Japanese Valentine’s Day and the Really Difficult Biscuits


Godiva, Pierre Marcoloni, Salon du Chocolat, Jean-Paul Hevin, Demel, Lindt…

These high-end chocolates are all over in Japan, especially in February. It is for the 14th of February, Valentine’s Day.

The Japanese custom on Valentine’s Day is that women give chocolates to men to tell their feelings. There are 2 types of chocolates that exist here. One is given to someone special (husband, boyfriend, prospective boyfriend), which is called “Honmei Choco” (Honmei means a real target). Another is for colleagues, bosses and male friends, which is called “Giri Choco” (Giri means obligation).

Obviously, this “Giri Choco” is the funny one. In the workplace, it is quite common that female employees are “obligated” to give chocolates to male employees. I remember that my dad brought a lot of boxes of chocolates back home on the day.

It sounds like a good custom only for men? HAHA! Sorry, Gentlemen, there is a catch. Off course.

We have a day called “White Day” a month after Valentine’s Day -the 14th of March. The day is for men to give gifts to women in return for the Valentine’s gift. White Day gifts are often confectioneries, such as cookies and candies etc. This custom applies to all men who got “Giri Choco” too. Imagine if you are a boss who got a box of chocolates from each one of your female staff in your workplace!!! I think that the real obligation lies here. I remember that my mum had to go to buy a lot of boxes of cookies and candies for my dad to take to work.

My workplace in Japan was pretty good though. As the company was a confectionery company, most of us were interested in sweets, so I guess that we took it as an opportunity to try something new and trendy. We, girls, chipped some money in and got something really good. In return, boys got something really nice treat to us. We all shared and enjoyed it at work. So we were technically buying what we wanted to eat at the time. I quite liked the arrangement.

This year’s Valentine’s Day was on Sunday. I had a plenty of time to prepare so I made this cookie; the famous cigarette shaped biscuits from Yoku Moku. Since I got the recipe from my friend, I had wanted to try out. But! OH! This was really really difficult!!! The biscuits have to be rolled while they are hot, but to do so, it has to be the best timing to take them out from the oven. If you take them out late, they are too crispy to roll. If you are too early, it is easier to roll, but the biscuits do not become crispy.

As a result, 6 out of 14 were presentable. 2 out 6 were crispy…. I think I need more practice. At least, my husband will welcome that.



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