For those who are shopping for Valentine’s or White Day chocolates, why go cheap when you can really show your love with premium chocolate? We have a list of some of the best chocolatiers in Tokyo that will satisfy your sweet tooth but may break the bank.
Chocolat Bel Amer outlets, found in department stores across Japan, offer a range of rich traditional chocolates and a selection of cakes and desserts. Their unique chocolate blends stand out, including their “Fig Van Rouge,” made to taste like French red wine and semi-dry figs, or their “Anno Potato” with potato shochu and caramel milk ganache. The store is offering chocolate collections for Valentine’s Day with a variety of flavors including fruit, coffee, champagne and sake.
Wako Chocolate Salon
Ginza, Wako Department Store, Annex 1F
Ginza Metro Station
JR Higashi-Ginza Station
TEL: (03) 5250-3102 (cake); (03) 3562-5010 (chocolate)
This in-house shop for the prestigious Wako Department Store in Ginza offers around 30 kinds of handmade chocolates. The chocolates are delicately decorated and kept under strict temperature control so that they will melt in your mouth. The various gift boxes for Valentine’s Day, which featured a heart-shaped bitter ganache filled with orange jam and created under the guidance of Hiroaki Yamazaki, can be pre-ordered Jan. 21 and Feb. 9.
Le Chocolat de H
Ginza (Hosono Bldg. 1F, Ginza Station), Shibuya (Hikarie Department Store, Shibuya Station)
Hironobu Tsujiguchi is an innovative chocolatier who tries to incorporate traditional Japanese ingredients such as wasabi and kombu into his chocolate creations. Each year, he creates a Valentine’s collection containing four carefully designed chocolates with unique tastes. For 2016, Tsujiguchi’s “Samurai” collection features exciting combinations of classic Japanese flavors, such as matcha and yuzu, or hojicho and praline.
Mont St Clair
Tokyu Toyoko Line
TEL: (03) 3718-5200
Just like Le Chocolat de H, this cafe/patisserie is the brainchild of Hironobu Tsujiguchi. The store prides itself on selling a wide selection of delicately decorated sweets. They specialize in petite gateau but also offer an assortment of high-quality chocolates. They can even send out frozen gift cakes, from a baked cheesecake to a white chocolate cake with raspberry and pistachio.
Pierre Hermé Paris
Matsuya Ginza, Tokyu Food Show Futako Tamagawa, Seibu Ikebukuro, Hikarie Shibuya, Daimaru Tokyo, Seibu Shibuya, Mitsukoshi Nihombashi, Isetan Shinjuku, Hotel New Otani, La Porte Aoyama
For individual store details
Having begun as an apprentice pastry chef at the age of 14, Pierre Hermé is now world-famous for his pastry making. (Vogue magazine called him "the Picasso of pastry.”) Most famous for his pastries, look out for his signature creation, the Ispahan — a rose macaron, filled with rose petal cream, whole raspberries and lychees. His stores also sell a wide assortment of high quality chocolate bonbons, made with an outer coating, and filled with crunchy pralines or a moist ganache.
Ginza (Higashi-Ginza Station), Shibuya (Hikarie Department store, Shibuya Station), Nihonbashi - Limited store (Mitsukoshi Department store)
The Belgian-born Pierre Marcolini oversees all the levels of making chocolate, from purchasing and sorting, roasting and smelting cocoa beans himself in order to produce his chocolate. One of his chocolate collections, “Saveur du Monde,” celebrates celebrates world flavors, with differing tastes depending on where the cocoa was grown, including Madagascar, Brazil and Ecuador.
La Maison du Chocolat
Aoyama (Omotesando Station), Ginza (Ginza Station), Marunouchi (Yurakucho Station), Roppongi Hills (Azabujuban Station)
Originally founded in Paris, this store specialises in ganaches, often with a hint of fruit, praline or coffee. The ganache, often covered in a thin chocolate coating, creates a moist, rich flavor to all their chocolates, which makes it impossible to eat only one. Their collection of “intoxicating ganaches” is particular special, featuring a cognac-flavored truffle and an orange liqueur ganache.
Ebisu, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Meguro, Shinagawa, Ginza, Nihonbashi, Asakusa
Godiva chocolates are famous the world over, and rightly so due to its wide selection of chocolate, cookies and even ice cream. Not only do the small, intricately designed chocolates look beautiful, but they also come in every flavor imaginable, from caramel, to macadamia, to one filled with ganache made with Amami Oshima black honey. For a limited time there will be specially designed gift boxes available for Valentine's Day.
Nihonbashi, Takashimaya department store
Tokyo Metro and JR Nihonbashi Station
TEL: (03) 3231-3475
This store offers a selection of carefully considered chocolates, with a mix of ganaches and pralines. The store clearly appreciates classy aesthetics as each chocolate is exquisitely designed with a unique pattern or topped with a small nut. There is also a collection of heart-shaped treats. Apart from chocolate, the store also offers an assortment of colorful macarons.
Omotesando Hills (Omote-sando Station), Tokyo Midtown (Aoyama-itchome Station), Shinjuku (Isetan Shinjuku, Shinjuku-sanchome Station)
This French chocolatier specializes in chocolates, truffles and macarons. The truffles are particularly popular, filled with creamy ganache and covered in cocoa. The chocolates come as high-quality chocolate bars or in gift boxes, filled with small chocolate squares, incorporating flavors from Madagascar, Brazil and Venezuela. In particular, look out for the unique macaron flavors, including hojicha and cassis.
Ginza, Omotesando, Shibuya, Jiyugaoka, Kichijoji, Tachikawa, Kitasenju
This Swiss chocolate brand is famous all over the globe for its rich, ganache-filled chocolates. While you can find Lindt chocolate in most supermarkets, the world-famous brand also offers an assortment of high quality gift chocolates. In preparation for Valentine’s Day this year they are offering a number of gift boxes of varying prices. One such box holds a collection of original Lindt truffles, with flavors including tiramisu, amaretto, champagne, orange liqueur and cognac. If you’re looking for some more distinctive flavors, they even offer chili or roasted sesame-flavored chocolate.
Marunouchi Head Store, Marunouchi Brick Sqaure 1F
Tokyo Metro Nijubashimae station
JR Otemachi Station
TEL: (03) 3283-2238
Cacao Sampaka prides itself on sorting, cleaning, roasting and grinding the the cocoa beans themselves. The store in Marunouchi sells bite-sized bonbons flavored with liquor, flowers, tea, nuts and more. Each chocolate is carefully handcrafted, carefully created and beautifully decorated.
JR Kurumae Station
Tokyo Metro Asakusa Station or Asakusabashi Station
Dandelion Chocolate touts itself as a bean-to-bar chocolate factory, meaning that they roast, crack, sort, winnow, grind, conch and temper the beans themselves in the process. By only using two ingredients — cocoa beans and organic cane sugar — and by producing chocolate in this traditional way, their chocolate has a unique taste. Having started in San Francisco, they now have stores all over the U.S. and opened a new store in Kuramae on Feb. 4. For a nice touch, the paper covering the chocolate is made by hand in India.
Stores open for a limited time
From Feb. 1-14, the Takashimaya department store in Tamagawa will be opening a Valentine’s Day branch. Located on the first floor, this shop will offer special gift boxes full of chocolates from international brands including Caffarel from Italy. There will be chocolate truffles from Yvan Valentin, cute bear-shaped chocolates from Alex & Michael and thoughtful Valentine’s Day cards.
In preparation for Valentine’s day this year, Isetan Department store in Shinjuku will be offering a special sweets collection from Feb. 3-15 on the department’s sixth floor. People will be able to dig and purchase packages full of chocolate bonbons as a great Valentine’s gift, or they can try delicious hot chocolate straight out of a special faucet.
List compiled by Monica Ireland