Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine on the other side of the world

As a European to core I've always thought the Japanese were a bit odd. I've lived in Asia for a great part of my life, but if you watch Japanese anime or commercials, you can't not think the world is a crazy place. (Then again I can also take one step outside my door to think the same.)

Anyway, one of the crazy things about the Japanese is the way they celebrate Valentines. Valentine's Day slowly gained the status of a national holiday there by smart marketing: chocolate companies simply wanted to sell more. They started Valentine's campaigns, some shops joined in and within a few years the Japanese were spending as much as, if not more, than Americans on their Valentines.


But they don't celebrate it the same way: in Japan only the women give out presents. These presents, always chocolates, are not only given to their boyfriends, but also all their male family members, friends and colleagues. They're also allowed to give their female friends chocolate (yay!). Since that's a whole lot of chocolate, the Japanese like to make it themselves as well. Gathering all your friends to make and decorate chocolates to hand out together - what part of that doesn't sound awesome?

Japanese Valentine Chocolate cups
12 mini cups - by ochikeron

200 grams chocolate (milk, or your favourite flavour)
50 ml (soy) milk or cream
Fillings (japanese mix, nuts or candy)
Decorations (anything sparkly or valentine)

1. Heat the milk or cream in a pan until its hot.
2. Pour it over the chocolate and leave if for 1-2 minutes to soften. If the chocolate isn't soft enough, microwave for 10-15 seconds intervals until it's smooth.
3. Line a mini cupcake tin with mini baking cups. Put the melted chocolate in a piping bag and fill the bottom of every cup with a thin layer of chocolate. Then generously add your fillings and top off with the remaining chocolate. In the true Japanese spirit I've filled mine with cashew nuts and 'japanese mix' and they pair surprisingly well with chocolate!
4. Once all your cups are filled with chocolate, decorating them with anything you like.
5. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour until the chocolate has firmed a bit. They will however not turn rock-hard, because of the amount of milk or cream you've added.

I should really try to make more Japanese sweets. They have a really odd taste at times, but sometimes I find really amazing recipes. Like cashew nuts with chocolate, who knew it could taste that good?


I hope you forgive my horribly uncreative photography today. Somehow it doesn't seem to show how cute these little chocolates looked. For a better presentation of these chocolates, please take a look at the original recipe by ochikeron who makes really nice YouTube-videos about everything she makes.

Anyway, that's it for my 3 Valentine-themed recipes.. I hope you have a lovely and magical Valentine!

6 comments:

  1. That is fascinating that only females give presents...odd. Loving these chocolate cups though!

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    1. Thank you so much Mallory! -It is a bit odd isn't it? Then again, I feel like they end up eating most of it though.. (I know I would!)

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  2. Aww these chocolate cups look so lovely! What a nice gift :)

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    1. Haha, they do make a nice gift right? And since they're so easy to make.. I should make this a standard gift! D: Who wouldn't be happy with chocolates? ;)

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  3. These are just darling (and yes I think the photos look great!!!) - although I think it's kind of a bummer that the women in Japan get stuck doing all the work and doing all the giving! You have the coolest, most interesting posts about the world of food and traditions of other cultures - I always learn something!

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    1. How can you think my pictures look great? Have you seen your own pictures?! :P
      I'm not sure if I'd be really disappointed living in Japan on Valentine's though. They have a tradition of gathering with all the girls to make chocolates like these. It sounds like so much fun! I'm really happy I get to share a bit of the world like this!

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