Anticipating Demand for Christmas and Valentines Day
The Echizen Pottery Manufacturing Cooperative (越前焼工業協同組合, located in Echizen Town, Fukui Prefecture) has begun selling a gift set, which includes a snack of chocolate-overhead fried Echizen soba noodles and a sake cup specially made in Echizen. The product has been named “Soba Chocolate” (そばちょこ), taking inspiration from the packaged chocolate (チョコ, “CHOKO) and sake cup (おちょこ, “OCHOKO”). Filled with the charm of Fukui, order are anticipated in conjunction with Christmas, Valentines Day, and as a souvenir.
The product’s design director, Junichi Inoue (of Minami-Echizen Town), has been working with the concept in his mind for many years, until finally having a chance to present it to the cooperative, and being able to proceed with development.
The sweets are prepared by the soba shop “Oshouzuan” (御清水庵, located in Echizen City), and the traditional sweets shop “Cakeya yanagimoto” (けーきやyanagimoto, located in Sabae City). Fried Echizen soba noodles are coated with chocolate, and then covered with soba seeds. The first bite will begin with the bittersweet flavour of the chocolate; gradually, the aromatic flavour and saltiness of the soba will fill the palate. It can be enjoyed with a swerving of Japanese liquor, whiskey, or shochu.
The Echizen-made sake cup is produced by Yuuki Yoshikawa (of Echizen Town), a young potter part of the cooperative. Available in blue or white, it has a modern design. Echizen washi is used for wrapping.
“It’s an original chocolate snack that you can’t find anywhere else. It contains Echizen soba, Echizen pottery, and Echizen washi; the flavour, the container, and the packaging all come together to emphasize the essence of Fukui,” explained Inoue.
The product will be on sale for a limited time until March 2020. There are plans to have the product available during the same period every year.
A box of three small bags of the snack and a sake cup will be ¥2,300 (excluding tax). It is being sold in the cooperative’s direct sales shop Echizen-yaki no Kan (越前焼の館, located in Ozowara, Echizen Town), and the Oshouzuan cafe (御清水庵cafe, located in Yokawacho, Echizen City).