Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kyoto Nama Chocolate Organic Tea House/きょおとなまちよこれっと

Yet another cute little cafe/teahouse just around the corner from my Kyoto apartment.  "Nama (fresh) Chocolate" has a lovely homey vibe - with good reason. The proprietors, a Canadian woman (who is more Japanese than some Japanese women I know!) and her Japanese hubby live above - which may explain why their pets are also part of the experience. The cat, like most felines, couldn't give a fig about you  - she prefers to snuggle by the fire but the dog is gorgeous and loves to greet patrons by offering his silky head for a pat before you enter.
As it is so close to home I have dropped in a few times for a cuppa ... they have very decent, organic coffee and of course you can enjoy tea and other drinks   - but that is about it for the standard menu - drinks and chocolate! what more does a girl need really?? 

However at certain times of the year they have an additional lunch menu - and it is sen-bloody-sational - healthy, organic, simply delicious grub and mostly vegetarian - the type of food that makes you feel less guilty about scoffing the chocolates afterwards! But please don't let the healthy tag put you off - it TASTES really wonderful and seems to be a bit of a blend of Japanese and western style vego! The chef/owner really knows his stuff.  When they have the lunch thing happening you need to go early - it is very popular. It may be worth calling ahead as there doesn't appear to be any set rules for when...
On my last visit I ran into the lovely Kiri (below)  - she's the daughter of a friend's friend who's family I'd had the pleasure of meeting on New Year's Eve as we lined up in the snow at midnight to ring the bell at a local temple.... Kiri's mum is Australian but this charming young lady has grown up in Japan and is so strikingly Japanese in her demeanour that you can't help but just stare at the poor girl as her look (and ginger locks!) seems so at odds with her mannerisms... She is such a sweetie so I was delighted to run into her on a quiet day when I was on my own.
The speciality of the house are, locally renowned, hand-made chocolates in 3 flavours - bitter chocolate and Okinawan Shochu, Kyoto matcha (local green tea), and a slightly sweeter version curiously flavoured with an Austrian herb liqueur - all divine! However the "chocolates" are more like a parfait than a truffle and you can even buy them frozen in take home packets. Just take them out as you need them - letting them come almost to room temperature then enjoy with a little fork or spoon. 
Coffee+Chocolate=Happy Jane

It has always been winter when I have visited so I look forward to cooling off in the garden in the warmer months.....

That cat still hasn't moved!!
Someone's ears were burning... possibly literally...
The cold clearly doesn't bother some...
Looking forward to be back here soon! promise to post some pics when I next eat lunch there. 

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