Japan & Chocolate – An Addict’s Research

Photo Credit: CookieM on Flickr

I like chocolate. It’s not a strange thing and I wouldn’t say I am any worse than your average chocoholic. But the fact remains that I need a certain amount of chocolate. The trouble with this is that Japan isn’t big on treats. (I haven’t tried the sweet bean treats yet, maybe this visit. I’ll report back) And there was a scarcity of chocolate bars for a quick hit. How am I going to cope?

What’s out there?

When we were in Japan on our last visit, I had a trouble getting a good chocolate fix. Now this in the end was probably good for me, I did end up losing a bit of weight, but that was only a week or so. This will be 2 months. Steps must be taken, plans must be made.

On our last visit the main sources of chocolate that I found were Kit Kat bar and Pocky. Now my husband loves Kit Kat, but I’m not so big on Kit Kat, I’m more the Mars bar, don’t waste my time with wafers and nuts type person. Japan though, seems to favour my husband’s thinking. They love the Kit Kat.

They have all kinds of flavours that are only in Asia. The kind people at NPR, did a taste test for us, to help us along the way.

I think for me the winner looks like:

Raspberry Passionfruit

Here’s what the testers thought:

  • Inskeep: A hint of tart.
  • Tarabay: It smells like Cherry Ripe. [A Cadbury candy bar, it turns out – ed.]
  • Hamilton: Actually tastes like one of those chocolate-covered cherries.
  • Holmes: Appropriately, it tastes like a slightly fruity Kit Kat.
  • Jarenwattananon: Complex, fruity, dark. Yes, I used these words to describe a Kit Kat.

I do like chocolate covered cherries and Cherry Blossoms, so this may be a good go to chocolate hit. Of course, I will be having to try the other types too, but that will be just for research.=)

Another article on Kit Kat in Japan can be found here.

It explains why Kit Kat is so popular:

So what’s the secret to the success of the Kit Kat brand in Japan? It turns out that the answer is part marketing and part linguistic coincidence. Kit Kat is very similar to the phrase “kitto katsu”, which is a common sentiment of good luck (the phrase literally means “You shall surely win!”). Because of this, Kit Kats have become a small good luck charm given out to students taking school entrance exams.

The other easy access chocolate I found was Pocky. Pocky is fun and cute and it is easy to find, even now in Canada in a middle of no-where province. The Asian Food Grocer describes Pocky this way:

Pocky is a delicious, fun biscuit dessert from Japan. The name “Pocky” is derived from the sound that this crispy snack makes when eaten.

Pocky comes in various flavours, one of which is Chocolate. They are fun to eat and tasty, but lots of wafer again.

So in a desire to getting a better hit of chocolate with less wafer I did a bit of research and found this site on what the Japanese think about their chocolate bar brands.

It doesn’t look like Morinaga Koeda will be the brand for me:

The chocolate itself isn’t anything special. It’s fairly bland, standard issue “factory” milk chocolate – the sort of thing millions of confectionery companies use, and completely run-of-the-mill.

Here’s also a review of the Meiji Milk chocolate bar.

Actually after seeing that list of chocolate at askwhatjapanthinks. I am feeling less worried. If I have to try them all, to find what I need. So be it.

There is however one thing I must buy.the cutest chocolate ever!

Little, tiny, adorable chocolate mushrooms! (I have a thing for mushrooms) And did you see how adorable they are?!

4 Responses to “Japan & Chocolate – An Addict’s Research”

  1. Nate  on January 31st, 2011

    Since I’m currently in Japan (and a fellow chocolate lover), I believe I have some insight for you.

    Any supermarket will have Meiji, Lotte and Ghana brand chocolates. Those first two are the mainstays. I’m a lover of darker chocolate (which is very easy to find here) and I find that Ghana’s flavor and texture is the best. I know a variety of other chocolate lovers who agree.

    It’s true that there’s a lot of biscuit-based chocolate but aside from that, most of the chocolate is in solid milk/dark form. You can also find chocolate-covered macadamias and almonds (though you mentioned you’re not too keen on those).

    I recommend you try:
    Ghana – For your straight plain (yet delicious) chocolate fix
    Kinoko no Yama – A biscuit based one with milk chocolate but delicious (especially straight out of the fridge). They also look like little mushrooms.
    Ko-Eda – These come in a rectangular red/white box and if I’m not mistaken, only have Japanese on the box. The chocolate sticks inside are meant to look like little tree branches.

    Hope this helps and welcome to Japan!

  2. Sasksak  on January 31st, 2011

    Oh wow! Thank you so much Nate! When we were there last time, we didn’t get groceries so I see I was missing out on a lot.
    I too love the dark chocolate, so I am really going to take your suggestions to heart.
    And mushroom and tree branch chocolates, you couldn’t have suggested more perfect things for me.
    This is the best comment ever! Thank you!

  3. Secret Japanese Hiroshi Montana  on August 4th, 2011

    Top Pic.
    “Appolo chocolate”
    Yes,they seem like space crafts of Apollo program.

  4. sasksak  on August 8th, 2011

    Ah! Thank you Hiroshi Montana for the explanation. I didn’t know that.

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