Tell that special guy how you feel with an exquisite rusty nut and washer.
Late January and early February in Japan is a chocolate lover’s paradise. As Valentine’s Day in Japan has a somewhat more rigid custom of gifting chocolate to men, producers come out in full force to reap as much of the romantic and platonic sales as they can.
We sent Yuichiro Wasai down to Odakyu Department Store in Shinjuku to find some of these foreign delights. Here, like any major department store, chocolate producers from all over the globe congregate in one section to compete for your attention towards their booths.
But for The Amazing Chocolate Workshop, that’s probably effortless. Their display case full of golf equipment…
and fried eggs, all stick out like a sore thumb compared to the other elegant chocolates.
However, these were no less carefully crafted, and resembled their respected objects with an uncanny realism. To find out if their taste was at the same level, Yuichiro purchased the Spanner & Nut & Nipper for 3,888 yen (US$36), the Paint Set for 3,218 yen ($29), and the Sunny Side Up Fried Egg for 2,030 yen (US$19).
Even holding these chocolates, it’s hard not to mistake them for tools. The Amazing Chocolate Workshop cleverly utilizes the brown of the chocolate to add effects to everyday items such as rust…
and in the slightly singed edges of a fried egg…
and of course as brown paint.
If they were to make a shiny chocolate that was just in the basic shape of a wrench it would have been pretty cool, but they went the extra mile and added in all the details and weathering.
Even after snapping it in half and peering inside, it was still hard to distinguish it from a real spanner.
The taste, however, was a finely balanced chocolate that was neither too sweet nor too bitter. This chocolate clearly stood toe-to-toe with the other high-end chocolatiers at Odakyu.
Yuichiro thought the only thing better than the taste was the visual shock to those who saw him suddenly bite into a pair of wire cutters.
He also gleefully imagined what it wouldn’t have been like if a special lady had actually given him this as a gift.
? “Why, what’s this here?”
? “A tube of brown paint?”
? “How did you know I loved this stuff?!”
? “Lemme just…Mmmm.”
? “Hey, wait a minute. This is chocolate!”
Yes, playing with your food has never been so enjoyable. If there were a downside to all this, it would have to be that these chocolates are only sold in a handful of locations across Japan. Here’s where you can find them from now until 14 February.
Hokkaido – Sapporo Loft
Tohoku -Sendai Loft
Tokai – JR Nagoya Takashimaya (Tokyu Hands 10F)
Kanto – Odakyu Department Store Shinjuku; Hikarie ShinQs Shibuya; Ginza Matsuya; Sogo Yokohama; Ikspiari (Tokyo Disney Resort); Loft stores in Ikebukuro, Shibuya, Yokohama, Chiba, and Kawasaki
Kansai – Hankyu Hanshin Department Store (Umeda, Osaka)
Chugoku – AEON Mall Hiroshima; Sansute Fukuyama
Kyushu – Hakata Hankyu Department Store; Tenjin Loft
Okinawa – Palette Kumoji; Ryubo Department Store
The clock’s ticking, so be sure to get some while they last, along with this year’s other limited offerings like Valentine’s tofu and chocolate ramen. Or, if you want to be really original, give that special man a tub of mucusy soy beans. It’s the gift that says “I want you to live forever.”