Soft pretzel chain embraces the matcha sweets boom for the first time.
American chains Starbucks and Krispy Kreme didn’t have to do too much work in getting the local population excited when they first came to Japan, since the country had been enjoying coffee and donuts since decades before the arrival of those two companies. Auntie Anne’s has had to work a bit harder to gain traction, though, since its marque product, soft pretzels, aren’t really a mainstay of the Japanese snack circuit.
Nevertheless, Auntie Anne’s has been slowly but steadily building its fanbase, thanks to adopting the Japanese practice of a constant cycle of seasonal flavors. Recent hits have included strawberry, maple, and milk cream-flavored pretzels, and now, for the first time, Auntie Anne’s is getting in on the matcha green tea sweets trend.
The chain’s Japanese locations have just started their Matcha Fair, with the star of the show being the Matcha Cheesecake pretzel roll.
While they may not have the traditional knotted shape, the 420-yen (US$3.75) pastries are made with Auntie Anne’s pretzel dough. Inside there’s a top layer of matcha cream, and underneath it a stratum of cream cheese cake, and the whole affair is topped with a dusting of crushed almonds.
If more matcha is a must, Auntie Anne’s also has two matcha beverages. First up is the Frozen Driink Uji Matcha. Topped with whipped cream sprinkled with green tea powder, the frozen drink is priced at 480 yen. If you’re looking for less slush, there’s also the Uji Matcha Latte, with its tea content provided by famed Kyoto tea merchant Tusjiri, for 380 yen.
▼ Frozen Driink Uji Matcha (left) and Uji Matcha Latte (right)
While the Uji Matcha Latte is now a regular part of the Auntie Anne’s menu, the Matcha Cheesecake Roll and Frozen Driink Uji Matcha will only be around until May 31, so don’t miss your chance to try what may be the first-ever crossover between green tea and pretzels.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’ll continue to champion the cause of Auntie Anne’s awesome Japan-only flavors in hope it will convince the chain to release them in the U.S.