Nestlé Japan to release sake-flavored Kit Kats this February

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RocketNews 24 (by Oona McGee):

Now you can enjoy a break with a Kit Kat and a shot of Japanese rice wine all rolled into one.

Japan is well-known for its huge variety of Kit Kats, with flavors ranging from wasabi to soybean and purple sweet potato to red bean sandwich. While most are developed as regional souvenirs, representing delicacies of the area, there’s one particular variety that says “Japan” like no other, and appears at the top of the must-buy souvenir list for many foreign visitors: the Green Tea Kit Kat.

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Nestlé Japan says the exclusive variety remains a popular choice with foreign tourists, with sales for 2015 up by 20 percent over the previous year. The product’s huge popularity encouraged the company to develop another Japan-exclusive flavour, this time based on the country’s well-known traditional brew, nihonshuu, or sake as it’s known internationally.

▼ Aimed at the foreign tourist market, the packaging features a beautiful pink sakura cherry blossom design, along with an image of the well-known liquor.

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The new Kit Kats contain sake powder which has been kneaded into the white chocolate-encased wafers, giving the chocolates all the flavor and aroma of a top-quality rice wine, while providing a light and refreshing aftertaste. Available from 1 February this year, the new variety will come in three-pack boxes for 150 yen (US$1.24) at convenience stores, while the specially designed nine-piece box will be available for 700 yen from souvenir stores around the country.

▼ The nine-piece packs feature a beautiful package in the shape of an Isshobin, 1.8-litre bottle.

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If you’re in Japan and would like to try a sample, Nestlé Japan will be featuring the sake Kit Kats at a booth at the upcoming event, which will  be held from February 5-14 at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo.


French pastry maker celebrates Japanese culture with line of special éclairs


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RocketNews 24:

Although it hasn’t been that long since its first U.S. retail outlet opened, French gourmet food supplier Fauchon has had a presence in Japan since the early 1970s. The company is best known here for its line of high quality teas, but they also offer pastries to well-heeled shoppers with a sweet tooth in the dessert section of a number of upscale department stores.

After so many years of success in Japan, Fauchon has decided to tip its hat to the country by releasing a line of éclairs with decorations and ingredients inspired by Japanese culture.

A total of six different types of éclairs will be available, each for a limited time. Kicking off the series is Éclair Primrose, in honor of the Hinamatsuri, or Doll Festival, held in Japan each March, with a pink and green color pattern that evokes the holiday’s feminine decorations and a peach cream filling.

March 5 sees the rollout of the sakura éclair, modeled after Japan’s iconic cherry blossoms, which will be here roughly as long as their real life counterparts, with April 8 your last chance to buy one.

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March 29 sees the kabuki éclair take center stage, featuring a design that calls to mind the traditional striped curtain used at theaters for Japan’s representative performing art. The kabuki éclair’s sophisticated filling is a mixture of green tea and citrus yuzu creams, and the confectionary will be on sale until May 13.

Two varieties of koinobori éclairs, patterned after the carp streamers flown to celebrate Children’s Day, can be purchased between April 9 and May 6. Starting May 7, Fauchon will be selling its matcha green tea éclair, and for the finale, on July 2, the French company will release an éclair decorated in the manner of famed woodblock artist Katsushika Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa.

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The limited-time pastries, collectively called the Homage to Japan, range in price from 468 yen (US $4.50) to 540 yen ($5.32). In the Tokyo area, Fauchon operates retail outlets in the Takashimaya department stores branches in Nihonbashi, Shinjuku, and Yokohama.

Sources: EntabeNicheee!

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French pastry maker celebrates Japanese culture with line of special éclairs


To mark spring, Starbucks Japan brings back the seasonal Sakura Seasonal Menu


In an annual event similar to the Pumpkin Spice Latte here in the U.S., Sakura (meaning “cherry blossom“) season is upon Starbucks Japan! Sakura season is when the cherry blossoms bloom in Japan (typically ranging from March to April) and droves of people in Japan stake out a spot at the park to view them (and picnic; drinking is usually involved).

The viewing is called hanami (literally “flower see,” but it’s only used in reference to cherry blossoms). It’s kinda like the Fourth of July, but longer and with varying dates depending on when the flowers decide to bloom.

For Starbucks Japan, what that means is Sakura-themed drinks, baked goods, and quite a bit of merchandise (including a Sakura-themed Starbucks Card).

On the drinks side, there’s a Sakura White Chocolate Frappuccino and a Sakura Hot White Chocolate. Both feature a light pink hue and cherry white chocolate flavor, and are topped with whipped cream, cherry white chocolate and white chocolate shavings, and strawberry powder.

Prices range from 430 yen (~$4.64 US) for a Short to 550 yen (~$5.94 US) for a Venti of the Hot White Chocolate version and starts at 490 yen (~$5.29 US) for a Tall and up to 570 yen (~$6.15) for a Venti of the Frappuccino version. The prices carry a 100 yen premium over their plain counterparts (i.e. a Coffee Frappuccino and Hot White Chocolate).

The available baked goods selection include cherry chiffon cake, cherry macaroons, cherry cookies, and cherry cookie balls. The latter two have already been sold out.

The limited-time merchandise include several tumblers, mugs, and a water bottle. Bringing your own tumbler or cup to a Starbucks in Japan saves you 20 yen (~$0.22 US) by the way.

The latte will set you back between 430 and 550 yen (US $4.10 to $5.25), depending on size, while prices for the Frappuccino run from 510 to 590 yen. Both drinks will be on sale only from February 15 to March 18, so remember to get yours before the actual sakura start blooming in April.

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To mark spring, Starbucks Japan brings back the seasonal Sakura Seasonal Menu