Tokyo: It is a marriage made in Heaven for cute-obsessed Japan: this Valentine’s Day, lovers can present the object of their affection with a world first — naturally bright pink chocolate. The KitKat store in the glitzy shopping area of Ginza in Tokyo is a riot of wall-to-wall pink, as marketing departments go into overdrive to promote the “fourth” type of chocolate, after milk, dark and white. And the salespeople have chosen their moment wisely: Valentine’s Day is massive business in Japan — with tradition dictating that the women give presents to the men. For more than 80 years, when white chocolate was invented, the world has had to be content with just three varieties.
Then in September, Swiss group Barry Callebaut unveiled its new “ruby” type — the fruit of more than 10 years of research — and five months later, bars appeared on shelves in both Japan and South Korea. The pink colour is obtained naturally, without using additives or artificial colouring, explained Akiko Hara, a manager for Barry Callebaut in Japan. The colour comes from ruby cocoa “that can be found in normal plantations,”
The firm’s R&D department keeps the recipe a closely guarded secret, locked away in a safe.
The result is a chocolate that tastes both creamy and fruity, with a subtle hint of raspberry. The Japanese chocolate market is worth nearly $5 five billion per year, way behind the US ($18.9 billion) but still at the top of the Asian league table. — AFP