Chocolate. I'm thinking about chocolate a lot these days. I want to understand why chocolate tastes so entirely different here in Japan. I get that the "choco- flavored" things may not even be directly related to chocolate as I know it. I suspect the sort of chocolate used to make those "choco-flavored" cookies is the same stuff they use for those M&M shaped chocolates that they sell in plastic shaped candy canes around Christmas in the U.S. It looks like chocolate but tastes....not very chocolatey at all.
According to this there's a whole scale of different varieties of chocolate in Japan based on what's in it.
But so far, I've had a hard time finding anything tasty. A few really nice pastry shops have had some good dark chocolate in their cakes or pastries, but that has been a rare experience for me.
And I'm sad because the luscious American brownies that I baked yesterday (thanks to my sister who mailed me the box mix!) are nearly gone (there's one left) and I only got to eat two of them. After I finished baking them my husband kindly thought of taking some to our neighbors. He did ask if it would be all right and I thought that since these neighbors happen to be relatives and they spend some time each week playing with my daughter and helping us out in that regard, I couldn't begrudge them some brownies. For those of you unfamiliar with life in Japan, it seems to involve a lot of sharing of food (I make too much of something and give half away to my neighbor who in turn does the same when she has too much of something....). When I say "a lot" I mean food goes in and out our door easily 3 or 4 times a week, maybe more.
"Okay, but what about the rest of the brownies?" you might ask. My MIL gave them away to my English conversation student today. She's a sweet woman and again, I wouldn't begrudge her one, but at least half of what was left? *sigh*
The really frustrating part in all of this is that it's not even food that anyone here (besides me) really enjoys. It seems to me that most people here prefer the choco-flavored stuff. That's fine with me. That's why I baked my own special brownies. I had contemplated freezing a bunch after baking them yesterday, but before I ever got around to it they were walking out the door - repeatedly.
Here's the etiquette question then: If you've got roommates do you hide any of your food from them? I suppose I could have hidden the brownies away (or in this case frozen them) for my own consumption at a later date since I know the audience here well enough to know that no one will appreciate them as much as I will. Considering that these brownies were especially hard to come by (i.e. overseas mail) would that make a difference in your answer? I don't want to be all sneaky hiding my food from people when the polite thing to do is to share, but if everyone else is going to give away my food (in some instances without even asking), what do I do?