Japan’s got a dizzyingly high number of different Kit Kat flavors, from wasabi to yubari melon to Okinawan sweet potato. Among my favorites is their strawberry flavor. It’s got a pitch-perfect mouthfeel, resembling a slightly tart milkshake. Though I wouldn’t quite characterize it as impossible to obtain stateside—it’s available in markets like Mitsuwa, as well as through Amazon—I much prefer it to the milk chocolate variety you’d find in your local drugstore.
So imagine my euphoria when, last week, Hershey’s announced that it’d be releasing the strawberry Kit Kat nationwide. The release is tied to a larger campaign called “Flavors of America.” It’s a cute little gimmick: Hershey’s has created flavors for various products in its portfolio (beyond the Kit Kat) to pay tribute to six states and the foods that define them, conjuring the feeling you'd get from a summer roadtrip.
Among the offerings are Hawaiian Coconut Almond Hershey’s Kisses (“Close your eyes and feel that warm summer breeze,” the company implores); Key Lime Pie- and Orange Cream Pop-Flavored Twizzlers for Florida; Reese’s Honey Roasted-Flavored Peanut Butter Cups for Georgia, replete with a hints of "flora, amber, and molasses”; Cherry Cheesecake chocolate bars for New York; and BBQ-flavored PayDay bars for Texas, with barbecue seasoned peanuts hugging a caramel center. As for the strawberry Kit Kat, it’s meant to pay homage to Oxnard's annual California Strawberry Festival, promising to evoke “the feeling of simple fruit bliss among the strawberry fields.”
Though I'm afraid I didn’t come across this flavor at Duane Reade yesterday, here’s to hoping it tastes like its Japanese antecedent. These flavors of America are available only while supplies last, which I presume will be through the summer. Bummer. In my opinion, strawberry Kit Kats should be available year-round. Everywhere.
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What’s your favorite Kit Kat flavor, Japanese or otherwise? Let us know in the comments.
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.