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.

The Telegraph (UK): How the KitKat became a phenomenon in Japan

The Telegraph UK (by Danielle Demetriou):

Chef Yasumasa Takagi is hard at work. With a furrowed brow and a meditative air, he stands at his kitchen worktop and surveys a row of glass jars, each containing a rainbow-hued ingredient – green pistachio paste, pink strawberry powder, yellow yuzu citrus fruit. He sprinkles deep-pink raspberry powder into a bowl containing melted white chocolate, before dipping bite-size wafers into the mix and ceremoniously placing them inside a small mould.

The scene unfolding in the kitchen at the back of his upmarket Tokyo patisserie may seem fairly standard for the famed creator of luxury artisan sweets. But closer inspection reveals that the chef is making something perhaps more ordinary than imagined, for he is, in fact, experimenting with flavors for one of the world’s most popular chocolate bars: the humble KitKat.

Few could dispute Britain’s enduring love of – and appetite for – the iconic wafer-finger bar. Launched 80 years ago by Rowntree’s, and touted as the workman’s perfect companion to a cup of tea, KitKat revolutionised the nation’s biscuit-loving society and within two years was a bestseller. Now it is sold in more than 100 countries; 700 KitKat fingers are reportedly consumed every second (totalling 22 billion a year), according to its current owners, Nestlé.

But there is one country in particular, 6,000 miles from its English origins, that stands out in its reverence for KitKat – namely Japan.

Since the first KitKat went on sale there in 1973,  the nation has embraced it, making it one of its  top-selling chocolate brands. While Japan’s KitKat retail sales are a fraction of the UK’s – Y17 billion in 2014, equivalent to £96 million compared to the UK’s £243 million – they have risen steadily since 2011, in contrast to a decline for the past two years in the UK, according to market-intelligence firm Euromonitor.

Such success is clearly tied to the country’s penchant for weird and wonderful flavours – 300-plus exotic varities have been created, from wasabi to melon. Then there are the quirky initiatives:  the postable KitKat with a space on the wrapper  for messages, the KitKat-cum-train ticket, the  KitKat croissant

 

KitKat is regarded as a premium confectionery brand in Japan – as reflected in its KitKat Chocolatory stores. Since the launch of the first of these branded boutiques in Tokyo in January last year, a further seven have opened across the country, attracting nearly one million customers, who have spent close to Y2 billion (£10.9 million-according to current exchange rate) on luxury KitKat confectionery masterminded by Chef Takagi.

How has a nation more famed for its appetite for sushi than sweet treats, not to mention its perfectionism in terms of quality and presentation, become one of the protagonists of the KitKat world? The story begins, it seems, with a stroke of luck that is the stuff of marketing dreams: KitKat sounds similar to the Japanese phrase kitto katsu: ‘you will surely win’.

The impact of its fortuitous name became clear around 14 years ago, when Nestlé noticed surging sales every January as customers bought KitKats as good-luck presents for students sitting university entrance exams. Tapping into this trend, Nestlé collaborated with Japan Post to launch the postable KitKat in 2009 – resulting in about half of the nation’s 600,000 annual exam-sitting students now receiving the chocolate for good luck every year. The customer-led initiative is one of a string of innovations that have meant the Japanese KitKat bears little resemblance to its UK counterpart, according to Ryoji Maki, marketing manager for confectionery at Nestlé Japan. ‘We had to differentiate the brand from the start when we realised that the global slogan, “Have a break, have a KitKat”, does not have the same meaning to the Japanese.’

A clue as to just how big the gap is between KitKat in Japan and the UK can be seen on a recent Thursday morning in the basement food hall of the department store Daimaru in Tokyo. A steady stream of people pause in front of the Kitkat Chocolatory concession, which is hard to miss with its red wall of KitKat motifs and sparkling red chandelier fashioned from KitKat moulds. ‘It’s busier at other times,’ says shop worker Mariko Suto, 28, in a cap and striped apron. ‘Queues can last 30 minutes at the weekend.’

A KitKat croissant 
in a Pronto coffee shop
A KitKat croissant in a Pronto coffee shop (photo by Keith Ng)

Luxury KitKat creations by Chef Takagi take centre stage, among them the decadent single-finger Sublime range, which includes ingredients such  as raspberry-infused 66 per cent dark chocolate (Y324). Orange Cocktail Noir, a heady mix of orange-scented chocolate and rum powder mixed into the wafer layers, sits alongside Sakura Green Tea,  containing Uji tea leaves and powdered cherry-leaf extract (both Y432).

Kenichi Seimiya, a 47-year-old sales and marketing executive, sweeps in and chooses four Special boxes in minutes before presenting his gold credit card for the Y3,672 (£20) bill. As staff gift-wrap the chocolates, he says, ‘I’m going on a business trip next week to Malaysia and Thailandand I need  to bring some gifts. KitKat is very famous and the flavours available here are popular outside Japan.’

Another customer, Noriko Inomata, 46, a chic television presenter, takes her time perusing. ‘I came here today because this morning my husband gave me a Sublime chocolate – and I was so surprised at how delicious it was. I had to come and have a look.’

Takagi rustles up such creations several miles across the city at Le Patissier Takagi in Aoyama, a neighbourhood famed for its fashion flagships and high-end eateries. Here, as well-heeled locals tuck into aromatic teas and carefully crafted cakes in the cafe, Takagi explains his unlikely union with Nestlé. ‘At first I refused, because I was approached by many different companies with offers and I wanted to keep my independence. But they were very convincing.’

Key to Takagi’s acceptance was the agreement that his creations would represent the most exclusive end of KitKat Japan. He set to work in his kitchen – which, as he later demonstrates, involves measuring samples (no colourings or artificial flavourings) into bowls of chocolate, before testing them on wafers.

In 2005 his first creation – a passion-fruit KitKat – was selected by Nestlé from 30 new flavours submitted by the chef, with dozens more following since, including plum, passion fruit and chilli, ginger and kinako soybean powder. ‘The challenge is how to make something handmade out of an industrial brand,’ he says. ‘The KitKat has three perimeters: the chocolate, the wafer and the cream. The chocolate and cream are where we can be most creative. For me, my goals are  the same as in my work as a patissier.  I want to surprise people, I want to make them happy and I want to somehow create an emotional reaction.  I’m always looking for new textures and new flavours.’

When asked about the less successful flavours, he ponders briefly. ‘Watermelon is too light. And chestnuts, sweet potatoes and pumpkins are very difficult as their taste is too soft to mix with chocolate.’ His face brightening, he adds, ‘I’d like to do Kyoto pickles next.’

Despite KitKat Japan’s luxury innovations, its successes are not confined to the high-end. Hidden among the heaving shelves of the Shinjuku, Tokyo, outlet of Don Quijote, a 24-hour bargain- store chain, a basement corner appears to have been transformed into a KitKat shrine – with rows of special-offer treats, from rum and raisin flavour to sweet potato.

A display of gourmet Sublime KitKat fingers 
by Chef Takagi, at Chocolatory in Daimaru Tokyo department store
A display of gourmet Sublime KitKat fingers by Chef Takagi, at Chocolatory in Daimaru Tokyo department store
(photo credit: Keith Ng)

Yuuma Hirata, the floor manager, says, ‘Lots of Chinese tourists come here, also Koreans and Europeans, to pick up bags of KitKat. The most popular are the matcha green tea – it’s the balance between bitter green tea and chocolate, a good taste for foreigners.

A short distance away in the calmer confines of Pronto coffee shop near Shibuya station, customers are enjoying KitKat croissants. Available in chocolate, sweet potato and green-tea varieties, the Y180 (£1) pastry, which contains a two-finger KitKat, was introduced in September. It has sold out daily since then according to Pronto, which has 300 cafes across Japan.

The croissant joins a string of KitKat innovations. A KitKat that doubles as  a train ticket was launched last year with Sanriku Railway in northeastern Tohoku to support regional recovery following the 2011 tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disaster. Then there is  the e-commerce store, with customers able to customise KitKat packets with photographs and messages for parties and weddings. KitKat Japan is showing no signs of slowing down: this month, it is launching a run of 500 luxurious KitKats covered in gold leaf.

Even the size of normal KitKats are different in Japan (there are six little fingers rather than four). It is the country’s unconventional relationship with chocolate that enables such innovations to flourish, according to Alex Villela, the French business executive manager for confectionery at Nestlé Japan. ‘Chocolate is a very recent concept in Japan,’ he explains, at the press launch of the eighth Chocolatory  boutique in Tokyo’s Takashimaya department store.

Dutch sailors first brought it into Japan hundreds of years ago, but it really only caught  on after World War Two, during the American occupation. The way of consuming chocolate in Japan is quite different from the UK. Because chocolate is very sweet compared to traditional Japanese confectionery, it’s normally only consumed in small amounts and it is still regarded as a treat.’

The history of Cambodian-owned donut shops

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Audrey Magazine (by Ethel Navales):

You’re probably already aware that a large amount of independently-run donut shops in California are Cambodian-owned. What you may not know is that the donut shop industry is an integral part of the Cambodian immigration story.

In honor of National Donut Day, we decided to look into the history of hardworking, Cambodian donut shop owners:

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1) Finding a donut in Cambodia is harder than you think.
There may be donuts if you look hard, but if you thought you’d find streets lined with donut shops in Cambodia, you’re in for a let-down. While donuts are a large part of the Cambodian American culture, many can tell you that this is purely an American tradition. Allegedly, there is only one donut shop in all of Phnom PenhCambodia.

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2) It all began with a man named Ted Ngoy.
Before donut shops were associated with the Cambodian American culture, there was Ted Ngoy paving the way. He arrived in the U.S. in 1975 and two years later, he began his own donut shop. Clearly, his legacy continued.

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3) “The American Dream” 
Ngoy is the one who found a way for Cambodian immigrants to become part of the American dream of owning their own business,” said Dennis Wong of the Asian Business Association. “Taking a loan from an Asian loaning society, Ngoy was able to buy two stores, operate them for awhile and then sell to someone in the community or a family member who wanted to buy them. That’s how they got into it.

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4) Running a donut shop is hard work. 
You’ll often hear about these donut shops having only a few workers in order to save money. In fact, many of the workers are family members who must find time within their day to help the family business. As a result, many owners will work long and tiring hours to make sure their shop is functional. Additionally, many donut shop owners have voiced that the long hours have made it difficult to assimilate into a new society.

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5) They have thrived. 
An estimated 80% of donut shops in the Los Angeles area are owned by Cambodian Americans. In Houston, Texas, the percentage is an even larger 90%.

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Young Japanese artist crafts exquisite animal-shaped candy at his shop in Asakusa (Tokyo)

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RocketNews 24:

Japan sure knows how to elevate its food to an unparalleled level of art, and today we’d like to introduce you to the works of another master Japanese craftsman of sweets. His life’s passion is creating exquisitely detailed animal-shaped candy, which are so astoundingly intricate that it probably won’t be long before a museum asks to put them on display!

Shinri Tezuka is the artist behind these incredible edible creations. Born in 1989 in Chiba Prefecture, Tezuka states that he loved to sculpt anything he could get his hands on from a very young age. That childhood passion translated into a full-time career for him, and he now spends his days traveling across Japan to participate in all sorts of events and parties, and also offers hands-on workshops to teach people of all ages about his craft. As a result of these expeditions, he’s been featured on numerous Japanese television shows to date. And get this–despite being only 25, he’s already taken on three apprentices who are eager to carry on his tradition!

▼ Shinri Tezuka, the man behind the craft

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Since 2013, Tezuka has also overseen his own shop called Asakusa Amezaiku Ameshin (amezaiku refers to the art of making candy into human and animal-shaped forms). The shop is fittingly located in Tokyo’s traditional Asakusa district, only a short walk away from the popular tourist destination of Senso-ji Temple.

▼ Exterior and interior views of the shop

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While browsing through some of his breathtaking creations, it’s easy to forget that they are indeed candy and are meant to be eaten. In fact, some people find the distinction between the art and food so fine that one of the questions in the Q&A section of Asakusa Amezaiku Ameshin’s official site asks, “Can I really eat this candy?”

The answer is a resounding “yes,” by the way. In addition, Tezuka uses only naturally occurring dyes to color his creations, so you can rest easy knowing that you’re not eating any artificial pigments.

Let’s take a look at some of his animal-shaped candy creations now:

▼ The caption says that these goldfish are the two most popular designs among shop customers.

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▼ These gorgeous cranes were crafted using real gold leaf on their wings.

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▼ Here are some candy creations crafted in Tezuka’s Asakusa studio…

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▼ …and here are some he created at various public demonstrations.

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Tezuka does take orders for customized candy creations at his shop, but he is unable to accept requests for popular characters due to copyright laws. Guess we’ll just have to wait and hope for a deal to come through with Nintendo so that we can see Tezuka’s version of Pikachu in candy form!

Shop information
Ameshin / アメシン
Address: Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Imado 1-4-3, 1st floor
東京都台東区今戸1-4-3 1F
Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Closed Thursdays
Website

Inside BbyB’s new chocolate shop in Tokyo

Nestle Japan releases Easter Kit Kats in Japan, in 13 types of packaging designs for the ultimate Easter Basket

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RocketNews 24:

Kit Kats in Japan are well-known for their creative designs and flavors, including limited releases for annual events and holidays such as Christmas, Halloween and even the cherry blossom viewing season.

Until now, there was one special holiday that always went unnoticed: Easter. This year, Nestle Japan are releasing their first ever Easter range, with a clever play on words that ties the religious festival to the month of April, the start of the Japanese school and business year.

According to Nestle, Easter is an ii sutaato, which means “good start” in Japanese. And with these gorgeous apple pie and carrot flavored chocolates on the market, it looks like it’s going to be a very good start indeed.

On sale from March 16 for 540 yen (US$4.45), the mini Kit Kats come in a pack of 12 and feature cute bunny packaging.

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For the first time in the company’s 42-year history in Japan, bunnies will appear on the chocolates. There will be 13 different designs in total, although it’s not guaranteed that all of them will be in one pack, which means we may have to indulge in a spot of bunny hunting to collect them all…

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To top it all off, one in every 30 chocolates will feature this special Lucky Easter design. Unfortunately the only prize for finding this is the actual chocolate itself. When it’s this cute though, we’re not complaining!

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We can’t wait to get our hands on these limited edition Kit Kats when they’re released today in Japan. Here’s hoping they give us an ii start to spring!

Mini bakeable Kit Kats return to Japan — this time in cheesecake flavor!

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RocketNews 24:

Some of our readers are undoubtedly aware that we here at RocketNews24 are quite fond of Kit Kats. And while we’re used to seeing the popular chocolate snack in an array of interesting flavors, we have to say we were genuinely intrigued when we heard about “bakeable” Kit Kats last year, as were many other Kit Kat fans across Japan, judging from the fact that the unique sweet attracted enough attention to be turned into pizzas.  Now, the bakeable Kit Kats have returned, and in a new flavor to boot! Of course, we weren’t about to be kept away from such sweetness.  Join us as we try the new Bake ‘N Tasty Mini Kit Kats Cheesecake Flavor (Kit Kat Mini Yaite Oishi Cheesecake Aji)!

When we heard that a new version of the bakeable Kit Kats had come out this week, we naturally rushed to the local supermarket in search of the snack.

▼ Sure enough, we found the new Kit Kats being sold for 256 yen (US$2.15) for a bag containing 13 mini pieces.

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▼ Last year’s bakeable Kit Kats were in a custard pudding flavor, and this time, as it says on the package, it’s cheesecake!  The illustration of the toaster oven also makes it clear that these Kit Kats are meant to be baked.

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▼ Toasting the Kit Kats should turn them golden brown like this:

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▼ On the back of the package, there were instructions on how to bake the Kit Kats.

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▼ You place the Kit Kats on the toaster tray after covering it with aluminum foil …

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▼ … and turn the toaster on to heat for two to two and a half minutes. Once the surface starts to turn brown, the Kit Kats apparently can get burned quite quickly, so you’ll need to be careful not to heat it for too long.

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▼ We opened the bag …

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▼ … and the mini Kit Kats came individually wrapped in cute green and white checkered packages.

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▼ The Kit Kat looks like just regular white chocolate before it’s toasted.

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▼ We turned on the heat and waited …

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▼ … and they were done in just minutes!

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▼ Beautiful! Now we were ready to taste them.

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So, now that the Kit Kats were toasted, how did they taste? They had a delightful texture, crispy and light, and although we maybe could taste the chocolate more than the cream cheese, the flavor was definitely enjoyable. And the sweet smell of warm toasted chocolate and cheese was indeed wonderful enough to make our mouth water even before tasting the actual treat.

Nestle Japan had actually previously sold a baked type cream cheese Kit Kat from the Kit Kat Chocolatory shop, which we tasted last year along with the pudding flavored bakeable Kit Kats. Having tried both, we thought that last year’s Chocolatory cream cheese Kit Kats had more of a cheese flavor, while these new cheesecake flavor bakeable Kit Kats seemed to be sweeter, and perhaps closer to how you might expect a typical “chocolate” snack to taste.

That doesn’t change the fact that we think the new Kit Kats still make a highly tasty treat. Plus, their small size makes them very convenient to eat as a quick snack. There’s apparently also a smaller package containing just three of the mini Kit Kats available exclusively at convenience stores, so if you’re in Japan this spring, you may very well come across this newest offering from Nestle Japan, in which case we wish you sweet and happy toasting!

Makers of Japanese snack Pocky claim Korean snack ripped off its packaging design, and it’s hard to disagree

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RocketNews 24:

You might expect working at one of Japan’s largest candy makers means every day at the office is filled with smiles, sunshine, and sentiments as sweet as the products they sell. But the management at Osaka-based Glico’s mood is downright sour these days, as the company claims rival Lotte’s new product is such a thinly veiled copy of one of Glico’s hits that it’s a slap in the face.

The company is in no mood to let this one slide, either, which is understandable since some say Lotte has been ripping off Glico for more than 30 years.

Even if you’re not familiar with the entire Glico product lineup, if you’ve spent time in Japan, browsed through the snack food aisle of an Asian supermarket, or even watched much anime, odds are you’ve seen Pocky, the chocolate-covered candy sticks the company has been selling since 1966.

 

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Pocky has enjoyed widespread popularity for decades. It seems it didn’t just catch the eye of chocolate lovers, though, but also of product planners at Lotte, the conglomerate founded in Japan but with the majority of its operations now in South Korea. In 1983, Lotte rolled out a product called Pepero in the Korean market, and whether or not you think the idea of “chocolate-covered sticks” constitutes a defensible intellectual property, you have to admit the packaging is kind of a rip off.

▼ Pocky on the left, Pepero on the right

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With over three decades having passed since its launch, it’s likely too late for Glico to do anything to halt Pepero sales now. Thankfully, the questionable competition hasn’t broken Glico, as the company continues to do well. One of its recent hits is an upscale offshoot of the Pocky formula called Baton d’Or. Available exclusively at Osaka department stores, the candy is differentiated from plain old Pocky by its thicker sticks and special buttery, chocolate coating. It’s such a hit that customers regularly line up ahead of time to get their hands on some before the day’s batch is sold out, even though it’s quite a bit more expensive than Pocky at 501 yen (US $4.25) a box.

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Speaking of boxes, here’s what the box looks like for Lotte’s fancier version of Pepero, called Premier Pepero.

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Well isn’t that a coincidence? Or it would be, if it weren’t for the fact that Baton d’Or has been available since October of 2013, and Premier Pepero was just unveiled in Korea in November of 2014.

Not surprisingly, Glico’s executives and lawyers see more than a passing resemblance in Lotte’s tall package that features a kink halfway up the box, wavy line separating a field of white from a contrasting color, and single upright stick depicted on the front. And though imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, Glico has responded to the unsolicited compliment not with a cheerful “Thank you,” but with a stern lawsuit filed in Korean court seeking to bar the sale of Premier Pepero.

While Glico has confirmed bringing the matter to court, the company has declined to comment further on the issue at this time. If successful, the lawsuit could also give a sense of satisfaction to other Japanese food and beverage companies that have felt the sting of Korean treats that are a little too close for comfort in packaging design to their own, including Meiji’s Kinoko no Yama mushroom-shaped chocolates…

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Otsuka’s Calorie Mate nutrition bars…

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Kirin’s Amino Supli sports drink (not to be confused with Korea’s Amino Up)…

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…and Meiji’s own Pocky-like Fran, seen here with ironically named Korean imitator Friend.

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Really, some of these are so blatantly cases of one copying the other that it’s hard to look at them and not find yourself craving a little justice…and also a whole lot of candy.

First Kit Kat Chocolaterie shop with cafe opens in Kyoto

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RocketNews 24:

Chocolate lovers around Japan were understandably thrilled when the Kit Kat Chocolatery, the world’s first Kit Kat specialty store, opened in the Seibu Ikebukuro Department Store about a year ago. Of course, we were pretty excited too, and when we visited the shop on opening day, we could see from the crowd that plenty of people felt the same way.

After a year, it seems the Kit Kat Chocolatery has been a success so far, as they’ve just opened their fourth shop in Japan, this time in Kyoto. And what’s even better, this Kit Kat Chocolatery comes with a cafe attached! Plus, they’ve released some new Chocolatery products as well, so we thought we’d share the news with all our sweets-loving readers!

Kit Kat shop pic

As we’ve previously reported, the Kit Kat Chocolatery features items produced by renowned pastry chef  Yasumasa Takagi, and his special creations exclusively for the Chocolatery were certain to attract attention, particularly as Kit Kats have always been popular in Japan. But just how successful has the Kit Kat Chocolatery been since its launch a year ago?

Well, according to Nestle Japan’s recent press release, the two Chocolatery shops in Tokyo (the Seibu Ikebukuro and Daimaru Tokyo stores) and the third shop in Nagoya (the Matsuzakaya Nagoya store) so far have welcomed over 400,000 customers and generated roughly 900 million yen (approx. US$7.6 million) in sales. No wonder they decided to open a fourth shop! And the historic city of Kyoto, which attracts a huge number of tourists from both within Japan and abroad, certainly seems an excellent choice of location.

As a matter of fact, Kit Kat actually already has ties with Kyoto, as one of its products, the “Kit Kat Matcha Green Tea for Grown-ups (Kit Kat Otonano Amasa Matcha),” has been designated a “PR Partner” by the Prefecture of Kyoto for promoting the Uji Matcha green tea, which Kyoto is known for.

▼Here’s an image of what the new shop in Kyoto looks like. It just recently opened on January 28 on the B1 floor of the Daimaru Kyoto Department Store.shop_daimarukyoto03

Now, as we’ve already mentioned, this is the first Chocolatery shop with an eat-in cafe, and their menu definitely sounds tempting. On offer at the cafe are: the “Kit Kat Sablé” and “Kit Kat Sablé Matcha Flavor” cookies, both baked with rich dough containing crushed Kit Kat crumbs (350 yen [US$2.96] a piece); the “Kit Kat Parfait” consisting of chocolate flavored soft serve ice cream made with chef Takagi’s original chocolate topped with Kit Kats (600 yen [$5.08]); the “Café Affogato (Affogato al Caffè) Chocolat” made with NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto® Espresso poured over chef Takagi’s original soft serve chocolate ice cream (300 yen [$2.54]); and the “Café Mélange,” a beverage consisting of NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto®’s Lungo regular blend coffee topped with whipped cream (350 yen [$2.96]). Goodness, just introducing the menu makes us seriously crave sweets and coffee! And if you just want something simpler, they also have regular NESCAFÉ® Dolce Gusto®’s line of Lungo coffee, Espresso, Cappuccino, Tea Latte and Uji Matcha Green Tea Latte available for approximately $2 to $3.

And now, let’s take a look at the new Chocolatery items that have just recently been released.

● The “Kit Kat Chocolatery Special Kyoto Assort” (1,350 yen [$11.43]/12 pieces)16144189087_4ce9ddb61b_zThis package containing 3 pieces each of the “Strawberry Maple,” “Plum,” “Matcha Greent Tea and Kinako Soy Bean Powder” and “Ginger” flavors, comes in an original package decorated with an illustration of Kyoto’s famous five-story pagoda and is available only at the Kyoto Daimaru Store.

● The “Kit Kat x DISH Special Collaboration Kit Kat with CD” (Special Kyoto Package Version)” (600 yen [$5.08])KK 4These Kit Kats come with a CD of the tie-in song “Kit” featured in the short musical film “Your Story” which stars the four-man rock band DISH. The box has a blank space on the bottom where you can write a personalized message if you’re giving it to someone as a present. The package pictured above is a special edition box sold only at the Kyoto Daimaru store, but a regular version will be available at all Chocolatery shops from February 2.

● The “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Plum (Ume)” (400 yen [$3.39]/4 pieces)16330077725_22d2d2e4ce_zThe slightly sour flavor of plum makes a refreshing combination with the sweetness of chocolate in these KitKats. They’re currently available only at the Kyoto Daimaru store but will be sold at the rest of the Chocolatery shops too from February 2.

●The “Kit Kat Sublime White” (300 yen [$2.54]/piece)KK 3These Kit Kats made with quality white couverture chocolate are rich, yet not too sweet. They’re now available at all Chocolatery shops, but only 300 are sold each day, and each customer is limited to a purchase of three pieces.

And for your reference and enjoyment, here’s a recap of the other choco-licious items available at the Chocolatery shops:

▼The ever popular “Kit Kat Sublime Bitter” made with bitter couverture chocolate containing 66% cacao (300 yen [$2.54]/piece)KK 5 sublime_R

▼The ”Kit Kat Sublime Raspberry,” which also contains couverture chocolate with 66% cacao combined with the refreshing flavor of raspberry (300 yen [$2.54]/piece)KK 6 sublime raspberry_R

▼The “Kit Kat Chocolatery Special Ginger,” made using cream containing ginger powder (400 yen [$3.39]/4 pieces) KK 7 special Ginger_R

▼The “Kit Kat Chocolatery Special Cream Cheese,” which contains powdered cheese in between the wafers (400 yen [$3.39]/4 pieces)KK 8 Cream Cheese_R

▼The “Kit Kat Chocolatery Special Matcha Green Tea and Kinako Soy Bean Powder,” which uses quality Uji Matcha green tea (400 yen [$3.39]/4 pieces)KK 9 Matcha Kinako_R

▼The “Kit Kat Chocolatery Special Strawberry Maple“, made from white chocolate containing strawberries, with a touch of maple flavoring added (400 yen [$3.39]/4 pieces) KK 10 Strawberry Maple_R

▼The “Kit Kat Chocolaterie Special Orange Cocktail” with a refreshing orange flavor (400 yen [$3.39]/4 pieces, 1,200 yen [$10.19]/12 pieces, available only in Tokyo)KK 11 Orange Cocktail_R

Well, the folks at Nestle Japan must have a ball thinking up special Kit Kat flavors to drive chocolate lovers mad with craving. Not that we’re complaining, as long as they continue coming up with delectable looking treats for us! We can never have too many choices of chocolates, after all, can we?

 

[Details for Kit Kat Chocolatery Daimaru Kyoto Shop]
Business Hours: 10am to 8pm
(Closed when Daimaru Kyoto is closed)
Address: 79 Shijo Street Takakura Nishiiri Tachiurinishimachi, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
                  Daimaru Kyoto Department Store B1 Floor
Access: 1 min from Hankyu Kyoto Line Karasuma Station
                2 min walk from Karasuma Subway Line Shijo Station
Tel: +81-75-211-8111

Totoro Creampuffs!

totoro-cream-puffs

FoodBeast:

These Totoro Creampuffs are from Shiro Hige, a cream puff factory out of Tokyo that doesn’t fare well when hit with Google Translate.

The important thing is blogger and published author Stephanie Le captured their beauty for the world to see. Pictured are a couple of puffs filled with chestnut custard creme and the other is vanilla.

If you don’t live anywhere near Tokyo and you’re interested in making your own, BentoMonsters.com has an almost-as-cute recipe.