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Recommend a brand of chocolate as gift 2018/4/28 12:11
Hello guys,

I am thinking of buying some kind of gifts for my Japanese tutors. They have been helping me and some other students a lot, but since tutoring is voluntarily, they don't get paid. I don't know if anyone else will give them gifts or anything (probably yes), but this is just my way of showing gratitude. One of them is going back to Japan in one month. I am not sure what they like, since we don't get to chit-chat about random topics that much. I guess I can say that we are on good terms, but not exactly close friends. I don't know what they like, but I'll see if I can BS a conversation and ask them. I've heard that Japanese people like stuff that are hard to get in Japan, like American/Western candies or local products.

I have searched around for some good chocolate brands. I was surprised to find out that Hersheys have terrible reputation among chocolate enthusiasts. So which brand would you recommend? :) I would like one that is not too expensive, and offer good value for the price. I'm looking at somewhere around $25. Some of the ones I currently have my eyes on are:

- See's Candies (when you make a custom box, what the heck are those 10% ratio for each? How many pieces do you get? 2-3?)
- Lindt (seems good)
- M&M? Maybe...
- Philadelphia Candies (anyone heard of this before?)
- Ferrero Rocher
- Godiva is a bit too expensive, I think...

Those are all I could remember right now. I think there was a few more European brands, but I forgot. Honestly, I am not crazy about sweets, but I have tasted Lindt, Hersheys, Ferrero, and they all didn't seem that much different from each other. XD So how do you rate these brands?

I am also worried that during the process of shipping, the chocolate might melt. Not sure if buying directly from the manufacturer's website would help, but I have seen plenty of pictures of chocolate being melted on Amazon.

Thanks in advance! :D
by Flawless Fatality (guest)  

Re: Recommend a brand of chocolate as gift 2018/4/28 14:53
I guess you are from the States? Which one is your "local" brand, if any? Oh but since you are talking about "shipping," you are not in PA I guess...

I'd say M & M is more like a grocery-store brand, and Ferrero Rocher and Lindt chocolate boxes are also widely available in Japan. The name Godiva is big in Japan but is expensive (for what they offer, IMHO).

So... maybe the remaining two, See's Candies or Philadelphia Candies would be my choice :)
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Recommend a brand of chocolate as gift 2018/4/28 15:24
The only good US chocolate brand is Ghirardelli, though depending on where you are in the US you may have some trouble finding it (they are based in California). They are quite expensive too, but at least you do get what you pay for, unlike Godiva, which is both expensive and bad.
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Recommend a brand of chocolate as gift 2018/4/29 00:31
A pound of See's chocolates will run you about US$20. I agree with Frias, Ghirardelli Chocolates are pretty good. If you are in the US Walgreens sells them. Also - have you thought of Whole Foods? They have stores everywhere. Some of their chocolates are boxed, others are bars and there is quite a good selection of them. I recommend the Endangered Species brand.
by sjvacc rate this post as useful

Re: Recommend a brand of chocolate as gift 2018/4/29 10:15

Ghiradelli is now easily bought in Target. It's not hard to find, depending on what you are trying to buy.

I don't think Godiva is particularly good, but I use to give the gold boxes because it looked pretty and it's a well known brand. I use to go to the Godiva outlet and get small boxes on a discount. If you're not giving to someone you know that well, sometimes the cachet of a brand in terms of the thought is more important than the actual quality. But to be fair, I also think Godiva has really dropped in quality over the years. They keep adding more and more hydrogenated shortening and taking out the actual chocolate.

I think See's is decent, though depending on what you are getting it's not cheap.

Schaffen Berger makes pretty high quality chocolate bars.

Lately, since I am gifting to actual friends, I've been buying chocolates at Trader Joe's. It doesn't have brand cachet but most of their chocolates are quite tasty. Unfortunately, their prettiest box sets were out for Christmas and are not currently for sale. If you're not looking for packaging just quality and low price, TJ's has an amazing dark chocolate covered almond and their dark chocolate caramels with sea salt.. yum! But they're best for someone you know well, as there is no cachet to them.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Recommend a brand of chocolate as gift 2018/4/29 21:40
I don't think Hershey's is that unpopular here in Japan. I mean, people say both bad things and good about any brand, and Hershey's are sold at any supermarket here, so I suppose people still bother to buy them.

Either way, I've lived in California and still have friends visiting from the area, and See's is a popular gift for the Japanese, especially because we don't have See's stores in Japan any more. You know you don't have to buy a whole pound. See's carries lots of cute little goodies depending on your budget. Something seasonal would be great too.

I think there are two typical ways of sending people back to their home country.
1) Give them something typically local, because they're going to miss it.
2) Give them something that may not be familiar to them, regardless of the nationality of the brand. They're in the same country as you anyway. You may as well choose something you might send to any local friend. Then they'd think, "Hey, I didn't know about this item. I'm glad I got to know a local person!"
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Recommend a brand of chocolate as gift 2018/5/2 09:19
I'm not an American, but I have had most of the brands you have mentioned. My favourite, both personally and for a gift is See's. I don't think they are expensive at all, and if you are able to pick your own, and have them boxed, you can make it very personal. See's did have a store in Harajuku several years ago, don't know if it's still there, but the pricing was very high, compared with the stores in the Malls around California. They also do a "truffle range"in either a gold or platinum box which is only around half a pound in weight, but utterly delicious (says me, a chocolate lover!!)

I do like Godiva, who package beautifully, but are very expensive.
by LoveJapan (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Recommend a brand of chocolate as gift 2018/5/2 20:27
Just as a fact, See's brick-and-mortar shops have all resigned from Japan, including Harajuku, Ginza and Motomachi. You still can buy them on-line through Amazon Japan. But you can buy almost anything on-line today, and it don't affect the contents of my previous post.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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