Posts tagged ‘chocolate’

Fasten on the Chocolate

Lately, I’ve been reading about some odd chocolate pairings with sea salt, bacon and even wasabi. But how about chocolate with a touch of cubic zirconia?:

I’m drooling over my keyboard just looking at this picture — the perfect combination of cute and addicting. \(^o^)/

Former fashion model Tadaaki Wakamatsu began creating these mouthwatering jewelry pieces back in 2000 just to keep people smiling through the Y2K economic slump. His company, Q-pot, has since surfaced in high-fashion boutiques and department stores. It sounds strange to mesh food with fashion, but in the land of talking peanuts does it really seem so far-fetched?:

iPhone Chocolate Bar Case

Biscuit keychain

Strawberry cake pendant

Q-pot has been making blogosphere headlines through their fanciful collaborations with Disney, French sweets company Fauchon and Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Who would’ve thought that fashion-form desserts would be such a lucrative business. Just shows that anything is possible!

Himawari

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May 26, 2010 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment

I *Heart* Chocolate

It’s that time of year when Japanese women contemplate what to get for the men in their life. So what do they give? CHOCOLATE!

Valentine’s Day is yet another occasion to sell, sell, sell. Jumping on V-Day fever, chocolate shops get inventive with their creations. Think animal-shaped cakes, multi-colored ganache cubes, and creamy morsels sprinkled with matcha green tea powder. Even if you’re not a fan of cacao, your taste buds will force you to take a bite

For those extra-special men, most women forgo store-bought treats and work their magic in the kitchen, melting chocolate chips over a double-pot boiler and cooling it in a heart-shaped frame. I saw a flyer on Don Quijote’s site that offers deals on hand-mixers, fondue sets, chocolate fountains and food scales. Just looking at it made me want to get in on the action and whip up a bowl of velvety ganache. Though I’d probably eat it myself instead of giving it away. ^^

A box of homemade chocolates is far more precious than store chocolates because it takes time and effort to make. “Kokoro wo komete” (‘from the heart’) is the phrase often used. A while back, I was playing this one dating sim for Nintendo DS, Tokimeki Memorial, where I could either buy the boy I liked a box of chocolates or make it. If I made it myself, I was nearly guaranteed he’d ask me out. Haha! My stylus pen got a good workout stirring that virtual bowl of chocolate! \(^o^)/

Himawari

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japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more

February 2, 2010 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

Have a Kit Kat!

Have a Kit Kat!

If you’re ever in Japan, there’s only one thing I suggest buying: Kit Kat!

Because you’re not getting just any old Kit Kat, but a limited-edition piece of candy. That’s right, in different parts of the country you’ll find flavors you won’t get elsewhere. In the U.S., Kit Kat comes in just one flavor — chocolate — but check out how many Japan has:

plum soda
sour orange
chocolate mango pudding
Ramune
white
sports drink flavor
apple vinegar
espresso coffee
kinako
green tea
soy sauce
mango
cherry blossom
caramel and salt
grilled corn
apple
…and the list goes on.

Flavored Kit Kats began in the year 2000 with strawberry. It was a huge hit, so the following year they launched orange — and the rest is tastebud history. I find the most interesting flavors at the airport gift shop, though sometimes they come out of vending machines along some busy Tokyo streetcorner. I have to admit, some flavors are weird. Like why would you want soy sauce in your chocolate?? Though I’ve tried that one and strangely enough, it’s not bad.

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The psychology of ‘limited edition Kit Kats’ is such a brilliant idea because it compels you to collect them all, regardless of whether you’re actually going to eat them or not. For me, I just want the boxes to add them to my wall collection.

For those who’ve been to Japan, what’s the most interesting flavor you’ve come across? Tell me!!

Himawari

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September 1, 2009 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

Sweets for Men

“Sweets Otoko (Man)” is the new buzzword describing the growing number of Japanese men buying up desserts these days as shops and cafes hone in on this untapped demographic. News is going around that more men are visiting the local ‘dessert buffet,’ which has been a notoriously female-only affair.

For those who don’t know, ‘dessert buffets’ are like salad bars: you pay a set fee to stuff your face. Sometimes there’s a time limit and oftentimes there’s a line out the door. Eating events like these only come a few times a month for a limited number of hours, so it becomes a big spectacle.

I could see why men up until now have been so intimidated by swarms of women running after a tray of creme brulee. Though these days, men are starting to arrive with their own crew of sugar-happy friends.

I’ve mentioned here before the popularity of fresh caramels. And more recently you’ll see caramels seasoned with pepper, salt, or even wasabi (!?) And if you don’t think size matters, think again. The website Men’s Sweets Cafe lists an assortment of extra large desserts, from super-size chocolate cake to whipping cream-filled mochi. That’s more bang for your bundt cake!

lf-001-03
Personally, I’d love to try this chocolate pudding. It’s light on sugar and has hints of salt and cinnamon. It looks so soft and velvety it makes me want to drink it down like milk.

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Of course, Pocky was the true innovator of this ‘for men’ trend. Men’s Pocky seemed silly at the time, but it did stir interest. It’s no different from regular Pocky other than being coated in dark chocolate. But most straight guys wouldn’t be caught nibbling on a pink stick.

menspocky-sm
It almost feels like reverse discrimination to see all these delicious desserts being labeled for men. They look so good and who says women don’t enjoy dark chocolate, salt and pepper in their sweets? As a strong, liberated female, I’m making a plea to take our desserts back. Who’s with me?!

Himawari

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japanizmo, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more

July 21, 2009 at 11:14 am Leave a comment

Candy by Region

Morinaga, a major brand in Japan, produces different flavors of soft Hi-Chew candy — kinda like Starburst fruit chews — for different areas of the country, based on what type of fruit grows there. Each location has something special to offer that you can’t find anywhere else, just like with the Hello Kitty charms that Himawari loves.

If you live in Tohoku (which means “northeast”), for example, you get to enjoy pear-flavored Hi-Chew, because Yamagata Prefecture in that region produces a large amount of Japan’s La France pears. If you live in Kyushu (the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands), the same type of candy comes in limited-edition Dekopon flavor. Dekopons are large, seedless, sweet oranges with a funny shape: a large bump on top.

dscf5400_th

Because you can’t enjoy either of these treats unless you travel to Tohoku or Kyushu, they make excellent souvenirs. Visitors collect them and take them home for bragging rights. Besides, who needs real fruit? Actual La France pears are expensive these days: $5-6 dollars each. Pear Hi-Chew lasts longer, provides more bang for your buck, and tastes delicious.

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Tohoku also carries zunda flavor Kit-Kats from Nestle. At first, these threw me for a loop. I was scared that the picture on the box was wasabi (maybe I need better glasses), but it’s really sweetened, mashed edamame beans. They’re creamy, almost like white chocolate! I highly recommend these Kit Kats, if for no other reason than to say you’ve tried them, but you might have to become penpals with someone from Tohoku in order to get some.

Sarah S.

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January 27, 2009 at 10:53 am Leave a comment


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