Monday, February 13, 2012

Be my Valentine : Why valentine is one of the best event in Japan

If I were to compare the scale of the Valentine's Day here to a festival in Singapore, it must be the mooncake festival. Like mooncake vendors, chocolate vendors from various luxury brands (France/Belgium/Local) flocked to the major department stores and set up a booth at each chocolate exhibition. And another similarity is that just as vendors offer free tasting pieces of mooncakes, visitors to the chocolate booths usually get to try out the flavours offered. That is why I rate it one of the best event for chocolate lovers.




As expected, most visitors are females, as Feb 14 here is the time when only females give giri-choco to male friends/superior. But why do very old women grace the event too? (some come for the tasting, some come to buy for their male family members)
The crowd gets really huge especially during weekends.
At the chocolate exhibition, the real chocolatier behind that brand will turn out at a specific time on a specific day. Those who buy will get the signature from the chef!! Most of the western brands are award-winning brands.
Chocolatier Pierre Marcollini 
His booth at various locations is the only booth that hardly hardly offers free tasting.

same person in the picture: Pierre Marcollini

My favourite Japanese pastisserie and chocolatier Sadaharu Aoki. But sometimes I find that his products are slightly overpriced.

If you ask what is the most popular, most queued brand all over the various locations? Godiva. 

The lady standing by the Godiva booth giving out free treats=)
Look....even Godiva offers whole chocolate gems that are snatched up by the ladies in no time.


The decoration of each exhibition has also been thoughtfully designed. Like this real edible chocolate swan but only for display.
Macaron Pyramid (display only)
Yves Thuries booth ( i wonder how many people actually read the biography of each chocolatier?)
Not only were there chocolates, but macarons!This is Glamourdise Kobe, the only shop that features solely macarons and no chocolates at all. (even though some offer both macarons & chocs)
flavours are not special but at least not too common : limited edition rose/ yuzu/ uji matcha with white chocolate/ my favourite salted caramel/tiramisu/new york cheese)

this is the macaron shell baked long to be turned into "macaron cookie"
yellow-earl grey/ pink-fraise aka strawberry/green-matcha

pierre herme macarons...they did not feature any valentine edition macarons. this is a box featuring chocolate with different flavour like yuzu chocolate, passionfruit, etc

soft nama truffle in regular/champagne/strawberry and lemon. Nama chocolates or raw chocolates are usually the most common ones beside truffles
these are the truffles type
japanese style nama chocolate coated in matcha powder and cocoa powder
look at the chocolate tasting plate on the counter!
a familiar brand available in Singapore-Leonidas 
not only nutty chocolate but raisins coated in chocolate

Champagne ganache truffles by WITTAMER

again....free tasting pieces:)

the japanese style once again, nama chocolates in big balls

some don't go by the popularity of the brand/ or quality....but by the design and looks
Mushroom and cats??
some others go by packaging

the long sticks are orange peels coated in chocolate

the box on the left is the highly recommended chocolate macaron. Not any thing like macarons but chocolate shaped in a macaron style with soft ganache cream filling

Big ganache truffes

Again, free tasting of the above picture

How about some tea infused chocolate? Good for afternoon tea with kopi/teh


And from Italy!!! not only chocolate, but also cookies!!!

Torroni Baci
small and expensive
sick of all the sweet chocolate? have some valentine's senbei(rice crackers)

this one tastes fabulous! not chocolate but chocolate mochi with wine-flavoured chocolate filling in the centre. Soft and chewy

Same brand but different wine.....the tasting portions were quite big and this brand left me a deep impression

not only do they have to set up booths indoors, but outdoors!! Imagine how the vendors have to bear with the sun and the cold chilly wind...Not an easy job

Nama chocolate cookie rated best seller on the internet

Not only were the cash boxes of department stores ringing continuously from the hectic valentine's day sales, even supermarkets cannot afford to miss out the pie.
marshmallows coated in chocolate

french truffles 

korean wine chocolates

handiplast chocolate....if only anyone would like to give someone this

Lindt Chocolate @Meidi-ya supermarket
another chocolate tasting session....

quite surprised that they did not cut the tasting portions into smaller pieces but generously offer the whole balls of Lindt truffles =D

the myriad of colours seemed no different from christmas

Peanut butter packs for children/ the more affordable pockets
besides supermarkets, bakeries as well....Danish Heart is the name of the bakery that always attract queues regardless of any season...famous for their danish pastries

heart-shaped danish pastries (petite classic/raspberry sugar/ salted macademia)

for those who don't want to buy but want to make chocolates themselves, there are specialty shops that offer chocolate covertures like this shop above.

these are sold in weights and as usual, free tastings


sweet chocolate coverture usually for baking
and surprise!!! even Raffles Hotel set up a booth at one of the department stores. (but that was the one and only location)

featuring SINGAPORE SLING CHOCOLATE! (the middle)
(had a taste of it and the pineapple aroma was strong)
the youngest chocolate competitor in the market "100% Chocolate Cafe". Owned by Meiji.
Concept similar to the one in Singapore, which features more than 100 different types of flavours

And for the usual cake shops, there is valentine's day limited edition parfaits/cakes....
Jelly Cherry Parfait from Gramcery NewYork


Visiting such events is actually quite similar to going for a chocolate buffet, but in smaller portions. It is unexpected how Valentine's day is celebrated on such a mass scale as compared to Singapore. That said, after looking and tasting all these delicious goodies from the various vendors, one will have a very sweet time even if one does not have any lover.


Have a Happy Valentine!


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