Tokyo’s Ghibli-themed bakery whips up some special treats for a day of chocolate love.

Japan has a very advanced dessert culture, with a wide variety of sweets available at cafes, bakeries, and specialty shops. For Valentine’s Day, though, all other confectionaries take a step to the side and chocolate is what’s on everybody’s mind.

That makes Valentine’s an opportunity for confectioners who aren’t exclusively chocolatiers to create new limited-time treats with an extra chocolate infusion, or, in the case of these mouthwatering Totoro desserts, ones with chocolate both inside and out!

If Japanese desserts and Japanese animation are both passions of yours, you might have already guessed that these are the newest offerings from Shiro Hige’s Cream Puff Factory, a two-branch Tokyo bakery chain with one location within walking distance of the Ghibli Museum. “Shiro Hige,” which means “white beard,” is a thinly veiled reference to Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, and the bakery routinely draws inspiration from Ghibli anime for its desserts.

For Valentine’s Day, this year Shiro Hige’s Cream Puff Factory will be offering two special cream puffs, which it’s calling the Gisshiri Chocolate Chibi Totoro, gisshiri loosely translating to “stuffed full of.” Inside the cream puffs is rich chocolate ganache, and to make sure you’re never not tasting chocolate, they’re also coated in a layer of chocolate.

The ”Chibi” part of the name refers to the small version of the forest spirit from My Neighbor Totoro, who has white fur within the anime. The white Gisshiri Chocolate Chibi Totoro also features orange and caramel flavors, while the purple one has a mix of strawberry and raspberry accents to the chocolate.

The 850-yen (US$5.90) Gisshiri Chocolate Chibi Totoro will only be available at the Shiro Hige’s Cream Puff Factory branch in Tokyo’s Daita neighborhood. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything special going on for Valentine’s at the Kichijoji branch (the one near the Ghibli Museum), though.

For a limited-time, both branches will be serving up Chocolate Catbus Sandwich cookies, also priced at 850 yen, as temporary replacements for the bakeries’ ordinary non-chocolate Catbus confectionaries. Between the chocolate biscuits is a two-chocolate-blend ganache with a Chibi Totoro cameo in silhouette.

Both branches can also provide you with a Valentine’s Day Baked Chocolate Cookie Set. At 1,200 yen, it’s a little more expensive, but you do get four chocolate cookies (one Big Totoro, one Small Totoro, a mushroom-shaped cookie, and a madeleine), which will come in handy when your friends and family beg you for a bite.

Just as love can sometimes be complicated, so too is the availability of these Valentine’s Day sweets complex. As mentioned above, the Gisshiri Chocolate Chibi Totoro cream puffs are available only at the Daita branch, from February 10 to 14. While a small quantity will be available for same-day purchase, the bakery strongly recommends reserving yours in advance (contact information can be found on the Shiro Hige’s Cream Puff Factory website here). The Baked Chocolate Cookie Set will be offered at both the Nota and Kichijoji branches between February 7 and 14. Finally, though the Nota branch will only be selling the Chocolate Catbus Sandwich cookies from February 10 to 14, they’re scheduled to be available at the Kichijoji branch from February 10 all the way to March 31, so you might even be able to munch on them while seeing the sakura, since they should be in bloom in Tokyo by then.

Related: Shiro Hige’s Cream Puff Factory location list
Source: Shiro Hige’s Cream Puff Factory
Top image: Studio Ghibli
Insert images: Shiro Hige’s Cream Puff Factory
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