Bokksu – December 2017 Review

Happy New Year!  To kick off 2018, Bokksu has curated a box around “Modern Kyoto”, giving a fresh look at Japan’s most famous historical city.

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season!  I myself took an extended vacation just to be with family and recharge for the new year.  While 2018 hasn’t exactly started as I hoped it would, I’m looking forward to the possibilities this year holds.  And in the spirit of looking forward, Bokksu has chosen for January’s box to showcase the modernity of a very traditional city.

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Whew!  Sorry this review is a bit late!  I received the box in early January, a few days after I got back from my Christmas/New Years holiday, but I’ve gotten a bit behind and am only just managing to post this.

Kyoto is best known for its beautiful temples and palaces, offering a wealth of history and knowledge.  Although it is preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage city, Kyoto is also constantly evolving and changing to stay contemporary.  Tokyo is a bustling and modern metropolis, but Kyoto gracefully melds the past with the future to showcase the wide spectrum of Japanese culture.

The information card this month gives some background on Kyoto and its history, as well as important facts for each snack such as allergen information.  Bokksu’s information cards are always beautifully presented and well laid out.

Young Sardine Pepper Senbei by Food Systems

Bokksu almost always includes at least one senbei, or puffed rice cracker, each month.  This one is flavored with sardines and pepper.  You definitely get the salty, ocean-y taste first that complements the snap of the cracker well, followed by a kick of peppery heat.  I love all things salty and spicy, so this was a delightful start to the box!

Matcha + Chocolate Azuki Beans by Denroku

Azuki beans, or red beans, are a traditional ingredient in Japanese cuisine that are used to provide a sweet, sugary flavor.  These soft pasty beans are dipped in white chocolate and covered in matcha powder, to balance the sweetness with a fresh taste.  They are dangerously delicious!  I’m glad they’re pre-portioned in little bags, because I could sit on my couch all day popping these little bites of sweetness.

Natural Yeast Bread Matcha by Day Plus

This bread is so fluffy and sweet, with the lightest airiest texture.  It’s not at all dry, in spite of its overseas journey, and has the lightest aftertaste of matcha.  Most traditional Japanese breads that I’ve tried are very doughy, which complements the sweetness and makes it almost more of a dessert.

Yuzu Sandwich Cookie by Seikado

These treats have a yuzu filling sandwiched between two deliciously soft sweet cookies, like a super-elevated Fig Newton!  The jelly-like filling has a citrus flavor that is ever so slightly tart, with a more delicate sweetness than orange or lemon.  The cookies are flavored simply with sugar and have a chewy bend to them.  These might be one of my favorite snacks in the box!

Ofu Smoked Crackers by Itofu

These seasoned crackers have a salty and smoky flavor, and are probably best paired with a refreshing beer (per the packaging).  They’re crispy and crunchy, and mixed with peanuts make an interesting taste.  Admittedly I’m not a nut person, so I spent most of my time picking through for the crackers, but with this delicious seasoning blend, even I don’t mind finishing the peanuts!

Kyoyuzen Candy Mix by Daimonii Ame Honpo

Okay, I lied.  These might be my favorite in the box.  Made by one of the oldest candy artisans in Kyoto, these little sugar tiles look like beautiful stained glass pieces!  Each color represents a different fruity flavor, but the fruit notes are delicate and subtle.  Definitely a great treat that harmonizes lovely simple flavors with beautiful presentation.

Kyoto Matcha Baumkuchen by Maeda Seika

This Japanese twist on a traditional German treat has layers of light flaky cake surrounding a creamy matcha filling.  These were a delightful snack paired with tea, although the green tea matcha cream was a bit too sweet for me on its own.

Ararezutsumi by Ogura Sansou

This is a thin sweet wafer around a salty senbei cracker.  I didn’t get too much sweetness from the wafer, mostly the black sesame aroma from the seeds baked into it.  I’m not big on sesame, so this wasn’t my favorite, but I did really enjoy the senbei in the center.  It had the snap of a cracker, with a glossy sort of caramelization on the outside that was sweeter to me than the wafer.  Definitely a unique snack that you won’t see often stateside.

Koto Matcha Milk Rusk by Maeda Seika

If you’ve followed my reviews, you know that I love rusks, which are little slices of baguettes that have been twice-baked so they’re extra crispy.  This one in particular has a beautiful swirl of matcha tea, which gives it a sweet fresh flavor.  But what surprised me is how buttery it is!  It reminds me of buttered popcorn, although I can’t actually say where the flavor comes from.  It goes well with the sugar crystal-y outside for sure, and is definitely a great treat.

Saku Saku Cacao by Furansuya Seika

This cookie sandwich.  Wow.  The outside is a crisp, light chocolate-y flavor that has an almost caramelized, burnt-sugar sweetness.  But the inside is the magic: it’s a rich, ganache-like chocolate filling, and the creaminess is perfect with the crumble of the cookie outside.  I think I’m going to go eat the other one right now.

Hoshu Tea by Kagoshima Seicha

This tea is a blend of matcha and sencha, so it is a little earthier than typical fresh matcha, which is a lovely choice for the cold winter we’ve been having.  I’ve been trying to drink more tea lately, and this seems like a healthier option than the typical sweet fruit teas that I’m trying to move away from.

Lucky Cat Cup

This adorable cup is a special bonus gift from Bokksu!  The clear sides are decorated with little lucky cat symbols, where each waving black and white kitty has a little golden charm on its collar to bring luck and fortune.  The cup is not insulated as far as I can tell, so I wouldn’t use it for hot drinks, and I’m not sure if it’s dishwasher safe, but I love the pattern and the shape and can’t wait to use it!

Overall, another great box from Bokksu!  I don’t know that it represented modern Kyoto especially, since I didn’t make too much of a connection between theme and box contents, but you honestly can’t argue with the quality of the snacks.  My favorites are probably the adzuki beans, the sugar candies, the chocolate cookie, the matcha rusk, the yuzu cookie… oh gosh there are so very few things I didn’t like!


PR sample.  All opinions are my own, and no compensation was received for this review.



I'm a researcher for a pharmaceutical company in Maryland. Most of my money goes toward spoiling my cat. The rest of it goes to subscription boxes.

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