Imagine a brand like Hershey’s coming out with a range of chocolate bars that aim at a rather gourmet audience, and you get an idea of what Meiji has done with Meiji The Chocolate.
The matcha flavor in that range is really an odd one out, but too fitting for my interests, and too fitting for the story…
You see, there are two aspects coming together in this flavor, in particular: That of a peculiar approach to chocolate, and that of special flavorings and how they get used…
“The Chocolate,” Different
In chocolate in general, Meiji “The Chocolate” has caused quite a stir in Japan.
Working bean-to-bar, offering a range of flavors mainly just from different preparations, describing the different flavor profiles in detail, these chocolate bars have addressed an audience that is not just interested in a quick snack – and the price, at double the usual of chocolate bars in Japan, is fitting for that.
Yet, the last but not least ingredient to the success of “The Chocolate” seems to have been that they are sold in the convenience stores that are common in Japan. They stand out due to their design, though: Where most chocolate bars in Japan are labeled so as to be presented sideways, Meiji “The Chocolate” stands up vertically – and stands out.
As Jake Adelstein described it all in quite some detail in Forbes all the attention to design (as well as flavor) has led to Instagram popularity and great sales.
There are enough chocolates made from different varietals of cacao I can easily get. Thus, a flavor range from Comfort Bitter and Elegant Bitter to Brilliant Milk, Sunny Milk, Vivid Milk and Velvet Milk (as the “The Chocolate” range goes) did not entice me that much, interesting as it would have been.
There is also that Matcha flavor in the range, however.
Meiji The Chocolate: Matcha, and Dark
Chocolates made with matcha are not the most common, but not all that hard to find, either.
They are almost always white chocolates, though, the better to see that there is matcha in there, coloring them green.
That’s all well and good, when and if it is.
A good matcha can stand up to the bitterness of a dark chocolate and is rather well suited for it. White chocolate, actually, is rather too sweet and less intense in flavors.
Still, Meiji The Chocolate in matcha flavor is one of the few dark chocolate bars with matcha I know (another being the “Superfood” bar from Vosges Haut Chocolat).
In a typical interplay of aromas and flavors, the sweetness of the chocolate comes out first, low as it is.
Then you taste the rich, somewhat bitter and acidic, flavor of the cacao used for the dark chocolate.
The matcha, here, comes only as an aftertaste in the typical aroma of a nice strong matcha.
The whole The Chocolate matcha experience is very satisfying.
It nicely shows the difference between a simple sweet chocolate that is really candy and a chocolate that truly earns that label.
Here, you get three small bars in each single chocolate package. Each and every single one of them is easy, not to gobble down, but to savor and be satisfied with it.
There’s a beauty to that.