Valentine’s Day has become a barometer of Japanese shopping habits, consumer confidence and attitudes to the workplace. This year it is also functioning as a measure of how confident people feel about shopping on the high street.
A survey has found that while most shoppers plan to buy their Valentine’s Day chocolate in department stores this year, a growing number plan to order online in order to avoid the risk of picking up the coronavirus.
In a survey of 978 women between the ages of 20 and 60 conducted by Gurunavi, 52% said they planned to buy chocolate for Valentine’s Day this year.
When asked where they planned to buy their Valentine’s Day chocolate, 63% said they’d go to a department store, but 16% said they would buy it online. Among the reasons given for shopping online were a wish to avoid crowded places and the convenience of having goods delivered straight to their homes.
When asked who they planned to buy chocolate for, 51% said they would be buying for family members, 40% said they would buy it for their spouse or partner and 25% said they would buy it for themselves. This year, just 23% said they would buy chocolate for their bosses, managers or workmates.
Those wanting to order chocolate online should check out Gurusuguri, a website where you can order from 1600 carefully selected gourmet foods, including a huge variety of chocolates. They also offer individual packaging for extra hygiene.
Among this year’s most prized offerings is Assorted Dekuvert Nine Pieces by Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse, which can be yours for just ¥3,996 (tax included). It includes three types of bonbons: Ganache Origin, which is made from cacao beans from a single production area, Ganache Gourmand, which is a blend of flavours and Praline a L’Ancienne, which is rich in carefully selected nuts from all over the world. (Link)
Recommended for families living apart is Cuore Six Pieces by Confectionery Studio Tiyokogawa, which costs ¥1,360 (tax included). It combines delicious homemade praline chocolate with carefully selected roasted almonds and hazelnuts in a toasted cookie. (Link)
For those wanting an even more decadent Valentine’s Day gift, why not splash out on a box of Klaftal Opera Twelve Pieces? Devised by Chef Odobashi of Nakameguro's French restaurant "Craft Ale,” this is a sandwich that combines the luxurious taste of a rich ganache made from the finest chocolate with multiple layers of moist dough, sandwiched between coffee-flavoured bitter sables. It costs ¥5,400 yen (tax included). (Link)
Another speciality chocolate offering is Miho Chef Chocolatier’s Karaku Premium, a concoction of Karaku (gateau chocolate) topped with white chocolate ganache and small bitter chocolate sequins. While the outside is crispy, the centre is a cake for chocolate lovers. This limited-edition chocolate costs ¥4,480 yen (tax included). (Link)
Finally, how about something from the top of the range? Life is Patissier is a take-out chocolate specialty store focusing on chocolate and baked goods. Their Assorted Chocolate Set has about 30 types of chocolate and baked goods, including pound cake, chocolate bonbons, sables and madeleines. It costs ¥10,300 yen (tax included). (Link)
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