Food Review: CARRE AU CHOCOLAT matcha dessert made with Yamecha tea from Fukuoka
Matcha has become a common ingredient and flavour in people’s lives outside of Japan. It’s now easier than ever to get your hands on something matcha flavoured, whether it be desserts or the tea itself. Even in Japan, you’ll find new matcha products released daily. Today, we’re reviewing a particular matcha dessert made using the highest quality Japanese ingredients.
Marche co., ltd., a subsidiary of TAGPIC Inc., co-launched a luxury sweets brand called ‘BRANCHE CHOCOLAT’ on September 9, 2020, together with Riku Yakushijin who, as a chef at the introduction-only French restaurant Sugalabo, works as a Culinary Producer where he has honed the concept of ‘food literacy.’ Together, they have released their very first dessert together: the matcha-flavoured ‘CARRE AU CHOCOLAT.’
About BRANCHE CHOCOLAT
BRANCHE CHOCOLAT is a high quality sweets brand based on the idea of wanting to expand the number of authentic and genuinely good sweets. The brand’s name is a combination of the French words branche, meaning to ‘connect’ or ‘tie,’ and chocolat which of course is chocolate. Everything they do is totally calculated, using good quality Japanese ingredients while keeping in mind flavour, texture, and appearance, and taking into account the joy of sharing, the surprise when eating, and the moment you put something delicious into your mouth―and all of this without being predictable. By making their products into a distinct cube shape, it makes the dessert look stylish, easy to eat, and easy to photograph from every angle.
The First Product: Matcha ‘CARRE AU CHOCOLAT’
GIFT BOX ¥5,478 (Tax Included) / ECO BOX ¥4,378 (Tax Included)
The first product in BRANCHE CHOCOLAT’s line is the ‘CARRE AU CHOCOLAT’ which is made using yamecha from Fukuoka. Yamecha is a type of tea produced in Fukuoka that comes in many different forms depending on the variety and how the tea is ground, which can make for a whole range of different results from types that are beautiful in colour to very bitter flavours, very rich flavours, or very sweet flavours. And to ensure they get the absolute full potential out of the yamecha, BRANCH CHOCOLAT conceived over 50 recipes through trial runs and taste-testing. The end result had them arrive at the recipe we have here today which preserves the original flavour of the tea while enhancing it to be even more elegant in taste.
When opening the dessert box, your gaze is arrested by the sparkle of the four-sided matcha dessert. A dessert that’s cube-shaped looks good enough to snap a photo from any angle. As you fork into the chocolate, it’s softer than Japanese ganache, and moister than a terrine.
Time to tuck in.
Your taste buds are met by the sweetness of the rich chocolate together with the bitter, full-bodied taste of the yamecha. It feels smooth in the mouth and just melts. You can really savour the matcha which penetrates all the way to your nose. This is a completely different dessert experience which is deep and rich in flavour yet has a lightness to it.
Underneath the chocolate is a traditional French confection known as pain de genes which has been thinly sliced which makes it feel a little like eating a cake when enjoyed with the chocolate. The simple flavour of the pain de genes and the sweetness of the chocolate are a perfect match for one another.
It’s precisely because the CARRE AU CHOCOLAT uses high quality Japanese matcha that you can savour the sweetness, delicious taste, and the adequate amount of bitterness. This is a treat that any and all lovers of matcha and chocolate cannot afford to pass on. It’s the perfect size to be enjoyed by 2-4 people, making it great for a special celebration, a home party, or if you want to share it with someone special.
Matcha ‘CARRE AU CHOCOLATE’
Brand Site: https://branche-chocolat.jp/
Peanuts Comic Launches 70th Anniversary Birthday Campaign in Japan
Japan’s five Peanuts comic-themed cafes are now holding a birthday plan campaign in celebration of the series’ 70th anniversary.
Each cafe branch is offering something different
PEANUTS Cafe Nakameguro x WHYTROPHY With Birthday Rosette
PEANUTS DINER Yokohama With Embroidered Striped Pin
PEANUTS DINER Kobe With Embroidered Striped Pin
PEANUTS Cafe Snoopy Museum With Tote Bag
PEANUTS Cafe Nagoya With Tote Bag
Customers at the cafes will also be randomly selected to stay at the PEANUTS HOTEL and will receive a free sticker as pictured above. All who order the birthday plan and their group will even receive a free present.
(C) 2021 Peanuts Worldwide LLC (短縮形 (C) 2021 Peanuts)
Peanuts Birthday Plan Campaign
Running: April 7, 2021 – June 30, 2021
Campaign Page: http://www.peanutscafe.jp/special/birthday-plan-campaign/
Rich and Divine Matcha Roll Cake Gets Baked by 170 Year Old Japanese Tea Shop
10.April.2021 | FOOD
Japanese tea shop and cafe Tsuboichi Seicha Honpo has baked up a brand new matcha roll cake made with high quality matcha leaves specially selected by their own tea experts. If indulgence is your calling, then this cake is the perfect accompaniment with a cup of tea whether it be matcha, Japanese tea, black tea – or any other of your favourite kind of tea.
The cake is a striking black colour, one that is featured in traditional Japan. The soft matcha filling provides an eye-catching contrast to the sponge. It’s baked on a high temperature over charcoal and bamboo which serves to deepen the colours even more and elevate the vividness of the green matcha.
Cafe time can now be enjoyed at home with this very special treat.
Tokyo’s New Vegan Dessert Shop the vegan marshmallooow Opens in Ginza
Ginza Mitsukoshi is welcoming a limited-time vegan dessert shop by the name of ‘the vegan marshmallooow’ which is open from April 1 to June 30. This shop is known amongst the vegan community in Japan for its vegan cakes, and due to that positive response, is now opening its first long-term promotional pop-up shop in collaboration with Mitsukoshi Isetan Group.
Online orders opened at Mitsukoshi Isetan on March 27 with a delicious line-up that includes their signature vegan chocolate cake.
A look at just some of the mouth-watering line-up
Their number one most popular order: a gorgeously gluten-free mirror cake made with rich chocolate.
<NEW> Whole Fruit Cake
For those who like something a little more fruity and refreshing, this juicy cake is topped with assorted fruits like setoka orange, peach, kiwi, blueberry, strawberry, and more. The gluten-free sponge and soy cream give it a light texture that’s also rich.
<NEW> Special Chocolate Cake Slice
An exquisite three-layered version of the shop’s iconic chocolate make made with plant-based ingredients. Its triple tier is formed harmoniously of sponge, chocolate mousse, and cream. A single serving for a single sweet tooth.
Two moist layers of gluten-free strawberry sponge with a soy milk base. Smooth, creamy, light, and delicious.
This mont blanc is specially made with Japanese chestnuts. The addition of soy cream elevates the nutty flavour throughout. A crunchy tart and fluffy sponge also makes for a textural sensation.
the vegan marshmallooow’s vegan cake now available online at Mitsukoshi Isetan
Vegan Chocolate Cake Set (3 Pieces)
the vegan marshmallooow
Running: April 1, 2021 – June 30, 2021
Where: Mitsukoshi Ginza Floor B2F
Address: 4-6-16 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00
the vegan marshmallooow Official Instagram: https://instagram.com/theveganmarshmallooow
Shinjuku’s Takano Fruit Parlour Serves Up Strawberry Desserts For the Spring Season
02.April.2021 | FOOD
This spring, Takano Fruits Parlour is serving up a special strawberry-themed course menu at its Shinjuku branch starting on April 5. It comes as part of the restaurant’s monthly fruit theme where they shine a spotlight on a single fruit each month. This month is strawberries which are adorning everything from appetisers to the main and dessert with a collection of succulent delights.
Spring Strawberry Course | ¥4,400 (Tax Included)
The course includes an apéritif, strawberry soup, beef cooked in a strawberry and demi-glance sauce, fruit salad, a hot dessert, strawberry chiboust, strawberry art palette assortment, a chilled strawberry dessert, and a choice of coffee, tea, or cafe au lait.
Spring Strawberry Course
Running: April 5, 2021 – April 28, 2021 (Weekdays Only)
Where: Takano Fruit Palrour
Address: 3-26-11 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Time: [Morning Slot] 11:00-13:30 / [Afternoon Slot] 16:30-18:30
Official Website: https://takano.jp/parlour/
Matcha and Latte Cookies and Drinks Released by Yojiya
01.April.2021 | FOOD
Kyoto makeup brand Yojiya is now selling its own collection of snacks and drinks which it released via its website last week.
Yojiya Matcha Sandwich Cookies | ¥1,400 (Tax Included)
Yojiya Cafe Latte Chocolate Cookies | ¥1,350 (Tax Included)
Yojiya Matcha Milk | ¥950 (Tax Included)
Yojiya’s snack line-up is made with the idea of being able to enjoy high-quality food products at home. Their collection includes crunchy matcha and cafe latte cookies along with matcha milk, the latter of which is made with famous Uji matcha from Uji, Kyoto. Perfect for a tea/coffee break or as a souvenir.
Released: March 25, 2021
Online Shop: https://www.yojiyacosme.com/
Masaki Suda Appears in New Mister Donut Japan Commercial
31.March.2021 | FOOD
Japanese actor and singer Masaki Suda appeared in a new commercial for Mister Donut which hit Japan last week. The name of the commercial translates to “there’s always something good inside the box.”
On January 27, 2020, Mister Donut celebrated its 50th anniversary. The doughnut chain boasts around 960 stores in Japan. In their latest commercial, they promote the joy of opening a box of their doughnuts when ordering takeout.
Mister Donuts Commercial
Initial Broadcast: March 25, 2021 (Japan)
Japanese Milky Candy Themed Hotel Rooms Open in Collaboration With Hoshino Resorts
Hoshino Resorts has launched a hotel plan at its BEB hotel branches called “Milky Sweet Room Stay.” The plan was devised in collaboration with Japanese confectionery brand Fujiya and their popular Milky soft candy. Guests will be able to stay in rooms decorated in all things Milky, an experience that is running from March 26 to June 30.
Milky Sweet Room
Look like Peko-chan, the Milky mascot, with the top and overall set
Find Peko-chan at Hoshino Resorts BEB5 Karuizawa
Make a Milky smoothie on a bicycle at Hoshino Resorts BEB5 Tsuchiura
Milky Sweet Room Stay opening campaign
Guests will be able to enjoy Milky like they never have before in all kinds of deliciously sweet ways. Rooms are adorned with Milky cushions, a doll of Peko-chan who is the face of Milky, Milky wallpaper and decorations, Milky bath products, and of course Milky candy.
At the Karuizawa branch of Hoshino Resorts BEB5, guests must locate Peko-chan in three locations around the area. Those who find all three will win all-you-can-eat French toast covered in Milky sauce. at the Tsuchiura branch, guests can get a set of ingredients to make their own smoothie by pedalling on a bicycle. It takes about 30 seconds for your Milky shake to be ready.
The iconic Milky packaging design is also being revamped in celebration of the brand’s 70th anniversary. As part of the celebration, guests can expect t see a line-up of past designs along with some rare ones. Hoshino Resorts is also holding a campaign to promote the room where dix people can win a ¥50,000 voucher for Hoshino Resorts as well as a set of assorted Milky candy.
Milky Sweet Room Stay
Running: March 26, 2021 – June 30, 2021
Where: All Hoshino Resorts BEB branches
Capacity: Only one room available per hotel for up to a maximum of 3 people
Campaign Details: https://www.fujiya-peko.co.jp/hoshino_cp/
Hoshino Resorts Official Website: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/
Cherry Blossom Chocolate and Soda Releases From MAISON CACAO
27.March.2021 | FOOD
Japanese aromatic raw chocolate brand MAISON CACAO is launching a new Kamakura-based brand called Shiki to Maison (“Four Seasons & Maison”) which will feature chocolates that capture the events and culture found throughout the four seasons in Japan.
The first entries to the series are cherry blossom chocolates which are available from March 26 to April 4, as well as cherry blossom drink which can be enjoyed on March 27 and 28.
Aroma Raw Chocolate SAKURA ¥2,200 / Cacao Vinegar Soda SAKURA ¥550 (Before Tax)
Aroma Raw Chocolate SAKURA
Indulge in a box of these luxury cherry blossom chocolates which are made with 100% cacao powder which have a refreshing white chocolate aftertaste. The chocolates are made with cherry blossom as well as a fresh cream laced with salt-pickled cherry blossom. They also include a paste made from liquid drawn from cherry blossom petals. It’s a taste of Japanese spring with every bite.
Cacao Vinegar Soda SAKURA
This springtime beverage includes a cacao vinegar made from cacao pulp and is coupled with fragrant cherry blossom. This one is available at the Komachi and Cacao Hanare branches as well as at CHOCOLATE BANK.
Shiki to Maison Sakura Sweets
Japanese Product Name: 四季とメゾン 桜スイーツ
Serving: March 26, 2021 – April 4, 2021
MAISON CACAO Official Website: https://onlineshop.maisoncacao.com/
Häagen-Dazs Releases Matcha Chocolate Cookie and Almond Caramel Cookie Ice Cream
26.March.2021 | FOOD
Häagen-Dazs Japan released two new ice cream flavours as part of its Decorations mini cup series on March 23: the Matcha Chocolate Cookie and Almond Caramel Cookie.
The visually-striking Häagen-Dazs Decorations series is a smooth, rich-flavoured ice cream with delicious toppings to compliment the ice cream.
For the third entry to Decorations, Häagen-Dazs welcomes back the Almond Caramel Cookie from 2019 and adds the all-new matcha and chocolate combo Matcha Chocolate Cookie.
Matcha Chocolate Cookie / Almond Caramel Cookie – ¥295 Each (Before Tax)
Even more delicious after stirring
The best way to enjoy Decorations is to first spoon the ice cream as it is to taste the flavours. After that, you’ll want to stir it all together to all the flavours and textures fuse, creating a delightful contrast between the soft ice cream and crunchy toppings.
Almond Caramel Cookie
Almond Caramel Cookie takes inspiration from the Florentine biscuit which is a sweet pastry topped with nuts and fruits. The cup contains delicious caramel butterscotch ice cream laced with caramel sauce, all of which is topped off with crumbly sliced almonds and crunchy butter cookie pieces.
Matcha Chocolate Cookie
The Matcha Chocolate Cookie is exactly what it says on the cup: a fragrant matcha ice cream infused with chocolate sauce and topped with sweet chocolate and matcha cookies.
Decorations: Almond Caramel Cookie & Matcha Chocolate Cookie
Released: March 23, 2021
Where: Japan (Supermarkets, convenience stores, department stores, and elsewhere)
Product Page: https://www.haagen-dazs.co.jp/decorations_2021/
Fruits Basket Themed Cafe to Open in Tokyo This Spring
The anime-themed cafe brand OTA★LAB CAFE will open its first permanent cafe, “Cheer fancle cafe,” in Awajicho, Tokyo on April 1, 2021. The cafe’s first collaboration will be with the hit series Fruits Basket whose manga has sold over 30 million copies worldwide. It will run from April 1 to May 9 and will feature a range of dishes and drinks inspired the series as well as merchandise, new and exclusive artwork drawn by the author Natsuki Takaya, and more.
Cheer fancle cafe Original Fruits Basket Pins (30 Designs) | ¥495 (Tax Included)
Cheer fancle cafe Original Fruits Basket Acrylic Stands (15 Designs) | ¥1,430 (Tax Included)
Cheer fancle cafe Original Fruits Basket Mini Acrylic Stands (15 Designs) | ¥1,000 (Tax Included)
Cheer fancle cafe Original Fruits Basket Acrylic Key Rings (15 Designs) | ¥715 (Tax Included)
Cheer fancle cafe Original Fruits Basket Postcard Sets (30 Designs/2 Included) | ¥385 (Tax Included)
Veggie Pasta ¥1,320 (Tax Included) / Omurice ¥1,320 / Egg Sandwich ¥880 (Tax Included)
Niratama Donburi ¥1,100 (Tax Included) / Hamburger ¥1,320 (Tax Included)
Strawberry Shortcake ¥990 (Tax Included) / Pancake ¥1,100 (Tax Included)
Coffee Milk Jelly ¥990 (Tax Included) / 3 Dango Set ¥880 (Tax Included)
Limited-Time Drinks Menu ①
Serving: April 1, 2021 – April 20, 2021
Onigiri White Smoothie ¥715 (Tax Included) / Starry Sky Latte ¥715 (Tax Included)
Cassis Berry Soda ¥715 (Tax Included) / Berry Drink ¥715 (Tax Included)
Limited-Time Drinks Menu ②
Serving: April 21, 2021 – May 9, 2021
Orange Soda ¥715 (Tax Included) / Milk Tea ¥715 (Tax Included)
Matcha Milk ¥715 (Tax Included) / Blue Soda ¥715 (Tax Included)
Win one of two possible signed coasters
Three lucky customers who collect all five stamps at Cheer fancle cafe can win one of two possible coasters signed by the author of Fruits Basket.
All customers who go to the cafe will receive one of 15 possible original book covers.
For every menu item order, customers will receive one of 32 possible coasters. There are 15 chibi designs, 15 completely original designs drawn by the manga author, and two rare designs.
For every ¥2,500 spent at the cafe, customers will receive one of 15 possible postcards.
Additionally, those who follow OTA★LAB CAFE on Twitter and retweet the campaign Tweet that will be posted on March 29 will have the chance to receive a set of all the above campaign items. This is available for five people from March 29 to April 5.
Japanese Springtime Flowers Bloom a Delicious Menu at TREE by NAKED Yoyogi Park
Spring has arrived at TREE by NAKED Yoyogi Park, a cafe run by NAKED that’s located in Yoyogi Park in Shibuya, Tokyo. On Monday, the cafe launched a seasonal menu which incorporates a variety of spring flowers like cherry blossoms, showy’s baby breath from Kumamoto, keiou-zakura from Yamagata, and more.
TREE by NAKED Yoyogi Park first opened in July 2017. It’s an experience-based art restaurant where customers can enjoy Japan’s latest cutting edge technology and next-generation gastronomy. Its popularity has risen rapidly, earning itself a reputation for offering an experience that stimulates all five of the senses, as well as for its photogenic interior decor.
With the pandemic restricting travel in Japan, people are unable to visit places far away across the country, and so the cafe is bringing a little bit of different places around Japan, namely their flowers, in collaboration with JA Kumamoto Uki and JA Yamagata.
Kumamoto is the only place in Japan that grows show’s baby breath. They are raised with the prefecture’s rich water and soil to blossom beautiful white and pink. These flowers can not only be enjoyed at TREE by NAKED Yoyogi Park as decorations, but customers can actually buy a bouquet of them too. Thanks to the skills of producers, the flowers can be grown out of season over a long period running from December to April, allowing people to enjoy their gorgeous springtime hues even if it’s not spring.
Açaí Lemonade – Eat In ¥825 / Takeout ¥810
Cherry Blossom & Strawberry Nicecream – Eat In ¥770 / Takeout ¥756
“Power & Healthly” are the concepts for the lunch and cafe-time menu which includes both food and drink. The cafe’s popular homemade açaí lemonade has been turned into a springtime version with fresh cherry blossom petals. There’s also a vegan-friendly ice cream made with banana, avocado, soy milk, and a blend of strawberry and cherry blossom. It has a slight salt tang to it.
Vegan Cherry Blossom Latte – Eat In ¥770 / Takeout ¥756
Vegan Avocado & Sprout Sandwich – Eat In ¥1,100 / Takeout ¥1,080
The cafe’s popular cherry blossom latte from last year returns with a soy milk base. There’s also sandwiches, including a vegan one fried in coconut oil.
Strawberry Mille-Feuille – Eat In ¥1,650
The cafe’s strawberry mille-feuille is so popular that they have to make a limited batch each day. It’s even been featured on Instagram. With the strawberry season here, customers can enjoy fresh whole strawberries topping their dessert.
The cafe will also be running an evening cafe and bar experience with a range of desserts, food, and alcohol.
Released: March 15, 2021
Where: TREE by NAKED Yoyogi Park
Address: 1-10-2 Tomigaya, Shibuya, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:00-20:00 (EVENING CAFÉ & BAR TIME from 16:00) *Last orders at 19:00
TREE by NAKED Yoyogi Park Official Website: https://tree.naked.works/yoyogi/
Rurouni Kenshin x Hello Kitty Collaboration Launching to Promote Manga’s Upcoming Live-Action Films
In promotion of the forthcoming live-action films Rurouni Kenshin: The Final and Rurouni Kenshin: The Beginning, both of which will be released on April 23 and June 4 respectively this year, the series is rolling out a collaboration with Sanrio’s globally-beloved character Hello Kitty on April 14.
Rurouni Kenshin x Hello Kitty Plush Toys (2 Designs) | ¥3,850 Each (Tax Included)
Rurouni Kenshin x Hello Kitty Plush Toys (4 Designs) | ¥2,750 Each (Tax Included)
Rurouni Kenshin x Hello Kitty A4 Folder Set | ¥495 (Tax Included)
Rurouni Kenshin x Hello Kitty Bottle | ¥1,540 (Tax Included)
Rurouni Kenshin x Hello Kitty Tote Bag | ¥2,200 (Tax Included)
Rurouni Kenshin x Hello Kitty Ballpoint Pens & Mechanical Pencils (2 Designs) | ¥770 Each (Tax Included)
Rurouni Kenshin x Hello Kitty Hand Towels | ¥1,430 (Tax Included)
Rurouni Kenshin x Hello Kitty Pins (6 Designs) | ¥330 Each (Tax Included)
Rurouni Kenshin x Hello Kitty Acrylic Stands (8 Designs) | ¥715 Each (Tax Included)
Rurouni Kenshin x Hello Kitty Sweets Paradise Collaboration Cafe
Kenshin Hello Kitty Beef Bowl / Battousai Hello Kitty Omurice
Enishi Hello Kitty Orange Crepe / Tomoe Hello Kitty Anmisu / Kaoru Hello Kitty Strawberry Pancake
Acrylic Mascot Key Rings
This marks the second collaboration between Rurouni Kenshin and Hello Kitty, the first taking place back in 2014 in promotion of Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends. Fans can get their hands on a collection of cute merchandise with Hello Kitty dressed as various characters from the series, as well as tuck into a themed menu which will first be served at Sweets Paradise Ueno ABAB from April 22 before rolling out to six more Sweets Paradise branches in Japan.
©和月伸宏／集英社 ©2020 映画「るろうに剣心 最終章 The Final/The Beginning 」製作委員会
Rurouni Kenshin x HELLO KITTY
Release Date: April 4, 2021
Buy Merchandise: At Sanrio stores and shops stocking Sanrio merch in Japan
Also Available Online
PayPay Mall: https://paypaymall.yahoo.co.jp/store/sanrio/top/
*Pins and acrylic stands unavailable online, available in-store only
Rurouni Kenshin x Hello Kitty IN SWEETS PARADISE
Start Date: April 22, 2021
Sanrio Official Website: https://www.sanrio.co.jp