Valentine's day in Japan is when women give chocolates to men; they reciprocate a month later on White Day. It's the season for fancy and unique sweets, in other words, and while a lot of luxury valentine's chocolate is actually bought by women for themselves, there is a lot of gift chocolate made specifically to appeal to men.
A couple of years ago Ritsuko got me these wonderful Chocolate Tools, and last year I received this set from the same Kobe chocolate maker. I didn't think there'd be any way for her ever to top that, but oh, was I wrong.
Ahhh! A hammer to break the hard chocolate crust; a spoon to dig up soft stuff and a brush to carefully remove small bits. Let's go digging for bones!
Carefully break the hard crust. It takes a fair few whacks to make it crack. The hammer is surprisingly heavy and solid.
We're through. The crust of dark chocolate is pretty thick and quite hard, but the layer beneath seems to be much softer and crumblier.
Carefully remove the chocolate gravel with the brush - we don't know how deep it is and we don't want to harm anything below it.
This is incredibly geeky, and amazingly wonderful. Ritsuko knows me only too well, I think. I spent a glorious sunday planning the shoot, setting up lighting and camera (I realize now I should have raked a side-light across the slab on the last image), then slowly digging up and uncovering the chocolate fossil, taking pictures all the while. It's not just a bit of candy, it's a whole day of geeky entertainment.
It's good chocolate too. We've eaten all the crust already, and we'll use the gravel for hot cocoa. We haven't started on the fossil itself yet so I can't say how the white chocolate tastes, but it should be as good as the rest. Thank you, Ritsuko, for a wonderful gift!