They’re tasty, pretty, educational, AND contain liquor, so they’re guaranteed to please!

Valentine’s Day in Japan is much like Christmas: the idea is the same, but the execution is very different. In Japan, Valentine’s Day is strictly about chocolate – well, there’s some romance mixed in there too, but no flowers or other presents are needed. Only the ladies give chocolate to the men in their lives, those they love and those they don’t, too. That’s why every Valentine’s Day Japanese sweets shops come out with different boxes of chocolate, some stylish and chic, some nerdy and fun, and all delicious.

You could give your special someone one of those ordinary boxes this year, but why settle when you could give them some samurai warlord chocolates? Tokyo chocolate shop Mary’s will be selling boxes of Sengoku Era themed chocolates, called “Tsuwamono”, for this Valentine’s Day, satisfying the chocolate cravings of all of the history nerds of Japan.

Why the Sengoku Era? Also known as the Warring States Era of Japanese history, it was a time when warlords and their samurai retainers began fighting each other for land and power, until Ieyasu Tokugawa, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and Nobunaga Oda managed to consolidate power and reunite Japan. Since samurai and samurai lords are a well-respected and idolized part of Japanese history, stories of this time have become almost legend in Japan, and its important figures are well remembered by children and adults alike. That’s why 12 of them, including Tokugawa, Toyotomi, and Oda, are featured in this historical box of chocolates.

Some of the chocolates reflect the image or story of a famous samurai warlord. Nobunaga Oda is said to have been fond of green tea, so his chocolate contains Uji Matcha green tea flavors, while Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s, next to Nobunaga’s, features a flower motif, and is intended to remind one of the famous cherry blossom viewing party he held in a Kyoto Temple. Ieyasu Tokugawa’s chocolate, second on the first row with the circle on top, contains Nindoushu, a type of sake based on a liquor that his son is said to have had a secret recipe for.

The other chocolates epitomize the flavors of the region for which their represented samurai fought. Japanese yuzu citrus and lemon flavors from Shikoku are included, as well as black sugar from Kyushu. Other chocolates incorporated wine from the Shinshu area west of Tokyo, sake from Tohoku, and plum wine from Odawara southwest of Tokyo. Liquor-filled chocolates are plentiful in this box; clearly samurai warriors loved to drink!

You can also buy a specific box for Nobunaga Oda and three other warlords, featuring flavors and ingredients related to their homelands and their history. The green tea chocolate is not included in this box, so you might just have to buy both to try them all!

Full of boozy delights and flavor exploration, these sets of chocolates seem to be not only a lesson in Japanese history, but a culinary exploration of Japan. Since these chocolates are exclusive to Japan and appear to be most delicious, they’ll make a great gift for your special someone this year. They’ll love the chocolates, at the very least, and they might even appreciate the history lesson as well. You can get them delivered right to their door from Mary’s online store for 2,160 yen (US$19.57). And why not couple it with a trip to a Sengoku Era theme park? Sounds like a great Valentine’s Day to me!

Source: Nijimen
Top Image: Mary’s Online Shop
Insert Images: Mary’s Online Shop (1, 3), Pakutaso (2)
Related: Mary’s Online Shop