Belgian chocolatier Godiva has made it pretty clear that it’s no fan of Japan’s custom of giving “obligation chocolate” on Valentine’s Day, going so far as to take out a full-page newspaper ad to call on the country to stop the practice. That’s not to say that the company dislikes all aspects of Japanese culture, though.
For example, in honor of the sakura that are about to blossom all across Japan, Godiva has created this gorgeous Ohanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing Party) Cake set. Apparently unable to decide between the two quintessential flavors of Japanese sweets, matcha green tea and sakura, Godiva has made the wise decision to give you both as part of a crowd-pleasing combo pack.
Starting with the sakura side, the enticingly pink cake is topped with sakura chocolate chips, which have their sweetness accompanied by the salty notes of cherry blossom petals and leaves being mixed in with the chocolate. Underneath that you’ll find a layer of chocolate mousse, then another of chocolate ganache (chocolate cream icing). Below that awaits a strata of extra-soft gyuhi mochi sweet rice cake, and at the bottom is a base of chocolate sponge cake.
Meanwhile, the green tea cake, made with matcha powder from Kyoto’s prestigious Uji tea fields, also has five delicious layers to it. Once again going from top to bottom, first comes a generous dusting of matcha powder, then matcha white chocolate mousse, matcha ganache, gyuhi mochi, and finally, matcha sponge cake.
In another embracing of Japanese culture, the Ohanami Cake set (which is priced at 1,080 yen [US$9.70] is available at Japan’s most consistent source of delicious and interesting sweets and snacks: convenience stores. Specifically, it’s exclusive to Lawson (which knows a thing or two about gorgeous desserts), as it’s a tie-up with the convenience store chain’s ever-so-slightly upscale Uchi Cafe line.
▼ It also comes in a fancy-looking package, to add to the festive mood when you break it out at a springtime picnic.
Much like the sakura themselves, the Ohanami Cake set will only be around for a short time. It goes on sale March 19, and Lawson says it will be available for only one week (though some branches pan to stock it until March 27). Oddly enough, that means that you’ll have to eat the Ohanami Cakes before the sakura are in full bloom, but with desserts this beautiful, you’ll still have something very pretty to look at (until you eat it, of course).