chocolate

ChocolaTexture offers nine flavors of chocolate… without changing the flavor at all

When it comes to food, I’ve always placed a higher emphasis on texture rather than the actual taste of it. While I love peanut butter or finely chopped almonds, for example, the nuts themselves in their natural form usually make me gag.

So it was with great excitement that I learned about ChocolaTexture, which is a range of nine chocolates all using the exact same recipe but crafted in different shapes and textures. As a result each chocolate is said to have a distinct “taste” despite being made from the exact same ingredients.

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Sailor Moon sweetness arrives as Babbi chocolates for Valentines, and with extra goodies too!

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, stores across Japan are sure to be painted chocolate-brown in the coming weeks. Yes, chocolate makers here can count on doing brisk business in the days leading up to February 14, as Valentine’s Day is traditionally a day in Japan when women give gifts of chocolate to men, and shops will typically have whole areas devoted to chocolates of every shape, flavor and price range imaginable. Isetan Department Store is no exception, and one of the chocolates they’ll have on offer this year is … a beautiful creation from popular Italian chocolate manufacturer BABBI that features Sailor Moon and her guardian soldiers!

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Gear up for Valentine’s Day with this lipstick…chocolate!

At a glance, these lipsticks look like any other you can find at your local drugstore. However, this Valentine’s Day, you can buy a whole set of them for your loved one and watch them chomp down on these deliciously colorful lipstick-shaped chocolates!

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Out of this world Valentine’s chocolates are (almost) too gorgeous to eat

Chilly January is drawing to a close and that means that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Here in Japan, Valentine chocolates are big business, which means shops pull out all the stops to create delicacies as easy on the eyes as they are sweet in your mouth. We’ve picked our favorites for this year, so whether you are buying for your lover or yourself, check out these dainty nibbles!

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Cheese & Pizza chocolate!? We force-feed our coworkers the weirdest Japanese snack ever

Tirol chocolate has been around in Japan for as long as any of us can remember. Super tasty, available in dozens of flavours, and cheap enough even for elementary school kids to buy with their pocket-money, you’ll find these tiny squares of goodness in pretty much any convenience store or supermarket up and down the country. Occasionally, Tirol (or chiroru as it’s pronounced in Japanese) will release a handful of limited-edition flavours, fusing sweets like custard pudding and tiramisu together with their tasty choco to create unusual, moreish combinations.

But every now and then, they’ll try something really, really strange. Like Cheese & Pizza chocolate.

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We buy a $45 Lucky Bag from posh chocolatiers Godiva so you don’t have to

New Year in Japan means family time, food with very specific meanings, and of course shopping. And one of our favourite things about this time of year is the opportunity to buy Lucky Bags (fukubukuro). As the name implies, these are bags containing a lucky dip of items from your store of choice – so you don’t know what loot you’ve got until after you’ve parted with your cash.

Sometimes, you can hit the jackpot with fukubukuro – last year, for example, our very own Mr. Sato was ecstatic to get his hands on a MacBook Air. But here at RocketNews24 we like our tech to come with a side order of luxury chocolate, so when we heard that upmarket chocolatier Godiva were selling Lucky Bags for 5,400 yen (US$45), we sent our reporter P.K. Sanjun down to buy one. Here’s what he got!

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Melt your lover’s heart with these limited edition Valentine’s Day Krispy Kreme donuts

Krispy Kreme Japan is shooting Cupid’s arrows again this year. Apparently the 2014 limited edition Valentine’s Day donuts were a hit because they are not only coming back, they’ll be better than ever. The donut powerhouse has created four new delectable, chocolatey selections and as V-Day tends to be a girl-confessing-her-love-to-boy-by-giving-chocolates kind of holiday in Japan, there are inevitably going to be a lot of guys with happy tummies this coming February 14. Luckily for all the singles and ladies out there, we don’t have to wait for our suitors to give us delicious chocolate donuts, we can start enjoying them starting January 7, 2015.

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Happy Pocky Day! Japan celebrates with huge towers and crazy art featuring the beloved snack

The vagaries of reading in Japanese mean that often the same text or numbers can be said a variety of ways. For example, some of the many readings for 2 and 9 and “ni” and “ku,” which combine to form niku, the Japanese word for “meat,” which is how November 29 became known in some circles as Meat Day. Going from the carnivorous to the carnal, 8 can be read as “hai,” making both November 28 and February 8 observed as Knee-High Socks Days.

Sometimes, though, you don’t need pun-filled pronunciations for an excuse to start a pseudo-holiday. Writing November 11 all in numerals gets you 11-11, and all those vertical lines look to some like a handful of enticing Pocky sticks. And so, this week Japan celebrated Pocky Day by not only devouring boxes of the stuff, but by turning the chocolate-covered treats into works of physical and photographic art.

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Plan way, way ahead with Sailor Moon Valentine’s Day chocolates

It feels too early to be writing about Christmas, and downright blasphemous to be writing about Valentine’s Day. Nevertheless, Sailor Moon Valentine’s Day chocolates have been announced, and despite their early arrival, they might be worth pre-ordering, because they look delightful.

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Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!

Famous Japanese confectioner Glico has been bringing us iconic Japanese sweets like Pretz and Pocky for decades. Now they have a real treat in store for us, thanks to an extra-special line-up to celebrate the upcoming 3-D movie, Stand By Me Doraemon.

The new specially marked packs include a hidden secret: 3-D moving images of Doraemon that come to life in your home. But these aren’t just any images. They’re created by you, with your very own colours and designs transformed into unbelievable, moving images, each with Doraemon acting out a fun scene before your very eyes! Check out all the different designs after the jump.

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Tokyo and Osaka girls become yabai friends with world’s first long-distance purikura

Do you remember the first time you stepped inside a puri-kura booth? Short for “Print Club”, these booths that produce small photo stickers seemed like a passing fad to me when the machines first came out in 1995, but fast forward 19 years and the club is still going strong. And why not? Just hop in with your friends or special someone, make goofy faces, doodle some nicknames or hearts, then presto! Out comes a sheet of colorful stickers.

The booths themselves have come a long way during that time, incorporating a vast amount of technological wizardry, but now M&M’S Japan has unleashed an altogether different kind of beast. For a special event held on May 24, the confection giant installed a pair of booths, one in Tokyo and one in Osaka, collectively dubbed the “Friends Maker”, the world’s first puri-kura machine that allows total strangers in separate booths to make photo stickers together.

Video coverage of the event was released on May 30 and it looks like so much fun, we wish for the candy company would set up these machines in every city!

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We head to France to try Nutella sushi

We’ve brought you sushi doughnuts from Thailand and even cat sushi, but take a look at this Nutella sushi from France. Our office was so intrigued by the sweet Japan-inspired concoction that we sent one of our Japanese reporters over to check it out.

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We try extra-unique souvenir sold by soon-to-be world heritage site — silkworm chocolate!

One of the happier pieces of news to grace media headlines in Japan recently has been the announcement that the Tomioka Silk Mill, located in Gunma Prefecture, is expected to make the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites in June this year. With everyone excited about this historic building becoming the eighteenth recognized World Heritage site in Japan, the mill is sure to attract an enormous tourist crowd during the current Golden Week holidays which go on until next Tuesday, as well as the upcoming summer season.

But even before all this buzz, Tomioka Silk Mill had its very own brand of souvenir chocolates, and they have now been attracting quite a bit of attention in Japan — not just because of the silk mill’s soon-to-be expected World Heritage status, but because of the utterly unique (and some may even say grotesque) appearance of the chocolates. Yes, as you can see from the picture, they’re silkworm chocolates!

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Baked Kit Kats and ice cream together? Don’t mind if we do

We make no effort to hide our love of Tokyo’s Kit Kat Chocolatory, the store that specializes in gourmet versions of the delicious chocolate wafers. After stopping by on opening day to grab a pack of sakura green tea flavor, we made a return trip to score some special bakeable Kit Kats.

Now, the Chocolatory is tempting us back again with a tantalizing new product: an ice cream and baked Kit Kat combo.

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Limited edition triple-size Lotte pie snack is so popular, we’re unable to get our hands on them!

Major snack manufacturer Lotte’s “Pie no Mi” (literally, nuts from a pie tree) is a favorite, long-selling snack in Japan, available in any convenience store or super market. The standard version of the simple yet tasty treat is made from countless thin pastry layers filled with a smooth chocolate filling baked to a crisp, flaky consistency. And if that doesn’t already sound good enough, they’ve now come up with a special, extra-large version of the pies. But like so many other limited edition sweets, the “giant” pies are proving to be quite difficult to come by, something that our very own Mr. Sato from the Japanese RocketNews24 site has found out the hard way.

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New Starbucks Frappuccinos look and sound so good they drive us nuts even before going on sale!

Sweet heavens, someone help us because we’re squirming half in delight and half in agony after seeing the newest press release from Starbucks Japan. Half in delight, because we’ve been given a glimpse of the divine-looking new Frappuccinos that will be coming out later this month, and half in agony because we can’t have them RIGHT NOW!

And unless you have a deadly hatred of sweets, we think you just may feel the same way after hearing the description of the two new banana and chocolate based Frappuccinos that were announced earlier this week. Yup, chocolate and banana — you really can’t go wrong with that combination!

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Strawberry chocolate shrimp chips: For when you want sweets plus seafood and/or are pregnant

A week ago, we brought you news of how snack maker Calbee is pushing the potato chip with its gourmet, triple-thick slices of fried spuds. Potato chips are only one half of Calbee’s pincer attack on your salt-receptor taste buds, though, as the company also produces the phenomenally popular line of shrimp chips called kappa ebisen.

The extremely competitive nature of the Japanese junk food industry means that you have to keep innovating though, and sometimes in the process of pushing through existing boundaries, you end up in strange new places, which explains why Calbee is now selling shrimp chips covered with strawberry chocolate.

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Bake and feast — We try the new bakeable Kit Kats!【Taste Test】

Remember the bakeable pudding-flavored mini Kit Kats we told you about earlier this month? Well, we managed to get our hands on them, and also on the cream cheese flavored bakeable Kit Kats sold at the Kit Kat Chocolaterie as well. And you know what that means — it’s time for a RocketNews24 taste test! So, let’s get on with the baking and tasting, shall we?

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“Make your own Pino ice cream fondue” event to be held for one day only in Tokyo

Pino is one of Japan’s most beloved brand of ice cream snacks. They combine the simple deliciousness of a chocolate covered ice cream bar with the bite sized convenience of a bonbon.

Since their launch in 1976, Pino have become available in other flavors such as double-chocolate or strawberry, but their vanilla ice cream with chocolate coating has remains a firm favorite. However, on 13 April this year, Morinaga Milk Industry will be holding a one day event where you can not only taste brand new Pino flavors, but you will actually be able to create your own from over 100 different combinations. Details after the jump!

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Tokyo confectioners create delicious sweets that look good enough to….wear?!

In some ways, stylish accessories and desserts aren’t so different. Just as no one actually needs more sugar and frosting in their diet, jewelry and brand-name bags don’t really perform any practical function.

Still, one can’t live by bread alone, and the occasional indulgence isn’t likely to ruin your health or bank balance. Choosing which way to reward yourself can be a tricky endeavor, however, which is why today we’re sharing four Tokyo confectioners where you can get sweets that look like high fashion.

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