Cost: 108 yen
Found at: Daiso
Last weekend, my coworker invited me to go to on his family trip to a farm. He told me that we were picking strawberries and, having been to a fair few “pick-your-own” farms in my day (humble brag), I was not expecting very much. I assumed that we would wander around the field, pick what looked good, and then buy them at a slightly reduced price – such is the standard procedure back home – but as city life was wearing me down (and Japanese strawberries are expensive), I thought it would provide a welcome boost of nature and vitamin C to my life.
When we arrived, I discovered that the experience had been vastly undersold. This should not have come as a surprise, as this particular coworker tends to either forget to mention important information or forget to listen to it. So, when we entered the warm and expansive greenhouse full of chest-high rows of hanging strawberry plants, I discovered that I had actually signed up for a farm-to-table strawberry feast, without the table. For 40 minutes, I was allowed to pick and consume as many strawberries as I could, aided by a small cup of sweetened condensed milk. I was going to make a profit on my $15 buy-in, that much I knew.
And I ate a lot of strawberries, walking down row upon row and snapping the tender stocks of the deep red fruit and immediately stuffing them in my mouth. The fruit could not have been fresher, sweeter, or more enthusiastically devoured. Except for, perhaps, by my co-worker’s 8-month-old daughter. This was her first experience with strawberries, and she was very much in favor. For the whole 40-minute stretch, she sat in her front-pack with her mouth wide open, patiently waiting for an adult to notice and insert a strawberry. We all kept waiting for her to fill up, but no matter how many morsels we gave her, she would simply chew, drool, and re-open her mouth: ready for the next cube. I suspect that she has great things in her future – including, but not limited to, a lifetime ban from pick-your-own strawberry farms.
All this to say, that it is strawberry season in Japan, and what better way to celebrate than with some strawberry chocolate. And when it comes to strawberry chocolate, the people at Tirol know what they are doing! They have strawberry shortcake chocolate, strawberry jell-o chocolate, and strawberry mousse chocolate – one crunchy, one gooey, one creamy, and all delicious. It’s not an all-you-can-eat fresh strawberry buffet, but honestly? It’s the next best thing.