Snack Nation: Glico Banana au Lait

Snack Nation: Glico Banana au Lait

Japanese drinks with real milk rule the school, so of course this banana-flavored spin-off of Glico's popular Cafe au Lait series is going to be amazing
Banana au Lait
This container shape is extremely rare for Japan, giving Glico's au Lait line another leg up on the competition.

There are two kind of milky drinks in Japan: the kind with fake milk that can survive years without refrigeration and the kind with real milk that have a special spot in the convenience store fridge. When in doubt, always go for the latter as the fresh dairy brings a pleasant creamy quality to the item. And whether you call it "mono no aware" or not, there is something dramatic about the ephemerality of a drink with an actual expiration date.

A standout in Japanese beverages with actual milk is Glico's Cafe au Lait (Cafe Ole), which is made up of half milk, half coffee and lots and lots of sugar. The retro-designed, cylindrical packaging was such a great product innovation that it only made sense to produce more flavors. So Glico recently added a few more treats to its arsenal: a Mattcha au Lait (Green Tea Milk) and a Banana au Lait.

The most unusual of the line-up, we went with the Banana au Lait. The drink is a bit of a stretch from the series' basic idea of "caffeinated afternoon beverage plus milk" but the combination is a winner. With just one percent real fruit juice, Banana au Lait manages to taste like a thick banana smoothie. It's definitely on the sweet side, but the mellow banana somehow makes this feel nutritious rather than teeth-rotting.

Glico has yet to make an official product page for Banana au Lait, so we doubt this will last very long on shelves. Grab the drink while you can, and prepare to greatly please the three year-old inside of you.

W. David Marx was CNNGo's initial Tokyo City Editor. His writing has also appeared in magazines such as GQ, Brutus, Weekly Diamond, and Nylon, as well as his web joural Néojaponisme.

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