Special regional variety is not all it seems. 

Japan is well-known for its region-exclusive KitKats, which contain ingredients grown in different regions, and the latest addition to the range is an unusual variety called Tokyo Cacao.

As the name suggests, this new KitKat uses cacao grown in Tokyo, on a World Heritage-listed island chain called Ogasawara. 

▼ It takes a full 24 hours to get to Ogasawara from the mainland, but it’s still officially a part of Tokyo.

The new KitKat went on sale in the Tokyo region on 9 November, and we stopped by our nearest stockist to pick up a pack as soon as they were available.

The chocolates come in a cacao bean-shaped package containing four of the chocolates for 756 yen (US$5.05) and an eight-piece gift box for 1,296 yen.

It’s not every day you get to try chocolate grown and produced in Japan, let alone Tokyo, so we picked up a pack of each for posterity.

▼ How adorable is the cacao bean packaging?

According to Nestlé, Tokyo-grown cacao is said to impart a strong, fruity aroma and mild flavour that brings a refined elegance to this KitKat. It’s a lot more expensive than the regular KitKats sold at your local supermarket, but the slightly higher price tag is understandable, given the rarity of Tokyo cacao.

▼ Hiratsuka Confectionery Company has been cultivating cacao in Ogasawara since 2003.

What we really wanted to know, though, was whether or not this premium KitKat delivers an equally premium flavour.

Biting into the chocolate revealed it to be smooth and elegant, with a subdued sweetness that allowed the strong flavour of cacao to shine through. Cacao was certainly the star of the show here, with very little else to detract from its flavour, and it was absolutely delicious.

As we relished in the privilege of tasting a chocolate grown and bred in Tokyo, we turned the pack over to find out more about it, and that’s when the rose-coloured glasses were lifted from our eyes.

The package listed chocolate as the first ingredient, and in brackets it read “cacao mass”, followed by “cacao beans”, and then, the place of origin for those beans, which was listed as “Ghana, Tokyo’s Ogasawara Islands”.

Call us gullible, but we’d somehow thought that the Tokyo Cacao KitKat was made solely with cacao grown in Tokyo. It was the crux of the name, after all.

In hindsight, though, we should’ve known such a chocolate would be too good to be true. With a total land area of 84 square kilometres (32 square miles), Tokyo’s Ogasawara Islands don’t have the capacity to support large-scale mass production of KitKats.

We couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed at this realisation, but in the end we decided to look on the bright side of the bean — at least we got to try some of the rare cacao, and without the islands’ contribution, this would have been a different tasting KitKat.

So we reckon it’s still definitely worth trying, along with the other new KitKat from Ogasawara, which hopefully uses only island lemons. The chocolates can be purchased at souvenir stores in the Tokyo region, the Tokyo Gift Palette store at Tokyo Station, and Haneda and Narita airports.

Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]