A brand called Malebranche? In Kyoto, Japan? What is that even supposed to mean?

As I was walking through Kyoto on my way back out to Tokyo, I got a few more matcha things at the Kyoto Station branch of Itoh Kyuemon.
I knew to go there as they, not least, are the company that Nestle worked with for the Kyoto-specific (Itoh Kyuemon-)matcha KitKat.

The nearby store of Malebranche, I almost didn’t go in.

Malebranche Store, Kyoto

Malebranche Store, Kyoto

What’s in a Name?

The store looked good, don’t get me wrong, airy and (or: but?) with a special, small selection of products. The name only made it sound like some Chinese wannabe knockoff of something that played at being French, though. And that in Japan.

Fortunately, focusing on looking closer and learning more as I do, I went in there.

Malebranche Chocolates

The pastry looked nice, and the Langue de Chat with matcha filling (of which I bought a bag) were very nice, indeed.

Malebranche Langue de chat

Malebranche Langue de chat

What I could have just as well still overlooked, but was even more happy I didn’t, were the chocolates Malebranche makes.

They are made, for one, to be like traditional Japanese cane sugar sweets. Basically, that means that they have a somewhat gritty, sugar-crystal texture.
Not the nicest actually, in my opinion, but it is interesting in the way that it hails back to tradition. And secondly, that tradition is also one, strangely enough, of traditional Sicilian chocolates.

I am not saying that there are any connections, except as they arise from the ingredients used. Even that is interesting an observation, though.

The Malebranche chocolates also included interesting flavorings.

Matcha Chocolate

My number one, here, was a matcha – or to be exact, koicha (thick matcha) – flavor.

It truly was koicha in its intensity, has the most intense color…

Malebranche Koicha Chocolate

Malebranche Koicha Chocolate

Malebranche Koicha Chocolate

Koicha Chocolate in Close-Up

I don’t usually approve so much of chocolates that aren’t dark and intense in and of themselves but go for effect.

The effect here is nice all around, however; the color was equally as intense as the aroma and flavor.

Shichimi Tougarashi Chocolate!

The second Malebranche chocolate I found of even greater interest because it fits right into my interests: A chocolate flavored with shichimi tougarashi, the Japanese seven-spice mix with chilli (and oftentimes, yuzu, and often hemp seeds, and… well, I finally have to write about that, actually.)

Malebranche Shichimi Chocolate

Malebranche Shichimi Chocolate

Malebranche Shichimi Chocolate

Shichimi Chocolate in Close-Up

It did not have as much of the flavors as I would have liked to notice, but the chocolate was good and the idea alone was excellent.