Making Our Own Custom KITKAT Bar at the KITKAT Chocolatory in Shibuya, Tokyo
Recently opened in August of 2020, the KITKAT Chocolatory in Shibuya's brand-new Miyashita Park not only offers a dizzying variety of artisanal KITKAT flavors but-for the first time anywhere in the world-lets you design and make your own KITKAT bar by hand, using the ingredients of your choice! We went to check it out and try our hand at making a custom KITKAT of our own. Read on to see how it turned out!
Sep 15 2020 (Dec 21 2020)
The KITKAT Chocolatory
In case you've never heard of it, the KITKAT Chocolatory is a store that specializes in—you guessed it—KITKATs. However, you won't find the normal kind of KITKATs that can be purchased at major stores around Japan and the world. Instead, the KITKATs here are designed under the careful supervision of an award-winning pastry chef by the name of Yasumasa Takagi, who crafts totally unique KITKATs that feature exotic and high-end ingredients. Some of the stand out flavors include the single-origin cacao KITKATs, the passion fruit KITKAT, and the cacao fruit chocolate KITKAT. Each KITKAT for purchase comes packaged as an individual stick, making it impossible to "break me off a piece of that KITKAT bar," but just as well, because you definitely won't want to share these delicacies with anyone.
The KITKAT Chocolatory started as one store but has since grown to a total of eight locations in Japan. The newest store in Shibuya, however, offers something that none of the others do, which is what we went to check out.
The Newest Store in Shibuya's New Miyashita Park
Miyashita Park is a new facility in the heart of Shibuya-one of Tokyo's most popular shopping and entertainment districts-that recently opened on July 28th. Just a short walk from Shibuya station, Miyashita Park is home to nearly 90 shops and restaurants, a large rooftop park replete with a bouldering wall and skate park, and even a hotel! Nestle Japan chose this hip new spot to open its latest KITKAT Chocolatory on August 4th, in a prime location with large windows overlooking the very busy train lines running into Shibuya Station.
Here, visitors can shop for all of the high-end KITKAT bars that are only available at the KITKAT Chocolatory stores, enjoy awesome and delicious treats from the KITKATcafe (more on this below), and try their hand at making their very own, custom KITKAT bar.
The KITKAT-making experience costs 2,000 yen (excl. tax) and requires signing up for one of the five time slots available each day, which can be done in-person at the store, or online via the official website. Since the activity is understandably quite popular, it's recommended to reserve ahead of time so that you'll be guaranteed a chance to make your own KITKAT. The time slots available each day are at 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 5:30 pm, and 7:30 pm.
Making a Custom KITKAT
The process of making your own KITKAT is fairly straightforward, and the friendly staff are there to guide you through the process, making it an easy and very fun activity. After a brief explanation (in Japanese, though with a large sign in English that was very helpful), we sanitized and put gloves on our hands. There are currently see-through barriers in place dividing each person's workspace, which was comforting, and everyone wore masks to maintain a safe environment.
The first step in the process was to choose the ingredients that would go into the KITKAT. This was accomplished by ticking checkboxes on a form (available in Japanese or English). The chocolates you can choose from are "bitter," "milk," and "ruby," a fruity pink-colored chocolate which we couldn't resist choosing as it is delicious and all the rage these days. In addition, we were allowed to pick four toppings from among 17 options (see the photo for details). Assuming my calculation is correct, that makes for 7,140 possible ingredient/chocolate combinations!
The next step was to cut the all-important wafers that go inside the chocolate and give a KITKAT bar its signature crispiness. The wafers are made in a large rectangle, so it's necessary to carefully cut it into 4 even pieces which will go into the four crevices of the KITKAT mold. If you'd care to chop, slice, or crush any of your selected toppings, this is also the time to do that.
Next, a bowl of the melted chocolate that we chose was presented, and we were instructed to scoop and spread it into the KITKAT mold. After spreading, the mold needs to be rapped on the table to remove any air bubbles that might have been trapped during the process. Once this was finished, we placed each of the wafers into the chocolate and submerged them with our fingers. We then spread the chocolate smoothly over the top and were almost finished!
The last step was to decorate the bottom of the KITKAT bar with our toppings. This is where you really get a chance to customize your KITKAT to make a one-of-a-kind bar. Once we had put the finishing touches on the KITKAT, it was swept away to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so that the chocolate could properly harden. The finished product was then presented to us in the adorable box that we were able to choose and packed up with some dry ice so that it wouldn't melt as we took it out into the hot Tokyo summer.
See a video of the experience:
Other than the custom KITKAT experience, one of the coolest things about the KITKAT Chocolatory in Shibuya is the cafe, with terraced seats that overlook the busy train tracks below and a KITKAT-themed piano that anyone is free to play! Watch the Yamanote line pass by as you enjoy one of the tasty sweets or original drinks on the menu.
If you're a fan of KITKAT, I highly recommend the KITKAT Waffles (1,000 yen (excl. tax)), which come in 4 varieties and are filled with ice creams and other toppings. The waffles themselves are either plain or chocolate flavored, and are made with a KITKAT-shaped waffle maker. We tried the Chocolate Strawberry and Chestnut Chocolate waffles, both of which were fantastic and very cute. Ice cream lovers should look no further than the Chocolatory's Sublime Soft Serve chocolate ice cream (630 yen (excl. tax)), made from a 66% cacao couverture chocolate featuring a blend of three types of cacao beans.
The drink menu is also worth checking out, as it features some unique and seasonal coffee beverages (not surprising, as Nestle also has a coffee line called NESPRESSO). We tried an original recreation of a Vietnamese coffee drink called "sữa chua cà phê" which combines sweet coffee and yogurt (850 yen (excl. tax)). The KITKAT Chocolatory's take on the beverage features diced strawberries, which added a lovely fruity twist to the drink. The menu will change with the seasons, so it will be exciting to see what else they come up with!
Miyashita Park is definitely one of the coolest new spots in Shibuya, and the new KITKAT Chocolatory is one of the shops inside that can't be missed. Stop by, make an original KITKAT, have a KITKAT waffle, and stock up on some awesome souvenir KITKAT bars to bring home.
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.