Japan is the world’s third economic power. It’s a very industrialized country in which technological development is the most advanced in the world. It stands out because of its construction groups such as Mitsubishi, Toyota, Samsung, Sony, etc., which put it in first place when it comes to the automobile and electronic industries. Also known as the “Land of the Rising Sun,” it is distinguished by its ancient culture, which is well-known around the world. In this case, Japan has always held an important place in the world of martial arts, being the cradle of karate and the legendary country of the Samurais. Its typical cuisine, which displays its culture that is rich in tradition, has also conquered the rest of the world. The world recognizes Japanese cuisine for sushi, sashimi, and tempura, eaten with chopsticks with a bit of wasabi and all washed down with a gulp of their famous sake. Along with these, the Japanese have found another delicacy in chocolate.
Chocolate and Japan
There are many different chocolatiers in Japan, both local and foreign. Indeed, the chocolate masters have been established in Japan for several years. Such is the example of Jean-Paul Hévin, a French artisan and “Histoire de chocolat,” a leading brand of the chocolate factory in Brest.
But, since 1950, the world of Japanese chocolate has had its own artisan chocolatiers: Mary’s Chocolate and Madame Setsuko. Mary’s Chocolate was the first Japanese chocolate factory created in Japan by Japanese people. Here, you can find novelty chocolates of all kinds with various flavors. In addition, at the Madame Setsuko chocolate factory, ganache flowers are on display, decorated by hand and called chocolate jewels. Eighteen flower varieties are illustrated, such as violets, for example, which are represented by bitter chocolate flavored with cognac on a layer of white chocolate.
However, they’re not the only types of chocolate products produced by Japanese chocolatiers. Indeed, they surprise the chocolate world with plant-flavored chocolate as well as with chocolate that is flavored with green tea and ginger.
Japanese Chocolate in the Market
Japanese chocolate now presents direct competition for all of the great master chocolate makers. Notably for Belgian and Swiss chocolatiers. And with the Japanese pastry chef, Es-Koyoma, who was awarded the title of best foreign chocolate master in 2011, making Japan’s culture and its chefs’ special instincts well known through chocolate. We will also mention Shigeo Hirai, world champion in 2009.
In addition, the packaging of Japanese chocolates is different than what we’re used to seeing. 200g tablets are not even close because the sizes and the proportions are normally small and the prices low. As for occasions for giving chocolate, Valentine’s Day recently started being celebrated in Japan. And the custom expects the girl to give the chocolate, first to her lover, then to her father.