“You have to try the Japanese cheese-flavored chocolate. It tastes like Cheetos!” my friend Carlos told me. Who could refuse that? We are talking about a) chocolate, one of the best things in life and 2) cheese, one of the best things in life. Since Carlos wanted to see my face when tasting this unexpected hybrid, he bought me a tablet by surprise.
Look at the packaging and try to tell me that you’re not salivating. Two good pieces of cheese on one side, a white chocolate bar on the other; and in the middle, orange-highlighted letters: “Cheese & Cheese Crunky. Not happy with mixing chocolate and cheese, they dared to mix chocolate with TWO types of cheese. Damn me if this isn’t a palatable ménage à trois.
The cheeses that make up this combination are none other than parmesan and cheddar. The black seal on the box confirms it with a gourmet certificate. The packaging doesn’t give us a whole lot of other information, but you can see that Crunky is a Lotte product that actually is not a Japanese brand, but a Korean brand. Is there anything else I should find out? Who cares. Let’s eat.
“Ok, yeah, it totally tastes like Cheetos,” I told Carlos; chewing, nodding, and widening my eyes at the same time. And no, don’t expect the salty parmesan from a risotto, or the cheddar from a McDonald’s burger. The cheese in this chocolate has a puffy and crunchy texture. It also probably has a very little amount of cheese, hence the resemblance to Cheetos.
I’m not going to tell you that it’s a delicious chocolate bar, but the world is already full of delicious chocolates; there is also room for nonsense chocolates. Those chocolates that nobody expected but there they are, opening our minds to new horizons.
When my friend Carlos and his girlfriend Celeste returned to Spain after living in Japan, they packed their suitcase with Crunky Cheese & Cheese bars to take to their friends. I’m talking about maybe twenty bars, so that all your loved ones could experience this chocolate with cheese and cheese. The magnitude of kilometers traveled and love invested in chocolate, had only been reached before by the giant Toblerones of the airport (that are actually inedible!).
Good for you, Crunky Cheese & Cheese. You have taught us a valuable lesson: we should not think about what people will say when it comes to getting together, mingling, or merging with whoever we want. I want to think that one day the world will be just as free and tolerant as you.
Update: Oh no! After searching hard through konbinis all over Tokyo for a Crunky Cheese & Cheese tablet, I have the sad suspicion that, like so many other products in Japan; it was a limited edition. Damm! This article will be, then, a posthumous tribute. Wherever you are, Crunky Cheese & Cheese, thank you.
And thank you, Carlos (@carpakun) and Celeste (@lelechan), for teaching me so much konbini culture and for opening my mind to so many things about Japan and life in general. And for keeping a couple of expired Crunky Cheese & Cheese bars as souvenirs and desecrated them to take these photos.
Proofreading: Jasmina Mitrovic (@negi_hime).