Translated by Lester Somera
Creamy Japanese-Style Hot Chocolate At Dandelion Chocolate In Kuramae
Written by Mami Wakamatsu
At the Dandelion Chocolate Factory and Cafe in Kuramae, a short distance from Asakusa, you can enjoy original chocolate menu items and a pleasant, relaxed vibe.
Just 10 minutes away from Asakusa, the popular Tokyo sightseeing spot, you will come to the area of Kuramae. Once a street for wholesalers, it has been known since the Edo era as a neighborhood for craftsmen.
That is why even today, Kuramae is home to many stores selling handmade products that aren’t mass produced. Compared to Asakusa, you can’t say that there are many pedestrians here, but you can learn about a part of Japan that is very different from major sightseeing areas.
A Factory and Cafe Where You Can Enjoy a New Type of Chocolate
Five minutes from Kuramae, you will find a factory and attached cafe where you can enjoy a new type of chocolate: the Dandelion Chocolate Factory and Cafe Kuramae. A brand developed in San Francisco, the low-key shop seems to reflect the relaxed vibe of the Kuramae area. Also, you can feel the originality present in the shop’s unique and fascinating offerings, including hot chocolate made with tea.
Dandelion Chocolate’s Singular Focus on Bean to Bar
Dandelion Chocolate produces a genre of chocolate they call Bean to Bar.
Bean to Bar chocolate utilizes the flavors of cacao beans that are clearly sourced from one location, and every part of the process of selecting, roasting, grinding, mixing, and molding the chocolate is consistently done by the staff.
Also, all of those steps are done by hand. Bean to Bar chocolate draws out the flavor of cacao beans to the utmost degree, which changes depending on where the beans are from and where they were farmed.
An Open Shop Interior Where You Can Watch the Chocolate Being Finished
At Dandelion Chocolate Factory and Cafe Kuramae, the first floor consists of the factory area and a counter. You can see the beans being selected and processed in the open environment. Place your orders on the first floor, as well.
The cafe and workshop space on the second floor is unified by the wooden interior, creating a relaxed atmosphere. The space makes good use of the renovated warehouse building, little trees and the park-esque vibe.
Japanese-Style Hot Chocolate, A New Flavor Sensation!
If you come to Dandelion Chocolate Factory and Cafe Kuramae, we’d like to try out the Kuramae hot chocolate (630 yen before tax). This uses roasted green tea to create a Japanese spin on hot chocolate. Similarly, the Kuramae shop exclusively uses Shizuoka-sourced organic tea from the Nakamura Tea Life Store, which handles every tea-making step in-house, from harvesting to processing it.
When we tried it ourselves, it had a light, mild mouthfeel that surprised us. Not too sweet, the first swallow filled our senses with the aroma of cacao, and the faint tea flavor provided a great accent. There are rows of pastries available, also overflowing with originality.
If you want to get something to go with the hot chocolate, we recommend the Papua New Guinea Samoa (450 yen before tax), a combination of graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate ganache. The marshmallow is made right after you place your order. You can enjoy the smoky flavor of cacao beans dried on an open flame, together with the fluffy texture of the marshmallow.
Drinks and Sweets Served in Beautiful Japanese Ceramic Vessels
The cups and dishes are from the Sueki Ceramics brand, born from the rich history of Tokushima Prefecture’s traditional Otaniyaki pottery.
They have been specially made for the cafe, and you can buy some yourself on the first floor.
Enjoy Japanese Craft Beer Along With Chocolate
In addition, you can also enjoy beer and wine together with your chocolate, sourced from Japanese craft breweries.
Relax and Enjoy the Kuramae Vibe
In the cafe’s stylish interior, lined with rows of cute chocolates, the customers are not just young people wearing the latest fashions - local residents relax in the cafe as well, which is easier to do in Kuramae than in the city center. Walk a short distance away from Dandelion Chocolate to see the former wholesalers’ buildings and feel the unadorned atmosphere of old Japan.
At Dandelion Chocolate Factory and Cafe Kuramae, you can enjoy high-quality chocolate and come in contact with Japan’s culture, too. It’s the perfect place to stop after walking through Asakusa.