These hard, round candies were introduced in Japan prior to World War II, but thanks to the Studio Ghibli masterpiece Grave of the Fireflies, Food Drops (Sakuma Drops) have become extremely popular, with classic and local Japanese flavours just waiting for newcomers to discover. My first experience with food drops has proven to me why these candies have been around for so long, as well as the reason Japanophiles are importing these unique treats.
Once every week or two, I spend hours on J-List looking for new things to add to my wishlist. For the longest time, most of what I had on there were kitchen gadgets, figures and import games. That changed last year when I saw there was a Food Drop version of Sapporo beer on the website. I never did order them (waiting and hoping they’ll become available again soon), but that was all it took to spark my interest.
For my first J-List order, I decided to go with sweeter treats. One tin of Choco Banana Crepe (or Crape, as the mis-spelling on the label reads) and another of Cheese Cake drops. Both pictures looked absolutely delicious, and I am a sucker for chocolate and banana anything.
The first flavour I get when I pop the Choco Banana Crepe flavour into my mouth is that of chocolate syrup. Not that heavy Hersey’s chocolate flavouring crap, but a nice thin sauce with just the right amount of sweetness. Then the banana comes through, and it’s like eating a fresh slice of the fruit. The banana calms down and melds with the chocolate, allowing the crepe to come through. The only thing these candies cannot give me is the satisfaction of eating one of those giant messy crepe rolls topped with whipped cream. Needless to say, I love these food drops based on a Harajuku favourite.
The Cheese Cake tin promises I will experience a taste unique to Kobe. Seeing as I have never been to Kobe, I will take their word for it. These ones were not as sweet as the Choco Banana ones, but what really won me over was how smooth and creamy they were. A plain cheesecake taste, leaning a tad more toward cheesy than your typical “American” or New York style cheesecake, these were a perfect replacement for ice cream cravings.
I have declared my first go around with Food Drops a success, and am already debating which flavours to go with next time out. I noticed J-List has added Nattou flavoured drops, as well as Buta Don, and am curious as to how the more savory foods fair in candy form. Just as soon as they restock these awesome treats, I’ll be ordering more as I start my Food Drop tin collection.