We buy Vladimir Putin chocolate from the Russian store in Red Square in Tokyo
It’s easy to find “Western” or “ethnic” food stores in Japan, but what about those looking for Russian groceries? Many will be surprised to learn that there is now a store for this, and it is located in the upscale Ginza district of Tokyo.
▼ Aka no Hiroba (“Red Square”) is the brick-and-mortar branch of import food company Victoria Foods Market, which opened in February 2021
Victoria Foods Market specializes in Russian imports, and as soon as you walk into the store you will be greeted by shelves upon shelves of exciting and unfamiliar products.
They also have these Poutine chocolate bars in stock, which staff say are incredibly popular. At 20% off the regular retail price of 324 yen, we immediately added one to our cart.
The store also sells Russian sweets like Shirok, which has become increasingly popular in Japan in recent years. Shirok is a cottage cheese-based candy coated in chocolate.
These sweets are sold frozen for maximum freshness.
Everything looked inviting, so we asked the staff to show us their top five recommended items. We already had one of these items, the Poutine Chocolate, in our basket, so the friendly staff there added four more items for us, and after paying for everything we took them home for a taste test.
First up, we have this wonderful chocolate caviar (529 yen). These smooth, shiny dark chocolate chunks really looked like Russian caviar, but cost around a tenth the price. This product is ideal for giving as a gift, as anyone who receives this jar of chocolate will be delighted to see these glorious little pieces.
Next is the Premium Cheese, and the one we bought was the dark chocolate variety (322 yen). These are popular due to the fact that they contain 20 percent milk fat, which is higher than regular cheese on the market, which typically contains around 5 percent milk fat.
▼ A higher fat content results in a creamier product.
It was a real treat for the taste buds, melting on the tongue like super rich cheese ice cream, with the crispy chocolate coating adding just the right amount of sweetness. It was also a bit similar to a thick cheesecake, although it was much denser and heavier, meaning you couldn’t eat a lot of it at one time.
Moving on to the next candy, we have the Prague Chocolate Cake (594 yen). This thick and rich piece of chocolate contains chocolate buttercream, fruit jam and chocolate sponge cake in its dark chocolate coating. It was much sweeter than expected, but incredibly decadent and delicious.
Next, a gorgeous pink product called Honey-Souffle Wild Strawberry (1,188 yen). It was the most expensive of the bunch, but it promised to deliver a very unique flavor, which the staff recommended we try on toast.
When we opened the jar we expected to see pink jam, but the texture looked less like jam than… soufflé! This was due to the fact that it was made with unheated honey paste, which had been mixed with wild strawberries and a small amount of water.
▼ When we spread it on hot toast, we were surprised to see it melt with the heat and become a wet paste.
We were happy that the staff recommended the Honey-Souffle to us, as it was something we had never seen before, and it tasted fantastic on toast, where the flavors of tangy fruit and sweet honey. went harmoniously with hot bread. The staff also say that you can pour a spoonful into a cup of tea for extra sweetness.
Last but not least, we have President Poutine’s dark chocolate (259 yen). Inside the box were two small chocolate bars wrapped in foil, and tearing them apart we were hoping to see Putin’s face on the chocolate as well, but alas, Putin’s face was just on the box.
▼ Still, a great keepsake or stocking stuffer for unsuspecting friends and family, who will enjoy the dark and sweet flavor of President’s chocolate.
So there you have it, five products to introduce you to the sweet taste of Russia, without having to travel all the way there. With travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic, this Ginza store really is the best thing to do when visiting the real Red Square right now.
Aka no Hiroba / 赤 の 広 場
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 1-20-14
東京 都 中央 区 銀座 1-20-14
Hours: 11 am-7pm (weekdays); 11 am-6pm (Saturday)
Closed: Sundays and public holidays
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