Ever since I was introduced to Haagen Dazs ice cream in Japan, I was fascinated and got hooked. The most common ones come in small 100ml cups, which are easy to eat and are not too large a portion, just nice for an after-meal desert. Although Haagen Dazs is widely available at home, the flavors are quite standardized and uninteresting. Those found in Japan are totally different, with each serving feeling like a drug, leaving me craving for more after each cup. The designs of the cups are always so attractive, with a variety of colors and pictures representative of the flavor.
Haagen Dazs in Japan is just so amazing for an ice cream fan like me. In every visit to Japan, I will definitely come across flavors not tried or seen before. Every month, new flavors will be released, sometimes even up to two or three, most of them limited editions which sell only for a period of time. The popular ones might make a comeback a year or two later, but most will not be repeated, at least that was the trend I observed in the four years that I have been following them. Sometimes they partner with convenience stores to offer special flavors not sold elsewhere.
From fruit-based like peach, mango, apple to tea-based like roasted green tea, chocolate-based like mont blanc, alcohol-based like rum and calvados, the wide range never seem to end. There are special anniversary ones like a few years ago, when they released the sakura and rose 30th anniversary series, which came in pretty pink cups. Then there is the vegetable series, can you imagine carrot and orange, tomato and cherry ice cream? Next up is the hana-mochi series, and in them was really chewy mochi, a traditional Japanese rice cake, paired with soft, milky ice cream. Another popular favorite is the cake series, like blueberry cheesecake, strawberry tiramisu, or the orange crème brulee. Till now I have not yet had a chance to try them, but from feedback and pictures, they look like real cakes, and are astonishingly delicious.
Apart from the usual ones in mini cups, they too have a crispy sandwich and crunchy bar series. There are also limited editions for these two, and their flavors usually differ from those in the mini cups. After a few years of following the website, I'm still left wondering at how the ice cream masters come up with so many exciting, unique and sensational varieties.
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I still clearly remember the day I first landed in Japan, and since then it has been my goal to set foot in all 47 prefectures. I try to look for less touristy areas, preferring the countryside to the city. I'm always amazed by the many Haagen Dazs and ice cream flavors available only in Japan.