Tirol chocolate has been around in Japan for as long as any of us can remember. Super tasty, available in dozens of flavours, and cheap enough even for elementary school kids to buy with their pocket-money, you’ll find these tiny squares of goodness in pretty much any convenience store or supermarket up and down the country. Occasionally, Tirol (or chiroru as it’s pronounced in Japanese) will release a handful of limited-edition flavours, fusing sweets like custard pudding and tiramisu together with their tasty choco to create unusual, moreish combinations.

But every now and then, they’ll try something really, really strange. Like Cheese & Pizza chocolate.

We could hardly believe our eyes when we stumbled upon Cheese & Pizza-flavoured Tirol chocolate in our local combini. They sounded positively revolting, and we couldn’t imagine for a second that the combination of white chocolate with cheese and tangy tomato could ever be a good thing, even for our resident tomato-lover Preston Phro. Still, in the name of science, and because we have a pretty major wicked streak, we grabbed an armful of bags and ran back to the office to see which of our unwitting coworkers were willing to be guinea pigs for us, asking only “Who wants to do a chocolate taste test?” before revealing the added ingredients.

Each of the bags we procured contained eight chocolates. We immediately began to suspect that the pizza-flavoured ones were going to be especially unpleasant, however, when we noticed that the bags contained just three of them but five of the cheese ones: it was almost as if Tirol was itself trying to warn us of something.

 ▼ Unwrapped, the chocolates actually look quite like mini cheeses.


▼ They also smell like cheese, to the point that I involuntarily recoiled on my first whiff.


Recruiting four of our beloved Japanese coworkers (yes, the legend that is Mr. Sato included), we sat down to record our taste testers’ first bites of these potentially vomit-inducing sweets. Lest they were unable to communicate after popping the chocolates into their mouths, we gave them three scraps of paper with different shapes drawn on them – maru (circle), sankaku (triangle), or batsu (x) – in accordance with the common Japanese method of grading things “good”, “so-so”/”needs work”, or “bad”, respectively.

Would it be batsu across the board, or would Cheese & Pizza chocolate turn out to be the surprise snack of the year? Let’s find out!

If you’ve had chance to try these for yourself, be sure to let us know what you thought of them. Personally, I’m genuinely torn on whether I like them or not. I have a couple of packets of leftovers right by my desk, so every so often I find myself popping one into my mouth, only to give a slight shudder the second that zingy cheese flavour tickles my taste buds. “God, these are awful,” I mutter to myself, knowing full well that I’ll be eating another one an hour from then…

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