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Friday, November 09, 2007

Chocolate Sacrilege?


As I wandered around the shops at lunchtime, picking up a few extra things here and there for my trip, I came across the Yubari Melon KitKat. Now, anyone familiar with the KitKat bar knows that it doesn't come in melon flavour. This is a special Japanese edition celebrating the town of Yubari, on Hokkaido, famous for, you guessed it, the Yubari melon.

Those melons are quite spectacular in themselves, in that they retail in Japanese stores for anything between US$80 and US$200 per melon. To prove that, here's a picture from a supermarket where their 'average' melon is marked at ¥10,000 (US$88).


To quote from a website:

"The orange-fleshed Yubari melon, similar in appearance and size to the common cantaloupe, has become a Japanese favorite for giving as a gift of thanks to friends or bosses. In the food section of large department stores, Yubari melons - reputed to be Japan's Cadillac of melons - are often sold for upwards of 15,000 yen (a generic melon might fetch 500 yen). Special apples and strawberries can likewise be sold for exorbitant sums, but as far as luxury fruit goes, nothing tops a nice melon for prestige. Shape, skin netting pattern, sweetness, and texture are key factors in the price. A top-grade perfectly round Yubari number with a smooth skin could command over 20,000 yen.

The melons first appear on store shelves in May of each year. Usually a Sapporo department store purchases the first melons at a highly publicized open auction. This year Mitsukoshi bought the first two for 150,000 yen each. After the auction, the melons are showcased and put up for bid to the store's customers. Since the first born of the year are said to represent good luck, shoppers can gawk and hope for a little melon fortune to rub off onto them as they peruse the aisles. A few days later, the highest bidding customer can take them home and enjoy them with their morning cereal."

Failing that, you could just unwrap a Yubari KitKat bar and enjoy the melon flavour. They are surprisingly good, actually. Oh and they're on e-bay for US$3.50-5.00 a pack (the little box holds two twin-bars). I purchased mine for a relatively low US$1.20. Maybe I'll become an e-bay trader in my next life :)


Oh and in case you're wondering what I was doing in the chocolate section, I was shopping for these:

Lindt Excellence Intense Orange Extra Fine Swiss Thins. Melt-in-the-mouth slivers of their finest dark chocolate infused with an intense orange flavour. My love's favourite little chocolate treat.

10 comments:

S'mee said...

Didn't KitKat do an orange flavour as a special a few years back?

Sunshine said...

I love Lindt intense orange chocolate! I'll take your word for it about the kit kats :)

freebird said...

I really can't imagine a melon flavour KitKat - you'll just have to bring D & me some when we meet up ;-)

And s'mee, yes, I'm sure they did.

In my intense cooking days I used to make the dreamiest chocolate puddings with Lindt dark chocolate... oooooohhhhhhhhhhhh! (Hardly ever got to eat them myself though, just lick the mixing bowl out!)

Princess of the Universe said...

I am SO having a chocolate craving now...

George said...

It's all a very nice description of the melon, but what does it taste like?

Loving Annie said...

Good Sunday morning Fiona.

Wow. My mouth is salivating to try one of those Yubari melons...

But in a kit-kat bar ???

Hmmm, I think I'll just settle for the Lindt swiss thins with orange that you recommended :)

Loving Annie

Fusion said...

Kimba and I like the Lindt chocolates in a mixed bag of light, dark, caramel, orange, etc...
Good stuff.

freebird said...

Fi - are you back?????
Can't wait to hear from you!
xxx

Matt K. said...

Funny you mentioned those Lindt "Intense Orange" chocolates - I just spotted them in a deli near work last night!

Anonymous said...

Melon and chocolate don't go together but I am fan of the Yubari Melon, is really sweet and they also got those cute mascots
http://japansugoi.com/wordpress/mr-and-mrs-yubari-melon-mascots-help-fetch-25million-yen-for-melons/

 

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