In the gourmand spirit of single malt whisky, varietal wine, and single bean coffee, Lotte launched a product called Single Beans Chocolate.
Of course I had to try them. Who knew chocolate beans tasted so different to one another? But sure enough, they are distinctive. La Flora is sweet and fruity; Sur del Lago is piquant; El Pilar tastes like piney mould.
The chocolates come in small bars for 150 yen each or a “cacao selection” variety pack for 300 yen. It’s a bit more expensive than the average chocolate but you can buy it at the conbini, so it’s not really too luxe.
Plenty of people got used to the high life in the economic bubbles of real estate and tech. Now we can’t afford the extreme luxuries any more, but we still crave them. Lotte is cleverly profiting on the fact that our tastes and our pocketbooks don’t quite match.
Or maybe gourmet foods in the convenience store indicate an upswing in the economy in general. I never did understand the Japanese economic slump—it seems like everyone is carrying on as usual with plenty of construction, designers doing good business, new restaurants and shops springing up all over. To say that this is a slump, well, the Bubble must have been heady times, indeed.