Motifs and ingredients connect with Japanese culture’s appreciation of all four seasons.
Tokyo’s Tsukiji has become practically synonymous with sushi, what with the neighborhood being the site of Japan’s largest seafood market and all. But while the quintessential Tsukiji dining experience often involves eating at a restaurant with a simple wooden counter and a concrete floor, the posh Ginza district is just a three-minute subway ride away.
Since the two districts rub elbows, Ginza-based confectioner Sembikiya has a shop in Tsukiji, and starting November 7, the store will be the one and only place you’ll be able to get your hands on the company’s gorgeous Irodori chocolates.
The word irodori literally means “colors” in Japanese, but it has a certain poetic quality that lends itself particularly well to discussing the changing scenery of the seasons. Because of that, the Irodori chocolate set is made up of four pieces, each corresponding to a different time of year.
The Haru (“Spring”) chocolate features a cherry blossom motif, strawberry kirsch brandy flavoring, and a ganache chocolate cream with Japanese-grown Amao strawberries.
Natsu (“Summer”) replaces the sakura with an auspicious four-leaf clover and makes use of peach ganache and pate de fruit jelly.
Aki (“Autumn”), adorned with a golden maple leaf, has chestnut shochu liqueur and ganache as its star ingredients.
And finally, Fuyu (“Winter”) rounds off the package with kumquat liqueur and ganache.
The Irodori confectioneries received the prestigious Gold Tablet award at the recent Salon du Chocolat exhibition in Paris, but they’re a relatively affordable luxury, priced at 1,944 yen (US$19) for the pack of four. However, while their price may not make them incredibly exclusive, their limited quantities will, as Sembikiya will be producing only 100 sets, and has said it will not be making a second batch.
Sembikiya (Tsukiji branch) / 千疋屋（築地店）
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 3-7-2, Tsukiji Sky Building 1st floor
Open 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Closed Sundays, holidays, and at New Year’s