Sounds like an odd combination, yes?
Note: Read Technoodling’s write-up of this KitKat taste test.
To my mind, I am no geek. I own a sufficient number of gadgets in order to go about my life: a Nokia C6-01, two iPod nanos (a 1st and 4th generation), a Canon Powershot G7, a Canon EOS 400D SLR, 3 camera lenses: 17-85mm, 50mm, 60mm (that I haul around in a Lowepro bag), a Manfrotto M-Y Compact 3W tripod, a black Mac laptop, and a digital voice recorder. As you can see, it’s an immensely abbreviated list that’s much ridiculed by my more gadget-inclined friends. “Lor, you’re embarrassing! And outdated!” They hoot.
At home however, where I do the bulk of my work, I have a powerful desktop set-up and a killer printer-scanner-fax-copier. It’s a system that was built from the ground-up by my best friend, Bal, who’s a software and hardware nut. I won’t go into the specs of my machines because I wouldn’t know how quite frankly, but let’s just say that I don’t spend much time waiting around for anything to download or upload or load, even.
I’m so tech-ignorant that I only just recently found out what a Kinect is, and I’m still clueless to the difference between an Xbox and a Wii. Then, when my geek god friend shows off the features of his impressive HTC 7 Mozart phone, I ooh and aah most appropriately but don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. Don’t even get me started on my other friend’s agonized contemplations over whether he should get an iPad or the new iPhone 4. I feel my eyes glazing over faster than the ones on the conveyor belt at Krispy Kreme.
So, I’m quite amused when Charo Nuguid – yes, my friend and a Tech blogger (!) – asks me if I’d participate in a “KitKat taste test for this Tech blog I write for.”
Wait. Food on a Tech blog? There’s a major disconnect here.
The site that Charo writes for is Technoodling, a 3-month old upstart maintained by eight bloggers, all geeks and gadget-inclined. I’m immediately intimidated. “Charo, what could I possibly have to contribute?” I wail. “We just want to tap your food expertise so that we can perform this ‘tasting’ more credibly,” is her calm reply. She sends me a link to their first KitKat taste test. Though it’s written by Tech bloggers, even I can understand it and I’m taken by the site’s “approachability.” Apparently, it’s done deliberately because as Technoodling editor-in-chief Jason de Villa tells me, “The site isn’t hardcore Tech. We also touch on other interests that Tech-inclined people have. Like food.” My ears perk up instantly.
We taste five varieties from Japan bequeathed to the Technoodling staff. I’m impressed with the Technoodlers’ (er, may I call them that?) preparedness: our table is laid out with glasses of water, saucers and knives, and most importantly, crackers. At my food consultancy job, we also use crackers as a way to cleanse the palate.
- me taking a photo of the KitKat
The taste test itself is rather casual but no less effective. When I’m asked which flavors we should start with, I suggest, “Let’s begin with the blander flavors and then move on to the stronger ones.” So we divvy up a couple of KitKat bars and each of us tastes a tidbit. Charo is the official photographer and a few of the crew throw down their Blackberries to record the proceedings. (One of the units even has a built-in stand. Good GOD!)
The Flan KitKat with the rather bemusing name, “Kobe Pudding flavor” is white and possesses a milky-orange undertone. Harmless but reminds me of a supermarket choco-covered wafer.
The Brown Rice Tea KitKat smells – strangely enough – like a green tea latte. It’s what I describe as a dreary taupe color with a prominent taste similar to the house tea served at Shinjuku. Charo sums it up more succinctly: “It’s the color of the baby lizard that died in my room yesterday.” We all wrinkle our noses in unison.
Milky with a subtle green tea note is the characteristic of the Green Tea KitKat. “Like the Matcha Tea Latte at Starbucks,” notes Kris.
A queer sort, the Apple KitKat is, as Howard describes it, “Zesto apple in chocolate bar form.” I have to agree. The chocolate flavor creeps in at the end with an edgy apple note clinging alongside. “Ayoko.” Announces Howard. “Lumalaban ang apple and chocolate.”
- Banana-Chili KitKat box is the second from the bottom
There’s a photo of what appears to be red powder on the last box of KitKat. “Do you know what that is, Lori?” Art asks, pointing at the photo. I look. “Oh, that’s shichimi t?garashi, Japanese chili powder.” They all look at me, goggle-eyed. “And there’s a banana, so it must be banana-chili KitKat,” I conclude. “At least now we know what it is!” Jason throws up his hands exultantly. Believe it or not, this is my favorite of the KitKat variants. Chocolate courses through the taste buds, then there’s a flash of banana before a chili tickle-tingle sets in. “Love it!” I see I’ve scribbled in my notes.
- (left-right): Charo, me, Art, Jason, Howard, Kris
We try other chocolates, tasting testing, noting our observations. When we’re done, we hang around for almost two hours more and I bombard these peerless – to my mind – Tech gods who bowl me over with their knowledge and wit. I now know more about Technology and the Tech blogging world (chismis [gossip!] included). Despite my initial misgivings, I’ve never been around a better bunch of geeks and Jason, Howard, Kris, Art, and Charo all make me feel so comfortable. Not once am I made to feel stupid or “tech-dumb,” even though I notice that all their phones are Blackberries and iPhones (don’t ask me what models, I haven’t a clue) and the cameras they’re using are big-ass SLRs and late-model Canons.
When I get up to go, Jason asks me if I have “Dropbox.” “Yes, it’s on my computer,” I reply. “The group laughs encouragingly. “I also use YouSendIt,” I wink. Loud chuckles all around. “You just may become a geek yet,” Kris smiles knowingly. Maybe.