I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be trying some chocolate bars made in Japan! I shared these with my family while they were visiting during the holidays because something this special has to be shared. Also, since my mother is Japanese, I wanted to make sure she got to try craft chocolate from Japan. I have had trouble finding Japanese craft chocolate in the Washington, D.C., area and I’ve had to rely on ordering online until that changes.
Cacaoken means cacao laboratory, which is a fitting name since the founders Nakano and her mother experiment with bean fermentation and cacao on their farm and research lab in Vietnam. The bars are made in Fukuoka, Japan, using Vietnamese cacao and sometimes blended with Ghanaian cacao. If you want to learn more about Cacaoken, read Cocoa Runners’ description and Q&A here. At the time I had ordered these bars from Cocoa Runners, only the white and milk chocolate bars were available.
As always, the details were in the packaging. The paper box had a smooth and natural texture while the inside contained a description for what the name of the bar meant, as well as a vacuum sealed plastic wrapper keeping the chocolate safe. My mother heard that the small size of many Japanese sweets is so that ladies can easily slip them into their handbags. We’ve seen that trend happen here in the States where mini bars are common for that reason (along with people not willing to make a commitment for a full sized craft chocolate bar). I had heard that Japanese sweets are small and individually wrapped to encourage self control, portion control and to maintain freshness.
The chocolate was so fragile that it easily broke apart at the lightest touch. The white chocolate smelled very creamy as expected and had a creamy, almost vanilla-like flavor. The creaminess was very rich, like if you were to compare condensed milk to regular milk. The aftertaste was like a delicate diminishing of the creamy flavor. The nice thing about this white chocolate bar was that it didn’t have any weird back of the throat lingering flavors like dried milk powder I’ve experienced with some white chocolate bars.
This bar had a light chocolatey and almost savory scent. It had a touch of crunch from the sea salt and as my bite quickly melted, I got a nice flow of saltiness with creamy chocolate. The sea salt was very present and mixed into the chocolate. I actually might have preferred less salt in this bar because halfway and at the end of my bite I tasted only salt crystals. The aftertaste consisted of only chocolatey goodness, though.
This bar smelled chocolatey and I could smell the coffee. Coffee was the first flavor I could taste followed by creamy milk chocolate. The coffee gave a nice texture to the bar. The coffee grains seemed slightly larger than fine ground coffee in most coffee + chocolate bars. Just like the sea salt bar, I think I would prefer slightly less coffee granules in this bar because I could only taste the chocolate toward the beginning of of my bite melting in my mouth. But because I enjoy coffee with chocolate, this was my favorite out of the three.
I hope some day I can try more bars by Cacaoken, especially dark chocolate. I would also like to try their milk chocolate bar with sansyo some day. Overall I’m very happy to finally try chocolate made in Japan with my mother!
Cacaoken: Made in Fukuoka, Japan
These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.