5 calories per piece.
As you can see from the top pic, one of these boxes of chocolate is SWEETCORN flavoured.
It's a limited edition - and has already disappeared from the Royce Japanese website. (Replaced by chestnut...) I'd hang on to this box a while longer, if it wasn't for the expiry date.
The other one is 'Au Lait', which is milky milk chocolate. With extra chocolate - made with added cocoa butter, and dusted with extra cocoa powder. Not a limited flavour, as far as I know.
Open up the boxes, take off the plastic, and the choco bits are laid out in razor-sharp mini rectangles. If you ever try Au Lait, be careful of the coating - I got cocoa powder all over the table.
Both of these flavours contain roughly 1% alcohol. Brandy, by the looks of it. There's a note on the back that says 'it's a bit dangerous to give these to kids' (more or less). Hiccup. The Bitter variety has Hennessy VSOP in it, which sounds awesome.
Each box comes with a little stick, for picking up the choco bits. They get melty otherwise.
The stick sinks into the chocolate in a really slow, satisfying way. And it stays there, bolt upright, until you pick it up. Like Excalibur.
I was brave, and went for the rarer sweetcorn one first. New experiences and all that.
On tasting it, the sweetcorn chocolate is surprisingly normal. 'Sweet' for sure, made with 'super sweet' corn according to the box. The smell is super corn-y, but the taste is more like white chocolate. It's a little odd. (Only a little.)
The 'Au Lait' chocolate, in contrast, is super rich. And I mean that in the best way. It's like a tiny triple chocolate brownie. The cocoa powder makes a great finishing touch.
I suspect the stick's also meant to stop me from eating these in one bite. Far too easily done. I think, given my well-documented eating history, I could've decimated a box in an afternoon.
Time to book a much-needed holiday to Hokkaido.
Verdict: 8.5/10. Chocolate yes, alcohol very yes, sweetcorn... mostly.