Friday, February 04, 2011

chocolate finds

chocolate2011 (3) It's that time of year, the department stores have brought in TONS of chocolate for Valentine's Day.

All for the "guys"..pfft!

I debated as to whether to check out Salon du Chocolat in Kyoto, but there was nothing that really piqued my interest so I decided not to go this year.

The first photo is something from a lady in my French class, she was so thrilled with the Victoria's Secret lip gloss I gave her when I came back from Hawaii in January, that she gave me and the rest of the class these boxes of truffles from the Hotel Okura.

I ate the dark chocolate ones and gave the milk and white ones to Satoshi. Nothing out of the ordinary about these but I appreciate the thought (thank you!)

chocolate2011 (4) She also gave us these 86% chocolates...ack, too bitter and acidic, kinda chalky even. Blah, thank you but sorry, no.

chocolate2011 (6) So the other day, I went to the Hankyu Department store, they started their Valentine's fair and had brought in some new chocolatiers this Berger, an Austrian maker.

I tried their plum & pimento bar...1260 yen (about US$12.60)

The 70% chocolate envelopes a plum and pimento filling. You can't taste the pimento but the plum is very noticeable, in a good way.

chocolate2011 I loved how shiny their bars were, though it made it hard to photograph because I would always see my camera reflecting.

chocolate2011 (7) Baixas, a Spanish chocolatier in Barcelona.

This one is noted in a book I have about different chocolates.

I tried their 3-piece bon-bons...840 yen (about US$8.40)

chocolate2011 (11) Coconut, a coconut ganache covered with a dark chocolate & coconut flakes...nice.

Pepper, a black pepper ganache covered with dark chocolate..spicy, my fave!

Raspberry, a raspberry ganache covered with dark chocolate and raspberry bits...tart but nice.

chocolate2011 (12) Bachhalm 1928, another Austrian chocolatier.

They were giving out samples while I stood in line, so I got to try their Fruits of the Forest bar. This bar was covered with strawberry, raspberry & black currant powder. The flavors were very bright, nice.

chocolate2011 (13) When it was my turn to order, I went with their ginger bar though. This bar is 54% (actually 53.8%) cacao (the highest percentage in their bars) with fresh bits of ginger...1785 yen (about US$17.85)

The guy that was selling these said that usually you find candied ginger or dried ginger used, but this bar uses fresh bits, so these were different.

This was spicy and matched the chocolate perfectly...yum!

Plus on the flaps of the box reads "viel freude beim genie├čen" (enjoy with much joy), I will indeed!

chocolate2011 (2) I also tried these orangette by Club Harie, a sweets maker in Shiga Prefecture.

This seemed to be semi-sweet chocolate and it also looks like it may have bloomed. It was still very nice with coffee.

newtree At LOFT, a store with all sorts of things, New Tree's mini bars, a Belgian chocolate maker.

They had varying cacao percentages and I bought the ones that were dark chocolate, 73% cacao.

Cassis (Black currant) had a nice berry flavor. Poivre Rose (Pink Peppercorn) had a nice kick to it, my fave. Cerise (Cherry) had a subtle cherry flavor.

So, that's the chocolates for this Valentine's season, not as many in the past but some nice finds.

It is Friday here, the weather has started to warm up during the day, but early mornings and the evenings are still quite cold.

Have a nice weekend!


Rona Y said...

I'm not sure, but I think the pastry chef (owner?) of Club Harie won some important international pastry or chocoalte competition. Like the Bocuse d'Or of pastry or chocolate. I wanted to try his stuff, but never made it out there (as usual. . . ).

If you don't want to eat all your chocolate-covered orangettes, they're really good chopped up and mixed into Dorie Greenspan's World Peace cookies (instead of the chocolate chunks). I used Leonidis' chocolate-covered orangettes once for that purpose, and the cookies were fantastic!

Rowena... said...

I'm waiting for the big fat strawberries to start hitting the shelves, so I can dip 'em in chocolate. Unreal that V-day is almost here...where is all the time going? Ack!

Deb in Hawaii said...

Such good chocolate finds.

BTW--I am taking a chocolate class on Saturday--excited to make a bar for myself. ;-)

K and S said...

Actually if you do go their shop in Hikone, they have a separate area w/chocolates Rona, which I was looking to try. Thanks for the idea on the cookies, have been wanting to try that recipe :)

Oh yeah! dipping them is the best too Rowena, big or small I won't be too picky :)

Can't wait to hear about your class Deb in Hawaii :) Have fun!

Take care everyone.

Japan Australia said...

I never get bored at looking at chocolate. It is one of the greatest things on this earth. Love Valentine's Day in Japan as always get lots of chocolate, but then have to give it back on White Day!! 86% is a bit too much for me, I usually prefer around 70%.

K and S said...

Yeah J-A, I think 70% is my max too. They have such junk stuff for White Day though :(

Take care.

sarah said...

Probably a stupid question Kat, but when youve been with someone for a while in japan, do you still give chocolates to the guy for valentine and then receive them from the guy on white day? I am curious because my partner and I spend valentines together and sometimes travel somewhere for a few days. Maybe exchange gifts, I was just curious about the fact that Japan has the 2 days.

K and S said...

I still give something to Satoshi on V-day, Sarah, and then he usually gives me something on White Day. I guess it is up to the couple. When we first moved to Japan, we would exchange gifts on V-day and not do anything on White Day. Even if you aren't in Japan, it may be fun to try the two days where you are :)

Take care and hope this helps.

OkiHwn said...

I remember I got a lot of chocolate stuff from my secretaries and other ladies I dealt with this past time when I was a chief in Okinawa. My first tour it didn't happen as I was just an ordinary worker. Also then learned I should do something on White Day. Interesting custom.

K and S said...

interesting custom indeed Nate :)

Take care.

jalna said...

So, after reading your post, I had to google the whole "valentine's day in japan" and "white day" thing. Very interesting how Valentine's Day has evolved in Japan.

K and S said...

Jalna, isn't it a trip??

Take care.

Pocky said...

Wow! That's a pretty impressive chocolate haul. I still think it's funny how Valentine's Day in Japan are geared for the dudes. Ha!

K and S said...

and most dudes I know Kim, don't even like chocolate :)

Take care.

Barbara said...

I'm guessing you really like chocolate Kat;)

K and S said...

wonder what gave it away Barbara?? :)

Take care.

manju said...

You're like a chocolate tuning rod, able to find new chocolates at every turn! There are a surprising number of ones with heaty spices in them, which you seem to favorite -- but I wonder if that's b/c V-Day is for men?? (Strange how that developed...) Anyway, I was wondering if the plum one was like dried plum, aka prune, or more like ume plum.

K and S said...

Actually Manju, I think the ones geared towards the men have whiskey and alcohol in them.

This particular chocolate's plum tasted like the purple plum, the kind you find during summer with purple skin (like nectarine) and orangey/pinkish inside.

Take care.

K said...

Wow what a great chocolate haul, yum! Which one was your favorite?

K and S said...

all were good K, but I really liked the black pepper one from Baixas because it was different :)

Take care.