chocolate

Many-flavored Japanese Kit Kats: not really

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The famous flavored Kit Kats sold in Japan are not quite what you'd call delicious treats. continue reading...

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Happy Valentine's Day from Japan!

Happy Valentine’s Day to you from Japan!

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Roulade au Chocolat Saint Valentin: Chocolate Roulade Cake for Valentine's Day

From the archives. The very iffy photo shows that it is from the very early days of Just Hungry! I look back at this with nostalgia, because not only have my photography skills improved somewhat, it reflects a time in my life when I was into a far more complicated kind of cooking than I am now. I no longer bake things like this, but if you want a pretty spectacular chocolate dessert for Valentine's Day, and have the time and patience, I do highly recommend this rich yet feathery light little confection. I've edited it slightly to be more accurate (what the heck did I mean by 'small container of cream' anyhow). Originally published on February 13, 2004.

roulade au chocholat continue reading...

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A bit of Swiss milk chocolate

A tall stack of Swiss chocolate bars

I spent the last couple of weeks surrounded by chocolate bars. Oh, the temptation. continue reading...

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Japanese Valentine's Day chocolate giving customs in miniature

re-ment-girichoco.jpgAs I wrote about last year, Valentine’s Day in Japan is fraught with social stress. Somehow, the chocolate manufacturers have managed to convince the whole society that a girl or woman can’t just give chocolates to the ones they love. (And it’s only the women who give chocolates in Japan on the 14th, not men, unlike other countries.) She must also give giri choco, or ‘obligation chocolates’, to people she ‘owes’; bosses, teachers, and fathers-in-law.

Now you can see this kind of social giving in miniature! Re-ment, the maker of amazingly detailed diecast miniatures which I’ve also written about before, has this set of two types of chocolates: Honmei or giri?! (Your real target, or obligation?!) The caption says this: continue reading...

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Uh..uh...beetle larvae shaped chocolates

Chocolate. It’s such a lovely, malleable substance. It can be shaped into anything really. Anything.

But, one wonders what kind of twisted mind came up with this idea…chocolate truffles shaped like kabutomushi (rhinocerous beetle) larvae!

Avert your eyes if you are squeamish. You may not want to read this while you’re eating.

(If you’re getting here from the front page, pause and breathe in deeply before clicking that ‘continue reading’. continue reading...

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Swiss food shopping news: OEM Dolfin chocolate spotted at Coop

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Coop seems to have OEM’ed the famous Dolfin spicy Masala chocolate bar! All evidence points to this…. continue reading...

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Swiss Chocolate junk mail

Normally, all the junk mail we get goes straight to the trash. Not these things we got in our mailbox yesterday though.

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These are two full-size bars of Cailler (Nestlé) milk chocolate. No messing about with tiny sample sizes here. continue reading...

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Oh no! A chocolate shortage?

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My friends Alan and Mimi from Cornwall alerted me to this alarming article in the Independent. Could we be facing a global chocolate shortage? continue reading...

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Shopping @ Just Hungry

When you shop via the Just Hungry affiliate stores, you help to support the site while getting stuff you want! It’s a win-win situation! continue reading...

Bittersweet Valentine memories, mostly sweet

Happy Valentine’s Day! February the 14th may mean flowers, a romantic dinner, or promises you don’t intend to keep for other people, but to me it will always the Day Of Chocolate.

Valentine’s Day is a very odd and overly commercialized day in Japan, where the giving and receiving of chocolate doesn’t have that much to do with romance. Females are made to feel obligated to hand out chocolates to people they don’t care about, such as teachers and bosses, while males anxiously wait to see if they get ‘enough’ chocolates to satisfy their egos. There are whole lines of inexpensive chocolate products suitable for giving, called giri choco (obligation chocolate). Unlike in the Western world, it’s not a day for men to give something to their female love interests. (March 14th, called “White Day”, has been sort of artificially designated as the males-give-back-to-females day.) continue reading...

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Spiced chocolate cupcakes

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In the movie Chocolat, Juliette Binoche plays a somewhat mysterious woman who opens a chocolate shop in a small French village. She uses ancient Aztec spices in her chocolate confectioneries, which soon prove to have almost magical, often aphrodesiac, properties. While Chocolat is not in my top 5, or even 10, favorite food-theme movies (see here for that list), the idea of spiced chocolates has intrigued me ever since I saw it. One of my favorite chocolate bars is the Masala one made by Dolfin.

Making a spicy chocolate confection is a bit of a tricky affair though. You don’t want the spices to overwhelm the chocolate - it should just form a sort of interesting background, yet provide a bit of a surprising bite and a warm, ‘what is that?’ quality.

These cupcakes have a rich but not too sweet bisquit (cake) base, with the warmth of curry powder and the bite of coarsely ground pepper. They are moistened with a teaspoon per cupcake of mocca liqueur, which increases its intensity and pushes it into the realm of an adult indulgence. The chocolate ganache has a pinch of cayenne pepper in it. The marriage is quite successful (or so the Tasters emphatically agreed). I’m not sure if they work at aphrodesiacs, but if your sweetheart is a chocoholic, you never know… They make a terrific Valentine’s Day dessert or treat in any case. continue reading...

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Food Destinations #3: Confiserie Sprüngli, Zürich

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[Update:] Now you can buy Sprüngli chocolates online to be shipped worldwide! See the Shop page for details. continue reading...

Fun With Brioche

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Brioche bread is so delicate, light and buttery that is just one tiny step removed from being a pastry. Plain brioche bread is delicious on its own, toasted or with loads of jam. But brioche dough also makes an ideal casing for all kinds of fillings both savory and sweet. It's my favorite dough for making anything en croute, as well as for sweet filled breads that are so nice for a brunch party. continue reading...

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Making Chocolate Easter Bunnies In The Heart of Switzerland

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In most countries with a sizable Christian population, Easter candies are abundant at this time of year. Switzerland is no exception. Here, while Easter eggs are quite plentiful, the candy of choice seems to be the chocolate Easter bunny (Osterhase). Window upon window is filled with rows of Easter bunnies, from the cute to the comical to the frankly grotesque. continue reading...

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Happy Valentine's Day!

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Will you be staying in or going out for dinner tonight? If you are staying in, the best Valentine's Day present may be a meal cooked by the partner in your relationship that doesn't normally do the cooking.

Here are some easy to prepare yet impressing looking - and of course, delicious - dishes from the archives of Just Hungry: continue reading...

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Double chocolate pecan brownie

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For Oscar night, I made these dense brownies. They disappeared very fast. The "double chocolate" part comes from the fact that there are two whole 100 gram (or 3 1/2 oz.) dark chocolate bars in it.

This is an extremely easy recipe. I don't even bother to chop the pecans with a knife; I just bash them in the bag. Same with the chocolate. For this reason, this would be a really fun thing for kids to make I think. continue reading...

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Chocolate May (June) bug

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People in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states of the U.S. are now experiencing an assault of cicadas, that only occurs once every 17 years or so. No such insect attack here in Switzerland fortunately, but one sort of "bug" we see a lot of around this time are chocolate Maierhäfer, or May (June) bugs. They come in all sizes, from tiny foil-wrapped ones to monster bugs up to around 30cm long with bristling legs, which frankly look way too scary to eat to me. continue reading...

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Masala chocolate

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Being a chocoholic and living in Switzerland can be a dangerous thing. Just going to the supermarket, one is confronted with row upon row of high quality chocolate, the type that you'd have to pay a premium for in the U.S. Aside from perhaps the cheapest brands, most Swiss chocolate bars in the US $1-2 range are delicious. continue reading...

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Chocolate chip and almond cookies

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The usual image of homebaked chocolate chip cookies, at least in the U.S., is that of large, thick cookies with a soft, rather gooey center. The soft and gooey texture is so desired by many people that commercial cookie manufacturers even manage to maintain that in cookies that have been on the shelf for months. This to me seems very wrong. And, I don't think that gooey-soft necessarily indicates a good quality chocolate chip cookie either.

Sure, when you take the cookies out of the oven and eat them right away, they are sort of gooey and soft. But once they cool down, I prefer them to be rather crispy, even lacy, and delicate. For this reason I add a bit more butter than is normal in the traditional Toll House type of chocolate chip cookie. This makes the dough spread out more during baking, making the cookies thinner. Using slivered almonds instead of chunky nuts also makes them lighter and crispier.

If you prefer the gooey type of cookie though, use more flour or less butter.

I also use raw (light brown) granulated sugar instead of the fluffy dense brown sugar used in the traditional recipe. This is mainly because we can't get that "packed" sort of soft brown sugar here. Also, the dark brown sugar has a very pronounced molasses-like taste to me, which I don't think really fits for this cookie.

These are very adult chocolate chip cookies, because of the almonds and the dark chocolate chips. Of course kids love them also. I made these with the lemon bars in the preceeding recipe and meringue kisses for Easter, and boy were they popular. continue reading...

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Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

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Mousse au chocolat

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For my birthday dinner dessert, Max made his speciality - a melt in your mouth mousse au chocolat. Unlike many other mousse recipes, this one contains no cream, and no added sugar. It's just bittersweet chocolate, eggs, and a little butter. Of course, it uses a very Swiss ingredient, chocolate. continue reading...

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Chestnut cream cup

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I'm afraid the photo came out with a slight yellowish cast to it since I took it in the afternoon sun. continue reading...

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