Who would have thought that there would be a chocolate factory in an airport? Chitose Airport in Hokkaido has one, and you can view the process right from the start to the end when the chocolates are packed and ready for sale. The popular Royce chocolates originated in 1983 in Sapporo, and has since become a well-known brand. Today not only is it enjoyed by locals but also by chocolate lovers all around the world.
Royce opened a new concept store called ‘Royce Chocolate World’ a few years ago, complete with a mini factory and museum inside the airport. Here you can see in detail how some airport exclusive Royce products are made. The chocolate making process starts at the back of the room, where there are a few machines to melt the chocolate, to put the liquid chocolate into moulds, to cool the liquid, and then to harden the chocolate. Most of these exclusives are cute and intrinsically designed by hand. At the front is a huge window where you can see the workers up close, where the final steps of decorating and packaging was carried out. It was a definitely a joy to watch the freshly made chocolates being prepared for sale.
The museum details the entire process of chocolate making, the history of chocolate, and displays chocolate collections from around the world. Learn about Royce's sourcing of high quality cocoa beans and their best chocolate making techniques.
The shop showcases more than two hundred different types of airport exclusive items. From the wide variety of cute and individually packaged chocolates, to the bigger boxes of normal square and circle shaped chocolates, I had a tough time deciding what to purchase. Airport exclusive items would make great souvenirs. Also available are of course the usual products, with Nama (fresh) chocolate being as popular as ever.
There is also a chocolate bakery cafe, where freshly baked piping hot chocolatey pastries are sold. I was there too early in the morning, and they had discounted bread from the previous day. Though leftover from last night, the cold chocolate from inside the fluffy bread still tasted delicious. Definitely a must-visit for every chocolate lover!