Japanese cooking and traditional sweets have long placed a premium on seasonality. Contemporary candy and snack producers now tap into the seasonal mindset to great effect, peddling cherry-flavoured goods during cherry blossom season and sweet potato-flavoured snacks in the autumn. Chocominto is only the latest limited-edition snack fad to enthrall Japanese consumers. “The Japanese market moves with the season,” says Jérôme Chouchan, the boss of Godiva Japan, which uses ingredients and packaging to send seasonal signals, as with chestnut macaroons and brown or red packaging in the autumn.
Bright green, chocolate-studded delights sprout on store shelves across Japan every year as temperatures rise. Chocolate-mint ice cream bars; chocolate-mint cookies; chocolate-mint candies, chocolate-mint bubble tea, even chocolate-mint bagels. On Instagram, fans post pictures of their favourite “chocominto” items, tagging posts “#chocomintou”, a play on words meaning the “chocolate-mint party” (as in political party). And then, as suddenly as they appear, the chocominto snacks are gone, wilting away at the end of Japan’s hot summers.