Japanese company reinvents chocolate by adding sakura and sticky rice to the mix.

For years, people in Japan have been enjoying the taste of mochi, a Japanese treat made from glutinous rice that’s been cooked and pounded to give it a delectably smooth and chewy consistency. Usually eaten as a traditional food for Japanese New Year, mochi has also been used in the world of confectionery, wrapped around fillings of sweet paste in the form of daifuku, paired with ice cream like Häagen-Dazs, and used in the ever popular Yukimi Daifuku mochi-covered ice cream balls manufactured by Lotte.

As the love for mochi-covered ice cream continues to spread around the globe, here in Japan, they’ve been experimenting with more new partners for the gelatinous star ingredient, and Japanese company Bourbon has been leading the way with one of its most innovative ideas: mochi chocolate.

Marketed as Mochi Mochi Chocola, the unusual sweet has flown under the radar for several years as it’s one of the hardest products to find at the supermarket. This year, though, the chocolate is on everyone’s confectionery wish list, as they’ve just released an exciting new sakura mochi flavour to accompany its regular ganache chocolate staple.

Curious to find out more about the taste, and texture, of sticky-rice covered chocolate, we tracked down the special sweets online for a taste test of our very own.

Starting off with the Ganache Chocolate variety, we opened up the pack to find two individually wrapped four-pack trays, complete with a two-pronged plastic fork, which the company says is ideal for eating the soft sweets.

The chocolates were absolutely gorgeous to look at; their soft, pillowy mounds, and the fork used to eat them, closely resembled the contents of a Yukimi Daifuku ice cream pack.

We pierced one of the pieces with a fork and picked it up, our hands trembling a little as we hoped it wouldn’t fall off the small eating utensil.

Surprised by its light weight and softness, we decided to play with the chocolate a little, to really test out its malleability.

▼ That’s one stretchy piece of mochi-covered chocolate!

Taking a look at a cross-section lets us see exactly what’s inside the sweet: a small mouthful of rich Belgian chocolate ganache, all covered in a thin layer of chocolate-flavoured mochi.

Biting into this was abosulutely heavenly, as the chewiness of the gel-like rice coating made the whole morsel expand in the mouth, releasing the soft ganache and making it ooze out to impart its rich chocolate flavour onto the tastebuds. This was definitely one of the most satisfying close-your-eyes-and-moan chocolate experiences we’ve had in a long time.

▼ Next up to the tasting plate was the Sakura Mochi flavour.

Sakura mochi is a traditional Japanese sweet commonly eaten during the spring months when the cherry blossom trees bloom around the country. Rival cities of Osaka, in the Kansai region, and Tokyo, in the Kanto region, each have their own version of the well-known sweet, which can be seen on the right of the box here.

▼ Kansai-region version top right and Kanto-region version bottom right.

▼ The beautiful little chocolates inside looked just like ripe peaches, but the scent was distinctly sakura.

Like the chocolate variety, these were incredibly light and soft, yet solid enough to be picked up by the fork.

If you’ve ever had a traditional sakura mochi confectionery, you’ll know how the pickled cherry blossom leaf wrapped around it gives it a salty sweet punch of flavour. The sakura mochi-flavoured ganache chocolate inside these sweets has that exact same flavour profile, filling each bite with floral-scented salty notes that pair perfectly with the chewy sweetness of the mochi coating.

▼ These soft little mouthfuls are as fun to play with as they are to eat!

We’ve tasted a lot of sweets in Japan, but for us these are definitely one of the best and most unusual treats you’ll find here. The high quality of the ingredients, the superbly balanced flavours, and the unique texture of the chocolates all combine to create a deliciously memorable indulgence that you won’t find anywhere else.

The Mochi Mochi Chocola can be purchased at stores around the country and from online retail sites like Rakuten or Amazon for 216 yen (US$2.03) each. They really are the best thing since sliced chocolate, which is a great thing, because the makers of these actually made that too!

Photos © SoraNews24