- Nestlé recently released a new flavour of KitKat in the UK.
- KitKat Ruby is made from ruby cacao beans – the first new type of chocolate to be developed since white chocolate 80 years ago.
- We compared the new bar to a selection of bizarre flavours from Japan, from soy sauce to sweet potato.
- The winner was clear.
You may have heard there’s a new kid on the confectionary block –Nestlé recently launched KitKat Ruby in the UK, the latest take on KitKat’s classic, four-finger bar with a natural pink hue from ruby cacao beans.
It’s the first new type of chocolate to be developed since white chocolate 80 years ago.
“Ruby chocolate is a big innovation in confectionery and we are very proud that KitKat is the first major brand in the UK to feature this exciting new chocolate,” said Alex Gonnella, marketing director for Nestlé’s UK confectionery business.
The millennial pink chocolate bar is not unique to the UK, though. Before landing on British shores, KitKat Ruby had overwhelming success in Japan and Korea, where the number of flavours far surpasses our measly selection.
Since 2000, KitKat has launched over 300 different flavours in Japan – including bizarre options like soy sauce and sweet potato.
We compared the UK’s new Ruby KitKat with a selection of 8 weird flavours from Japan – and there was a clear winner.
Scroll down to see which flavours you’d really like to take a break with.
Behold the Japanese KitKats in all their glory.
Setting out on my mission as writer at Business Insider, I bought a selection of eight flavours from Japan Centre in Soho, London – a solid basis from which to judge the new Ruby edition. The flavours included: Matcha Green Tea, Kyoto Matcha Green Tea, Azuki Sandwich, Purple Sweet Potato, Shinshu Apple, Strawberry, Amaou Strawberry and, of course, Shizuoka Wasabi.
KitKat’s extreme popularity in the Land of the Rising Sun may be down to a coincidental resemblance to the phrase “Kitto Katsu,” which translates into “surely win.” As such, the bars are often given as good luck gifts in Japan, particularly for students sitting university entrance exams, according to The Telegraph.
The first flavour I tried was Shizuoka Wasabi.
You may associate wasabi more with sushi than a chocolately treat, but the Wasabi KitKat was an unexpected triumph.
At first, it just tastes like chocolate, but as soon as you swallow the mustardy heat hits you in the back of the throat. Fortunately, the spicy kick is more of a tap, and the subtlety of the heat is actually quite pleasant.
Next up was Strawberry.
The Strawberry KitKat smelled hugely artificial, like a McDonald’s strawberry milkshake. The taste pretty much exactly aligned with the smell – it was sickly sweet with an artificial, plasticky aftertaste. Not good.
Then came the special edition Amaou Strawberry.
The Amaou Strawberry had a much more subtle perfume. The wafer on mine was incredibly stale, but the bars had travelled all the way from Japan. Nevertheless, the flavour is much more natural than the regular strawberry. If you’re going to go for a strawberry KitKat from Japan, make sure its Amaou.
Purple Sweet Potato came after.
This sounded all sorts of wrong, but I was prepared to keep an open mind.
I was right – it was outright bizarre.
It wasn’t as sweet as the other bars and had a faintly disgusting root vegetable taste. I would recommend leaving sweet potatoes to savoury items.
Next I tried the trendy Matcha Green Tea…
I’d heard a lot about the Green Tea KitKats before tasting, as they’re a typical gift for tourists to bring back home – a taste of Japan in a neatly packaged green wrapper.
The reality, though, was a bitter disappointment. The flavour was very artificial and completely overwhelmed by the sweetness of the chocolate.
…Followed by the special edition Kyoto Matcha.
Who needs one edition of the Matcha Green Tea KitKat when you can have two? As with the Amaou Strawberry, this special regional edition had a more refined flavour than the original. The bitterness of the earthy tea flavours was complemented by the sweet, white chocolate surrounding.
This is king of the Japanese KitKats.
Shinshu Apple was the next contender.
The apple scent was immediately overpowering as soon as I opened the wrapper. Shinshu is reportedly famous for the apples grown in the region – however, if they taste anything like the KitKat edition, then tourists are in for a nasty surprise. The flavour was totally artificial and more reminiscent of apple candy than actual fruit.
This might be the worst one yet.
Next Up? The Azuki Sandwich.
Azuki, or red bean, is a popular flavour in East Asian cuisine and is often boiled with sugar to make red bean paste.
Red bean is usually cooked for auspicious occasions and, therefore, Nestlé is not the first company to piggy-back on the ingredient’s heritage – in 2009, Pepsi released an azuki-flavoured edition of its soda. According to Japan Times, the colour red was once thought to have magical powers in Japan.
To my Western palate, the red bean flavour was subtle but jarring, and had a slightly raw vegetable tang to it.
Last but not least was the Ruby — and the winner was clear.
Finally, it was time to try Britain’s new KitKat Ruby.
Unlike Japan’s pink strawberry editions, which are made with white chocolate and strawberry flavourings, the Ruby uses ruby cacao that produces a natural pink hue in the chocolate.
The flavour is completely different to any of the Japanese KitKats I’ve tried. It’s obviously chocolate, but it has a really sharp berry tang – unlike any kind of chocolate I’ve had before. It’s powerful, but it works, and there’s a depth of flavour that surpasses the rest of the KitKats in this test.
The winner was clear – I would urge anyone that hasn’t tried ruby chocolate to get their hands on one of the new KitKats, a totally new experience that also happens to be delicious.
If you’re thinking about visiting Japan any time soon, then opt for the special, regional editions if you can – they’re a lot more natural in flavour than the regular bars, and the packaging makes a great gift.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.