With the pandemic still ongoing, and parts of Japan officially in a state of emergency, Valentine’s Day 2021 is not an ideal time for a night on the town or a weekend away. But a nice night in doesn’t have to be a disappointment! And the retailers of Japan certainly haven’t given up on the season entirely―many shops, restaurants, and cafes are selling Valentine’s treats of all kinds in 2021, just like every other year. So slap on your mask, swing by the shops, and pick up some sugary sweets on your way home!
When it comes to seasonal drinks in Japan, there’s no better place to look than Starbucks, where there’s a new frappuccino for every occasion! For this Valentine’s season, they’ve got not just one new drink theme, but two. Their first series of Valentine’s Day drinks is the Melty Chocolate Frappuccino and Melty Chocolate Mocha (above), which come graced with chocolate fudge sauce and little chocolate chunks. The frappuccino version even comes with red heart-shaped sprinkles!
The second theme is Chocolate on the Chocolate, which comes as a deeply chocolate frappuccino topped with chocolate chunks and chocolate cookie bits. They heard you like chocolate on your chocolate.
Over the past few years, Mister Donut’s Pokemon-themed donuts have been a hit, attracting customers with donuts shaped into little Chanseys and Pikachu faces. But for Valentine’s Day, the donut shop is instead teaming up with a slightly more luxurious brand, bringing us donuts made in collaboration with Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini. The donuts come in two types: ring donuts styled after French fondant au chocolat (lava cake) and filled with chocolate, caramel, or raspberry sauce, plus a hybrid of donut and danish, heart-shaped sandwiches with cream filling.
In Japan, January means strawberry season! So McDonald’s is giving you a chance to get a head start (!?) on Valentine’s Day with these white chocolate drinks, made adorably pink and festive with large doses of strawberry sauce, and topped with white chocolate shavings.
Finally, a treat for the more mature sweet tooth. Nana’s Green Tea normally offers green tea drinks of all kinds, matcha sweets and parfaits, and even some simple Japanese food. But for Valentine’s Day 2021, they’re teaming up with Häagen-Dazs to offer a special Valentine’s dessert, their “Matcha Chocolat Glass with Häagen-Dazs.” Served elegantly styled in a stemless wineglass, this ice cream sundae is meant to be enjoyed with all five senses, as you dig into a combination of Häagen-Dazs sweet chocolate ice cream and matcha ice cream made by Nana’s Green Tea itself―one of the shop’s specialties.
Matcha Chocolat Glass with Häagen-Dazs: 1/6 – 2/14
This Hawaiian breakfast joint is the place to be when you need some hot coffee, eggs benedict, and of course stacks and stacks of fluffy American diner-style pancakes. Their flapjacks already come topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream, but for Valentine’s Day they’re taking it to the next level, with their Fondant au Chocolat Pancakes: chocolate panckes topped with lava-cake style molten chocolate sauce, and with extra whipped cream and strawberries for good measure. Then again, if you’re really more of a french toast person, they also have a special Valentine’s version with strawberry, banana, and chocolate sauce.
Worried about eating in? Don’t be―the pancakes and french toast are of course available for takeout!
Fondant au Chocolat Pancakes: 1/16 – 2/28
Whether you’re with a special someone or just hanging out on your own, why not spend a romantic night hanging out on the couch sipping sugary drinks and stuffing yourself with chocolate pancakes this Valentine’s Day?