Japan, Saitama Guide (B): Sweet and Salty: A Visit to the Meiji Chocolate Factory
Meiji is a pervasive brand here in Japan. They make chocolates, snacks, yogurt drinks, cookies and hot chocolate, among other things. Basically, they make yummy treats. This week, I joined a group of friends on a tour of the Meiji chocolate factory in Saitama, here in Tokyo. A friend of a friend organized the rental of a bus so a large group of us from the base could go to take the free tour of the factory. It was a really “sweet” to get to see where some of these delicious items are made.
We started our tour in a meeting room, where we were handed a few brochures in Japanese and samples of delightful little strawberry and milk chocolate candies and boxes of a grape-flavored yogurt drink. Our Japanese guide blithely launched into her presentation in Japanese to our room full of mostly gaijin, who all nodded politely as if we could understand anything she was saying besides “Meiji” and “cocoa.” After a minute or so, one of the Japanese members of our group took pity, stepped forward apologetically, and politely offered to translate. Much better. The rest of the (translated) presentation and a video in English introduced us to the process behind making milk chocolate bars and a snack called Carl. Carl — that’s how they translated the name, I swear — is a lightweight cheese or curry-flavor puff. (I believe it’s more properly called ‘Kaaru.’) ...... (follow the instructions below for accessing the rest of this article).
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