So it snowed all Saturday night and we woke up on Sunday to tons of snow. Everywhere you looked someone was either shoveling or there was a big bulldozer moving the snow. People were running in the middle of the road because the sidewalks hadn't been shoveled yet.
After breakfast at the hotel, our group headed to Otaru, a port town. The snow was off and on and made walking really difficult.
We checked out the stone warehouses along the river, a famous sight in Otaru. Otaru is also known for glass and seafood. For lunch, we checked out their "sushi street". Here is Satoshi's lunch at Asahizushi 16 pieces(3150 yen about US$31.50). I had a smaller set (2625 yen (about US$26.25)). The fish was really fresh and delicious, we even had abalone sushi.
Of course along the way, I found some chocolate (you knew I would, right?). From Le Tao, I bought their Lausanne set, this set included a citrus center with dark chocolate ganache covered with dark chocolate (the one with white stripes), a millefeuille and dark ganache center covered with milk chocolate (star-ish) and a millefeuille (layers of puff pastry) with milk and white chocolate (pyramid-ish) bon-bons. The chocolatier was Alexandre Pirk, who is with Mojonnier in Switzerland. My favorite was the milk with millefeuille (star shaped). Le Tao is often featured at the Hokkaido fairs in the department stores and is known for their cheesecakes.
Near sushi street was the Hotel Vibrant, and in big bold letters...Chocolat du Nord...I picked up some mendiants with assorted fruits and nuts. These were really good and the dark chocolate was smooth, a little acidic. My favorite was the one with the apricot on it.
Our tour met after lunch and we went to Shikotsu-ko (Lake Shikotsu). There was also an ice festival there and the sculptures were really blue. The water when frozen looks really blue. The locals in this area also built their structures then pumped the water from the lake onto them...again, amazing stuff!
It was a great tour we saw lots of snow and enjoyed many different experiences. I'll post more pics on my flickr.
Hope you enjoyed our adventure to Hokkaido, after being in minus temperatures for a couple of days, I was amazed at how "warm" 5C (41F) felt.
Chocolat du Nord (UPDATE: 2012, this shop has now closed)
1-3-1 Ironai (inside the Hotel Vibrant Otaru)
p.s. Today is Valentine's Day which means the girls give the guys something, Satoshi keeps asking if I am giving him some chocolate, I told him it is impolite to ask...(though I am giving him these...shhh!) Happy Valentine's Day!!