Dec. 13, 2018 UPDATE
Romantic and happy winter in Kyoto!
Part 1

The famous chocolate shops in Kyoto

The cold winters of Kyoto are perfect for chocolate. When you think of sweets in Kyoto, most of you may think of matcha sundaes, but actually, there are more and more chocolate shops in the small alleys of this ancient capital of Japan. Some of them are located in renovated old townhouses with ample amounts of Japanese atmosphere, while some others offer a Japanese take on chocolate, mixing the traditional ingredients of Kyoto with the chocolate. These chocolate shops with their warm atmosphere are the perfect place to go in December, so come with me, and let’s go find a chocolaty heaven just for us in Kyoto!
Cacao 365 Gion Shop
Cacao 365 Gion Shop
Cacao 365 is a chocolate shop run by Malebranche, who are famous for their Cha no Ka cookies. The shop is especially famous for their 365 chocolate, which like their name suggests, are different for every day of the year. The Kyoto-like designs on them are pretty, and you get to see a new one every day. They have a list of all the designs available on the wall, so if you find one you like, you could come back to the shop on the day they sell that one!
Horohoro Chocolate
They also sell chocolate called Horohoro Chocolate, which is also very Kyoto-like, especially since the chocolate has the Chinese character for Kyo in Kyoto on it! (京) There are five different kinds of Horohoro Chocolates available, and the most popular one is, of course, the most Kyoto-like one, matcha. The allure of Cacao 365 is in their chocolate, and in the way use local ingredients to make them.
Mariebelle Kyoto
Mariebelle Kyoto
Mariebelle is that famous chocolate shop from New York, but did you know that they also have a shop in Kyoto? The shop looks very Kyoto-like from outside, and it is indeed located in a traditional town house in a small alley. Inside the shop combines Japanese elements with New York, making you feel at home, but also like you were at somewhere exotic.
Inside, Mariebelle looks very artful, and no matter where you look, you’re going to see something beautiful. The chocolate and cookies here are made from chocolate bneans of the highest quality, and all by hand. The taste of them is deep and a bit special. The packaging is also very beautiful, and for this reason many women like their products very much. They also have some products you can only get from their Kyoto shop, and there is also a café at the shop. The prices may not be cheap, but if you want to enjoy some decadently luxurious chocolate, Mariebelle should be your choice!
Bel Amer Kyoto Bettei
Bel Amer Kyoto Bettei
Bel Amer Kyoto Bettei is a chocolate shop that takes the four seasons of Japan very seriously, and this is reflected in their chocolates too. Their chocolates are almost like jewels, glistening in the light of the shop. They sell some very special chocolates like chocolate with sake in it, and chocolates with Japanese teas and fruits in them; they manage in the difficult feat of combining the traditional tastes of Kyoto with chocolate. These interesting new tastes are something you can only have in Kyoto!
round chocolate buttons
They also sell chocolate in a stick and round chocolate buttons, all made from local ingredients like matcha from Uji, yuzu citrus fruits from Mizuo, and the famous shichimi chili spice mix from Shichimiya Honpo. So, I’m sure you will find something you like from among all these chocolates! And in addition they also have seasonal chocolates, so there is always something new to try.
Assemblages Kakimoto
Assemblages Kakimoto
Lastly, Assemblages Kakimoto, and this place is something to talk about! They were fourth in the 2013 La Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie (World Chocolate Masters) competition, and got the first price in the ice carving category. So as you can probably gather, the skill level at this shop is incredibly high. The feeling at the shop is also a bit more Japanese than the above mentioned three other shops.
Their main product is their triangle-shaped chocolate bonbons, some of which have some very interesting ingredients inside them, like ginger, beefsteak plant, and celery. These go together with the bitterness and sweetness in the chocolate surprisingly well, and you can’t help but wonder how the chef came up with these combinations. If you want to try something a bit different, I recommend you go to Assemblages Kakimoto.
There is pretty much nothing I like more than having a bit of quality chocolate in December. When the weather is cold, I can still find warmth in chocolate. And chocolate is an integral part of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations for me! No matter who you are going to send chocolate, your friends, or your lover, or your family, I’m sure they’re going to feel happy about receiving the gift! But now, it’s time for me to head shopping.

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