Now, we may have a fondness for unique Kit Kat flavors here in Japan, but we also love original Häagen-Dazs flavors as well, from rose and sakura flower to vegetable flavors featuring carrots and tomatoes. Well, once again, Häagen-Dazs tempts us with an offering of cold, sweet goodness, and this time it’s the Häagen-Dazs Japonais “Vanilla and kinako soybean powder with brown sugar syrup”. That’s quite a name for an ice cream flavor, isn’t it?

It so happens they’re only available from the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, and naturally we had to try one when they came out earlier this week. So, how was the ice cream? Sweet, syrupy heaven!

This is actually the second “Japonais” (Japan-themed) flavor that Häagen-Dazs has come out with. Last year, they gave us the Japonais “Matcha (green tea) and azuki (red beans)” which was apparently quite well-received. Let’s see how this new flavor measured up.

▼Here’s the container of the ice cream. The new Japonais flavor comes in a 109ml cup for a price of 360 yen (US$3.71).

▼Even the picture on the lid looks tantalizing, with the syrup and red bean paste.ice 2-2

▼A look at the container from some other angles.
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▼Here’s the ice cream unveiled! The top is covered with brown sugar syrup.

▼And we have our first bite … mmmmhargendatz-13

▼The  ice cream is vanilla-based, combined with condensed milk sorbet containing just a hint of salt and red bean paste topped with a rich, fragrant kinako soybean powder and brown sugar syrup sauce.ice 7

And how did the ice cream taste ? Well, we have to hand it to the folks at Häagen-Dazs; they did a marvelous job of combining western ice cream with Japanese ingredients. Soybean powder and brown sugar syrup are a classic combination that has long been used in various Japanese desserts, and they mixed incredibly smoothly with the relatively simple taste of vanilla ice cream. The sauce was quite rich, and yes, it was strongly sweet, but you could also clearly taste the soybean powder, which added depth to the overall flavor.

While the traditional Japanese ingredients aren’t what you would expect in an ice cream, we thought the result in this case was delightful, and we have a feeling this product could be a big hit, because not only do kinako and brown sugar syrup simply taste good, they’re likely  to have a nostalgic appeal for the Japanese as well. Well, thanks to Häagen-Dazs, we have at least one thing we can look forward to as the weather gets warmer. We certainly would love to see more in their Japonais line of ice cream, because as far as we know, good and delicious things tend to happen when east meets west in the world of sweets!

Reference: Häagen-Dazs website
Photos: RocketNews24