Morniaga Azuki Caramels

Posted in 3.5 Wasabi Pea Rating, Caramel/Taffy, Sweet at 12:21 am by Boo

Bonus extra Morniaga caramel fun; they make a red bean caramel too! Back in the day when I first ran into Kokuto caramels there were two other flavors I picked up eventually: Milk and Maccha. There was also the mysterious black packaged Kurogoma caramel that took me a couple years and an order from J-List to procure but I eventually did. Having reviewed all four known Morinaga caramels, I washed my hands of the tasty Morinaga family.

Then, when I was perusing the J-List site in preparation for December’s J-List showcasing, I ran into a new Morinaga caramel. A fifth caramel? Could it be? In what may or may not have been an OCD moment I added it to the wish list. Now my collection is complete…at least until they make a new flavor to try.

Azuki caramels are sort of dusky pink in color, which makes me think more ‘fruity’ than ‘bean-y’. This is a step up from Yakuza vs. Gumby or Art eraser but it’s also…dusky pink. I think that’s just what happens with red beans when you make them into ice cream or taffy or anything that isn’t mashed red beans. Even then, they tend to be rather mauve-red looking. That still doesn’t solve the fact that they look like they should be some fruity something or other and they are not.

Morinaga’s Azuki caramels definitely smell sweet bean-y in a nicely subtle way. I had to practically stick the caramel on my nose before I could smell anything but once I did there was no doubt about their sweet beaniness. They taste pretty spot on red beany as well. I prefer a red bean paste such as you might find in one of those filled buns but if I were to make caramel out of red beans, this would be it. The azuki caramel is a bit more caramel like than the kurogoma was but I’m beginning to suspect that the addition of beans or sesame seeds really does play with the composition of a caramel. There is a bit of grittiness and not as much smooth buttery goodness that you would find in a Kraft caramel or even in the Milk and Kokuto flavors Morinaga offers. Still, I have to hand it to the company, Morinaga knows from caramel and azuki beans.

This fella showed up on the bottom of the caramel container sleeve. Heh.

Is this a good taste though? Weeeellllll possibly. Sweet red bean candy isn’t exactly an American staple so it’s not going to be a familiar taste for the American palate. As one of my Guinea Pigs put it, “I wouldn’t seek it out again, but might eat it if it were around.” That’s worth at least a 3 pea rating because yeah…that’s how I felt as well. Morinaga certainly does red bean caramel/taffy better than White Rabbit but given the choice I think most people would bypass the bean for milk, molasses or even the sesame flavors. If you are a red bean lover then this is probably a 4 pea snack. Otherwise, this is a decently good 3 pea munchie with an extra half pea thrown in for nailing azuki.

Rating of 3.5 wasabi peas out of a possible 5 wasabi peas.

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