Before walking into this store, I really considered whether it was worth pushing myself closer to the diabetic range just to enjoy some chocolate. In general the answer would be a no, but because it is our duty to bring you the best places to dine in Japan, well sometimes I have to make some sacrifices. Let me tell you, this was far from a sacrifice. Vanilla Beans just outside of Bashamichi, Yokohama will convert you into a chocoholic if you weren’t already one.
Vanilla Beans as a chocolate maker has been around since April 2000 and has been producing chocolate for the sole reason to “bring smiles to everyone in the world”. In 2006, Vanilla Beans shop owner Katsuhisa Yagi saw the poor conditions surrounding cacao plantations were not just in his eyes and so he vowed to start a fair-trade chocolate business online in 2007 to help support the industry. The website’s activity grew more and more by the day which eventually led to establishing a store in Minato Mirai.
The place itself is separated into a store where you can buy their prepackaged chocolate, and a cafe that has a menu with all original chocolate based delights. At the cafe we ordered the Vanilla Beans Parfait (which they only make 10 a day), an organic hot coffee, and the Minato Mirai chocolatte to top it off. Needless to say, we were ready to fall into a sugar coma. The strangest thing is though, as chocolaty and rich as the parfait and Minato Mirai chocolatte were, it didn’t feel way over the top. In fact, even if you took a big bite of the 4 different kinds of chocolate in the parfait all at once, you can actually tell exactly what is what. Specifically, the four chocolates comprised of a moose, a nougat, chocolate cake, and chocolate ice cream. Each of the flavors were incredible on their own, but when you add the final melted chocolate on top and everything all together, it becomes a perfect harmony over the various levels offered in texture and flavor. The Minato Mirai chocolatte was quite rich and creamy, but wasn’t incredibly sweet.
All in all, Vanilla Beans exceeded my expectations and I have yet to have any other chocolate as good as this in Japan. Make sure to check them out!