With Valentine’s Day soon approaching, which in Japan means women buying chocolate for men, (thanks to some genius marketing by a chocolate manufacturer many years ago), the shelves are being stacked with chocolate, chocolate recipes, Royce/Sapporo chocolate beer and this year I found shelves of alcohol filled chocolates.
There are the usual whiskey and brandy filled chocolates that have been around for ages, but also some new and interesting additions.
Shochu chocolate, sake chocolate, beer bonbons, and continuing the Whiskey Highball craze in Japan, whiskey highball chocolates too.
I decided to try the beer bonbons as although some chocolate beers are pretty good, the idea of a beer-flavoured chocolate just sounded too weird not to try.
And it also had the great tagline
Especially selected for your brilliant days with my favorite song, grace and elegance abound.
I wish I hadn’t. It actually has some liquid inside, and the ingredients state it does contain beer (it also has 2.9%abv), but inside was some weird bitter, fizzy liquid that just didn’t go with the (also bitter) chocolate outside. I can’t face throwing them away as it’s a waste, so I’m steadily working my way though them, one every couple of days. (Update: My dad was recently in Japan, and he tried them and said they were “Ok”, so he’s taken them back to England with him).
The other chocolates I tried were from Gekkeikan Sake Brewery in Kyoto who make some good sakes. Turns out they makes some good chocolate too. These were more like the normal, expensive kind of chocolates you cna buy around Valentines day, no liquid inside, just soft, chewy cubes of very tasty chocolate. I didn’t get any sake taste, but apparently it is in the ingredients list (there’s also a warning about not letting kids or pregnant women eat these, although no alcohol % was on the packaging).
These are the Whiskey Highball Bonbons with what looks like a Suntory Tory character
Now these win hands down on packaging. Made by Gekkeikan Sake Brewery in Kyoto again, like the sake chocolate near the top, (Gekkeikan seem to have made quite a few chocolates this year, they’re really making a go of this alcohol chocolate thing), it comes in a cool “fake” bamboo cup, nicely wrapped up in gauze, like you often find sake bottles presented in.
The chocolate themselves are pretty nice too, crispy shell with crystallised sugar in with the sake. These rank second in my opinion with the non-bonbon sake chocolates from Gekkeikan I tried earlier.
Suffice to say it seems I’m not a big fan of alcohol infused chocolate. I’d try one, not like it, offer it round and it would get a more favourable response.
Still, I really liked the Gekkeiken non-bonbon chocolates (at the top of the page), and even their bonbon version (in the fake bamboo pot) was pretty good.