Now is a very limited chance to experience this unholy marriage of flavors.

With 2019 already flying by into February we are soon faced with the Valentine season. While Japanese people seem to be cooling on customary chocolate buying recently, it’s still a great season for some self-indulgence. And if you’re in the mood to treat yourself too, then the Salon du Chocolat event in Tokyo is the place to be!

From 23 to 29 January, chocolatiers from all over Japan and the world converge to highlight their works of brown art, so we sent our sweetest-toothed reporter Mr. Sato down on opening day to see what he could find.

However, arriving at the Shinjuku NS Building it was strangely quiet. There wasn’t even a hint of chocolate fanaticism to be seen.

It wasn’t until he reached the front lobby that Mr. Sato encountered the cocoa-craving crowds waiting to get inside. A limited number of tickets are sold each hour to keep the flow of people under control. However, there is no time limit which means you don’t have to worry about rushing, but you do still have to worry about potential crowds.

Once inside, Mr. Sato wandered among the various booths, some with lines as long as ten people, and all were anxious to sample the diverse range of bittersweet wares.

It was then that our reporter locked eyes with his destiny in the form of the Chocodog.

Sold from a collaboration booth run by the restaurant John’s Hotdog Deli and chocolatier Friis-Holm, both of Denmark, the Chocodog is a regular Danish wiener topped with bits of Friis-Holm chocolate and garnished with two specially designed condiments: Chocolate Chili Sauce and Cacao Mustard.

Mr. Sato paid the 918 yen (US$8) to play this game of junk food twister and watched the staff carefully prepare it. He was expecting something that mainly consisted of chocolate but with some hotdog elements for an exotic twist, but our reporter was surprised to see an exceptionally plump dog get served up. It was like the kind you might get at the ballpark.

Bits of chocolate were sprinkled on top and the heat from the wiener caused them to melt into umber pearls of sweetness. Occasionally a faint whiff of chocolate hit Mr. Sato’s nose, but these moments were broken up by the mild sting of spicy chili. The two aromas seemed to be competing rather than cooperating with each other.

But he couldn’t sit there and smell his hotdog forever. It was time to eat!

It turned out that the eternal struggle between the sweet and creamy chocolate and the spicy tang of the chili and mustard continued on the battlefield of his taste buds. One moment he could savor the comforting mellowness of the chocolate, only for it to be interrupted by the thrilling burn of the chili.

Both tastes were good, but at the same time the result was disorienting. Mr. Sato though it would have been better to put the chili and mustard in the driver’s seat and use a smaller amount of chocolate to accentuate that.

But since this is the Salon du Chocolat, it probably is more important to make the chocolate the star of this show. In the end it was a bold attempt that got bogged down in chocolatey politics.

After he finished, Mr. Sato’s eye was also caught by the booth run by Tokyo bakery Le Grenier a Pain. Among their offerings was a baguette sandwiching a bar of the hot newcomer to the chocolate world, ruby chocolate, for 886 yen and ooh la la… What’s this?

“Hamburger au chocolat, 1,080 yen”

Yes, there’s no telling what you’ll find at the Salon du Chocolat, but make sure you get down there before it ends on 29 January. Also, remember that tickets are sold by the hour, so time your visit accordingly.

Now, if you’ll excuse Mr. Sato, he has some more research to conduct.

Event information
Salon du Chocolat / サロン・デュ・ショコラ
Address: Shinjuku NS Building (Event hall) Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Nishishinjuku 2-4-1
新宿NS ビル (イベントホール)東京都新宿区西新宿2-4-1
Hours: 10 a.m.-8:00 p.m. (23 to 29 January, 2019)
Admission: 700 yen
Same-day tickets go on sale after 3 p.m.

Photos: SoraNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]