Japanese people love chocolate. New chocolate products quite often are launched to market and people queue up in front of specialized stores of famous chocolatiers. Valentine's Day in Japan is the day that ladies give chocolate gifts to men.
About Japanese chocolate
It is said that chocolate was introduced to Japan in 1797. In early 1900s, importing chocolate to Japan was started but chocolate was available only for a few people in the upper class society as a medicine. Chocolate factories have started operations to produce chocolate confectioneries with cacao since 1920s and it became widely available in Japan. And then it got increasingly to be popular. Today it is a standard sweet for Japanese people.
Types of chocolate
Sweet chocolate is the mainstream in Japanese market but black chocolate and bitter taste chocolate are also available. There are not only chocolate tablets but also a wide variety of chocolate confectioneries such as ones with almond or peanut inside and chocolate coated biscuit. Convenience stores and supermarkets sell a wide range of products and you can find the products with different flavors and textures. Chocolate parfait, brownie and cake are also popular.
When we talk about Japanese chocolate culture, we should not forget Valentine's Day on February 14th. The day has been established for ladies/girls to give a chocolate gift to someone special. At that time, many chocolate gifts are on shelves. A lot of ladies give chocolates to their male friends and male colleagues as well as someone special. Then on the day called White day, March 14th, men should make these ladies a gift in return.
Japanese chocolate sweets
There are many chocolate sweets developed uniquely in Japan. Among them the most popular one is matcha (green tea) flavored chocolate. Sweetness of chocolate well matches bitterness of matcha. Also chocolate okaki which is chocolate coated roasted Japanese rice cracker and chocolate yokan which is a thick, jellied dessert made of red bean paste, agar and chocolate are famous.