Sunday, March 7, 2010

Country Ma'am

Two fun things about Japanese snack foods: the endless variety of unexpected flavors, and the tireless succession of "limited edition" seasonal production of those flavors. Case in point: Country Ma'am cookies. Above, from left to right, are the autumnal pumpkin, the seasonless chocolate chip, and the springtime strawberry. Pumpkin and strawberry flavored chocolate chip cookies? Only in Japan. But when you think about it, or better yet, taste it, you realize: Why not?
Country Ma'am is, in my opinion, the superior fake chocolate chip cookie sold in Japan, much better than competitor American Soft. They're quite small - about the size of a silver dollar and just 50 calories each. The outside has a crumbly crispness, but the inside is soft and chewy, and filled with miniature chocolate chips (and white chocolate chips in the strawberry and pumpkin varieties). They're very sweet, unusual in Japanese treats. An interesting thing to note on the package above is the Japanese depiction of a pumpkin pie, with little green pumpkin seeds sprinkled over the top, and a green-skinned Japanese kabocha squash modeling in the background.
Though the pumpkin cookie isn't strongly pumpkin flavored, the strawberry cookie actually has a pink, external coating of fragrant berry-flavored crust on top. (As you can see, the package is also cutely polka-dotted.) And while the pumpkin cookie has only white chocolate chips, the strawberry has both white and milk chocolate. So, as much as I love pumpkins in general, I would have to say I like the strawberry cookie better. But actually, however exciting it is to get new flavors with the seasons, the plain "chocochip" is better than anything else I've had so far. Especially when warmed in the microwave, as they recommend on the package. Mmmm....

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