Perfect for people who love sweets and carry napkins.
About a year ago, Häagen-Dazs released the Matcha Crumble Crunchy Crunch, and it tasted so good that I was willing to not only forgive its redundant name, but also accept it into my heart as my ice cream lord and savior. So earlier this month, when the company started selling a new green tea flavor in its Crispy Sandwich ice cream line, my faith in its deliciousness was as strong as my hunger.
So it was off to the grocery store to pick up the Green Tea Cream Azuki Crispy Sandwich and bring it back to the sanctum of SoraNews24’s Kanagawa Division Taste Testing Facility, also known as my living room.
The Crispy Sandwich series features an ice cream filling between two wafers, and inside the Green Tea Cream Azuki Häagen-Dazs promises azuki, the sweet red beans that make just about anything in life better. Open up the stylishly tapered box, and you’re half-way through the packaging.
The ice cream’s coating of matcha-infused white chocolate is an enticingly vibrant green.
Adding further temptation is the way the sandwich’s contents bulge out beyond the wafers.
Obviously, Häagen-Dazs delivers on the green tea part of the bargain. But just how much azuki is part of the ingredient team? To find out, I bisected the Crispy Sandwich, feeling quite classy in using cutlery while eating dessert.
It turns out there’s really not a ton of azuki, although a few streaks of it are visible like veins of precious ore in a mountainside.
At this point I also noticed that the wafers hug the chocolate/ice cream center pretty loosely, enough so that they slide off pretty easily.
So how’s the flavor? Really, really tasty. The wafers are nice and crisp, neither dry nor powdery. As for the coating, white chocolate and green tea continue to be a match made in culinary heaven, although if you’re a hard-core matcha lover, you might want a little more bitterness here. The visual inspection of the treat’s cross section didn’t have me expecting a lot of azuki flavor, but it made a mild, salty-sweet contribution, coming just before the green tea ice cream asserted itself with a pleasingly bitter finish.
But there’s one thing to watch out for, which is that while the flavor of the Green Tea Cream Azuki Crispy Sandwich is solid, its physical structure isn’t so much so.
Much like with its Matcha Crumble Crunchy Crunch forefather, the chocolate coating tends to splinter into large fragments as you bite into it. Since the wafers fit loosely onto the sandwich, once the chocolate shell fractures, the ice cream inside will come drizzling out all over the place, so you won’t want to be eating this directly over traditional tatami reed mats, Persian rugs, or any other sort of difficult/expensive-to-clean flooring.
Coincidentally, hamburger restaurants in Japan generally give patrons disposable paper sleeves to place their burgers in while eating them. It’d probably be best to adopt a similar tactic with the Green Tea Cream Azuki Crispy Sandwich and leave it in the wrapper, sliding it out bit by bit to take bites.
If you have your heart set on removing the sandwich from its packaging entirely, I’d recommend having a plate handy to catch any spills. On the downside, the remains can kind of look like a frog that got run over by a semi truck.
But on the plus side, it means that if you grab a spoon, you can enjoy the unadulterated matcha flavor of the ice cream drippings.
The Green Tea Cream Azuki Crispy Sandwich is on sale now at Japanese supermarkets and grocery stores. It’s officially priced at 294 yen (US$2.65), though some stores have it discounted to 246 yen, meaning you can put the savings towards buying a spoon at the 100 yen shop.
Follow Casey’s quest to eat any and all matcha desserts on Twitter.