THE Gift for Valentines 2020 in Japan: Ruby Chocolate

Tokyo Food Sweets 2020.01.16
This pretty in pink chocolate, nicknamed \"ruby chocolate\" for its gemlike shade, has made a mark on the ever-changing and innovating sweets scene in Japan. And there's no better time to indulge in this sweet treat than Valentine's!
The month before Valentine's Day is the perfect time for chocolate makers and patisseries all over Japan to show off their most beautiful and delicious creations, and ruby chocolate has of course taken center stage this year. Between the mellow flavor and the frankly adorable color, it's no wonder these rosy chocolate concoctions are the go-to for this sugary sweet holiday.
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    Ruby chocolate was introduced to the world in 2017 by Belgian–Swiss cocoa company Barry Callebaut, who developed the uniquely colored sweet from "ruby cocoa beans." These days, though, it's all over, attracting foodies with its lusciously fruity flavor. The Carre de Chocolat ruby chocolate squares above are made by the Japanese company Morinaga - far from the European home of ruby chocolate.
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    While Japanese aesthetics can have a certain elegance and simplicity, not all of this year's Valentine's chocolate looks like the plain squares at the top of this article. Once the chocolate turns pink, we're getting into "kawaii" territory, and Japan sure knows how to do cute. For a better sense of the decadence inherent in ruby chocolate, Japanese chocolate makers like Bel Amer and Message de Rose are going all out with floral motifs, sparkles, and other hints of fruit.
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    Of course, in the land of many-flavored Kit Kats, you know Kit Kats Japan isn't missing out on this unique flavor.
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    And for a fully ruby chocolate experience, you can snack on some ruby chocolate while drinking... ruby chocolate. Tully's Coffee, an American coffee brand with hugely successful cafes in Japan, is getting in on the Valentine's trend with fruity ruby chocolate + white mocha lattes.
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    You can even indulge in a full meal of ruby chocolate this Valentine's Day, if you're feeling really passionate about it. Cafe & Dining Zelkova in southern Tokyo is offering a "Strawberry & Ruby Chocolate Afternoon Tea" with sweets of all kinds, plus some more savory options.
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    Of course, if you're already over ruby chocolate and want to enjoy pink food with a special someone on Valentine's Day without the chocolatey flavor, Japan's got you covered. Head to the Lake Biwa Otsu Prince Hotel for strawberry beef curry.

    Oh Japan, what will you come up with next?

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    Have you tried ruby chocolate before? Participated in any Japanese Valentine's Day traditions? Or just want to plan a great trip to Japan this Valentine's season? We'd love to hear all about your experiences and your plans on twitter, instagram, and facebook!

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