Saturday, 26 March 2011

Choco Pie, Baby!

Choco Pie is arguably Korea’s favorite sweet snack. Invented by Orion Confectionery in the 70s , it is often described as a variation of the American Moon Pie, albeit smaller and with a bit of twist on the flavor. It is now oh-so popular all over the world. I guess there is something about milk chocolate covered soft crumbly cookies with a marshmallow cream center that satiates the sweets-lovin’ kid in us.

Orion, Lotte (Carrying the Ghana and Gold brands), and Crown make most of the Choco Pies here in Korea. Most kids love the Ghana brand most because it’s sweeter than the rest, but I personally don’t have much love for choco pies. Of the three Choco Pie brands, it is the original Orion brand that I like. Though not enough for me to buy the stuff myself. I only buy them to send to the store or as per request by my choco pie lovin’ brother.

While I do not really care for the traditional Korean Choco Pie, I do love the fusion choco pie in Korea called Charlteok Choco Pie. It is basically a Chocolate covered rice cake (pie) with a filling of either ground peanut, dark chocolate or black sesame. They are relatively smaller than the usual choco pies.

(From Left: Orion Choco Pie, Lotte Charlteok Choco Pie, Homeplus Charlteok Choco Pie)

Why do I like these rice cake choco pies? It’s because of the play in texture and flavor that the traditional choco pie lacks. The usual choco pie is basically just chocolate and cream, and since the cookie is soft and crumbly, it doesn’t exactly have texture play, it’s just sweet.

The Charlteok Choco Pie on the other hand is smooth, chewy and has that complexity that I like --- a mild sweetness from the chocolate cover, the bite and flavor of chewy rice cake, and the strong flavors of the filling.

Among the various Charlteok Choco Pies in the market, these are the two flavors I like best:

Home Plus’ Peanut-filled Choco Charlteok Pie – It has a strong peanut center that’s not really sweet, just peanuty with a hint of sesame flavor. The chocolate is sweet but mild too which
makes it easier to eat a lot of these in one sitting ~ definitely no umay factor!

Lotte’s Chocolate –filled Choco Charlteok Pie – I am not exactly a chocolate person, but this one, despite the grandslam of chocolate flavors in the pie, I really like. Why? Mainly because the chocolate center used is not the usual sweet milk chocolate thing, instead it’s a bit on the dark chocolate spectrum—not sweet at all , just , well, chocolatey. The rice cake really is a good foil for the sweetness and the strong chocolate flavors.

So that’s my mini-review of Korea’s Choco Pies. Have you tried a Choco Pie? :-)

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