26 September 2013

These Weird Chocolate Mushroom Shaped Biscuits

If the purpose of this blog is to create and maintain a catalogue of all the foods I have encountered, and a brief note on whether I will eat (or will eat again) that food, then let this post be one loud, resounding YES!!!

I bought these tasty treats in Lethbridge, Alberta.  I know what you’re thinking: Alberta? Lethbridge?  When did Alberta—let alone the rural southern part of Alberta—become such a trendsetter and the epicentre of novelty foodstuffs vaguely resembling non-novelty foodstuffs?  The easy answer is whenever the Real Canadian Superstore opened in Lethbridge, but the more accurate answer is whenever the Asian market found out about southern Alberta.

I was tempted to lump this, along with a few other recently discovered gems, under a generic “cartoon food update” header and be done with it.  But there’s something about these ChocoBoy chocolate mushrooms that sets them apart … and I think it’s the chocolate.  These biscuits really
don’t resemble food in the way the gummi burgers did, so I decided to treat them (along with the EveryBurger, coming up soon) separately.  The most important thing to keep in mind, which is something that I hope I stressed in the Cartoon Food post is that cartoon food (I mean that is onTV, not what you can buy in stores) sets a standard for that entire food.  For me, a cartoon mushroom must always be a white mushroom and always be on a pizza.  You know what mushrooms I'm talking about.

There are a lot of things I really liked about this snack.  For starters, I love the milk chocolate and biscuit combination.  It’s a pairing I really got into when I was in France—yes, France—and lived almost exclusively off of those biscuits with a thick layer of milk chocolate on top.   There’s something about the fusion of firm milk chocolate with crunchy biscuit that’s just … so … satisfying.  At first you might think the milk chocolate is too firm, but you would be mistaken.  Pushing down on that chocolately bulb is almost like plunging a French press: you get the same soft compression and slow resistance.  And just as you’re two rows of teeth are getting close to meeting, you snap the brittle biscuit because that tension—albeit slow, and albeit soft—has been building up and is finally released when it comes into contact with the biscuit. 

The second reason I really liked these choco-mushrooms is because they’re shaped like mushrooms.  In terms of balancing the biscuit-chocolate ratio, a mushroom design does make sense: it’s really nice to have all of the chocolate concentrated in one area so that you can decide which part, the chocolate or the biscuit, that you would like to really focus on and savour.  But on the other hand, isn’t it so weird to make a little cookie shaped like a mushroom?  And not even a normal white mushroom, but one of those weird, wild, really phallic mushrooms? Like, what a weird choice for a cookie.  But you know what? It works.  And it especially works for someone like me who would never actually eat a mushroom (or would I?).

The third great thing about this product is the packaging.  I remember going into the Shell when I was younger and being so jealous that they had entire box displays of Baby Bottle Pop or Ring Pop.  Until I realized you could just buy all that stuff in Costco, I really thought that it was a sign of success to have the display box.  These ChocoBoy mushrooms come in a similar display box, but obviously were not designed to be sold in the same way as Ring Pops (in part because there are too few in a box, but also because they’re all just loose in there and that would be disgusting).  At any rate, the packaging was a nice little bonus.  They didn’t have to do that, and you know, I really like when companies say to themselves (or so I imagine), “You know, we really don’t have to do this.  But I tell you what — I bet there’s a little girl out there who’s really going to appreciate it.”  (This is actually how I imagine a lot of businesses working.)  And this goes without saying, but the cartoon versions of the mushrooms on the packaging really wet my appetite.  At first I thought there was no way the real cookies would be anything like the depiction on the box, but then I opened the box and was like, wow, these cookies are really similar to this depiction.

Overall, this was a really positive experience for me.

A fellow food hero has already written about these and it turns out the ChocoBoy (a Korean company) chocolate mushrooms are a knock-off of the Japanese Kinoko No Yama cookies, which have been in circulation since 1975 and, according to the author, have been the leader in the "'sweets that look like mushrooms' market."  What is it with all these amazing food blogs lately?


After reading about an entire world of chocolatey biscuits that I didn't even know existed, I used the internet to track down a cache of Japanese snacks.  I discovered that the Korean supermarket a block away also carried Japanese products, and so I hotfooted it over and bought the following:
I also bought a box of the meiji Kinoko No Yama chocolate mushrooms, but they're not in the picture because I
gobbled them up immediately. A picture of the empty package will follow.  From left to right: some Japanese chocolatey biscuit in the shape of what I assume are pinecones (by meiji); some Japanese chocolatey biscuit in the shape of tree trunks (by meiji); a Korean chocolatey biscuit in the shape of koalas and called "Koala's March" (by Lotte).

And here's a picture of meiji's Kinoko No Yama, which I believe translates to "mushroom mountain."

Here are some pictures of the tree stumps:
The interior of the carton is similar to EveryBurger: two foil-wrapped plastic trays full of cookies.  The others only
haveone large foil pouch, which you will see later on.

Here's a closeup of the biscuits themselves.

And now the pinecones:

The opened package.
The individual biscuits.  These were my least favourite of all the snacks, and it definitely had to do with the biscuit
part,which was much more crumbly than the others. It almost had an artificial nutty taste.
The actual biscuit in comparison to how they are presented on the packaging.  I wish they would have included marzipan
facial hair and sunglasses on the actual biscuits.

Last but not least, Koala March:
And finally, Lotte's "Koala March," which I haven't tried yet, but
am really excited to open. Apparently all of the koalas are different,
and there's even an "appendicitis panda," although I believe
it is quite rare.

A brief note on my experiences: The link posted above to serious eats is a taste test between ChocoBoy's mushroom biscuits and meiji's Kinoko No Yama. The taste test revealed ChocoBoy to be the better biscuit, despite a general consensus that Kinoko No Yama is better quality. What sealed the deal in favour of ChocoBoy was the taste of the biscuit, which is a lot sweeter than Kinoko No Yama. My impression is that while both are great, I too must side with ChocoBoy. Unlike the taste testers at serious eats, I didn't really discern any difference in the quality of the two chocolates, but I definitely did prefer the ChocoBoy biscuit stems. One point in favour of Kinoko No Yama (although this might just be an issue of shopping) is that there were fewer broken biscuits.

Next I tried the tree stumps, which taste nearly identical to the meiji mushrooms. I love them for their novelty factor -- seriously, tree stumps? -- but ultimately I preferred the shape of the mushrooms when it comes to actually eating the biscuits. What I don't like about the tree stumps is that you pretty much have to take bites that are both chocolate and biscuit, whereas I like to be the master of my own destiny when it comes to what section of the cookie is in my mouth at what time.

Finally, I tried the pinecones and as I mentioned in one of the photo captions, these were my least favourite. The biscuit was decidedly different from the others, and I didn't enjoy it nearly as much. What I think I would have liked a lot more is if they had made the biscuit a hollow cylinder because I think I would really enjoy lodging the point against the back of my front teeth, and then crushing the pinecone by forcing my tongue into the hollow cookie.

I have yet to try the Koala March biscuits, but it is my understanding that they are merely the Korean version of the meiji pandas, which I have had and which I really, really liked. I've always been a fan of cookies that are chocolate pockets, which is exactly what these are. The added bonus is that each cookie has a printed image of, in this case, a koala. Apparently each koala is different, so I will be sure to update this post with some individual pictures of the biscuits themselves.

And finally, to close things out, here's the poem that was missing from the original post:

So you have a selective eating disorder, what could be worse?
What sins did your parents commit to burden you with this curse?

You won’t eat sandwiches, salads, or fettuccine alfredo.
You won’t eat red pepper, beet, cucumber, or tomato.
But do not despair; there’s more to this world.
There’s the entire Far East just waiting to be unfurled.
Korea has ChocoBoy, the chocolate-capped mushrooms
And Japan has Meiji, with its entire forest in bloom:
Mushrooms, and pinecones, and tree stumps — oh my!
A whole new world of chocolately biscuits for you to try!


  1. I love the way you describe food. You make me want to go and try them for myself, which I guess is the whole point, yes? I guess I will. Thanks for sharing you Food thoughts, they're awesome!

    1. And I love the way that you compliment me! Thanks!