A Russian chocolate craftsman opens shop in Kami-Ikebukuro-Interview

I had few questions but I got new information.

The Owner is Russian.

I love Russia.
And I think it is a strange combination of Kami-Ikebukuro and Russia
and chocolate.

Let’s go!

Auther:Hiroko Oda(Cartoonist)

Chocolate factory

There was a Iranian restaurant before.
It changes to a good mood cafe and chocolate factory.

Mr.Roman (Illustrated by Hiroko Oda)

Mr.Roman owns and runs this shop

You can taste chocolate bars at the shop.
When I eat it, fresh flavors of cacao come up.

I think that it is more pure cacao than ordinary chocolate.
And I was surprised when I ate the next chocolate bar.
It is so different!

I have an interest in cacao, I asked Mr.Roman

Why do you start making chocolate? Why do you choose this area?
Please tell me your carrier.

I born at Moscow of Soviet Union. I start working Holland company
which of mining and trading on late 1990s.

After that study jewelry manufacturing and design in Firenze, Italy. then work as apprentice for jewelry company. 

After moved to Bangkok, Thailand to study Gemology.

You are so international.

Yes. I think that its nonsense to tag myself as “I am a Russian”. Life
is more complex.

After finishing my study ,I established a jewel company in Bangkok.

I visited so many countries, for example, Latin America.
These countries had jewel industry, on the other hand, had cacao industry.
They considered cacao to be precious as a jewel.

I wondered if the chocolate was made from such a bean.

I was surprised that there is a big difference between the bean’s taste.
It was so interesting for me.

In 2010s, “Chocolate Alchemy” – John Nancy from America starts to make
“Home made chocolate from scratch” .

I start to make homemade chocolate.
I lived a big house in Kyoto, so I could to make home made chocolate.
When I make chocolate, smells fill my home, so I think that I need
more big space to make chocolate.

When you come to Japan?

My colleague at Bangkok company was Japanese , I married her and came to Japan.
I thought that I  start the chocolate business as a side business.

First I think that I need a big space to make chocolate.

I rented here in September 2019.
And I bought instruments to make chocolate.
I was relaxed and prepared with considerable care.
I think it is important to make chocolate with good instruments.

Opened in June 2020,was ready by March. But COVID-19 comes.

I can’t visit Bangkok, which is where my company is located.

So I am concerned with my chocolate business. I think it is good timing for me.

Please tell me your shop’s motto.

First , people love chocolate.

Chocolate is fun, people can be closer with it.

And it can be enjoyed by anyone of a broad age unlike that of jewelry.

And I designed this shop as “Shop as experience”.

I think that “No communication, dead product”. I make chocolates and sell to customers directly.

It is most important to me.

It’s good for businesses that make many products in the big factory
and sell everywhere.
But there is no communication and it’s not “New”.
There are no innovations. It’s no meaning for me.

I make chocolates and sell it in hand .I can see the customers.

I think it is “New”.

It is important to communicate with the cacao farm.

I bought these cacao from a Nicaragua farm. I brought it from the Narita airport.

Cacao flavor differences each year.
If this year’s cacao was good, not all next year’s cacao are good.
So it is important to not mix cacao in different years.

I buy from the farm directory and buy with 2 or 3 times the price than
usual, I can get good cacao.

Why did you choose this area?

I can open my shop in an expensive area and sell chocolates at an
expensive price.

Or I can open my shop in a famous area and sell so many chocolates.

But, I would like to open my shop as a “Real chocolate shop cheerfully”.

You can eat chocolate ice cream for 290yen and buy chocolate bar for 380yen.

Neighborhoods can buy chocolates casually. I would like to make a
little candy shop.

I have an episode.

There is an elementary school up on the hill. Parents and children
come and order chocolate ice cream.

Parents worry.
“My little child doesn’t like such a real cacao taste? It tastes new
to a child?”

Children surprise on the first bite.
But they eat it all.

People love  real experience of taste.

Is there any idea of this area?

Tokyo is very unique because expensive area and inexpensive area is mixed.

It is separated completely in another country.

And I found that this area is a multinational area. Interesting.

Is there any favorite shop?

I thought about this and my favorite Japanese food shop around is probably onigiri kobo ”Bongo”.

I actually go there often to eat onigiri with Sujiko 🙂

And my favorite curry shop is “Yappari India” near Otsuka station.
I worked  Indian company in Holland,I ate real curry at that time.
Yappari India’s curry is the real taste of Northern India.

I was fascinated by the news of “Russian makes a chocolate shop in

This interview lays out an interesting story of Roman who has an
international and free mind.

I interviewed in English. I have poor English skills so I miss a lot
of information.

It was sad but sometimes I catch meaning without translating from
English to Japanese.

He speaks directly to my mind.

“No communication, dead product”.

I understand his motto “I want to make chocolate here and sell it to
customers directly with my story”.
It seems like it comes from a romantic and artistic mind, but it is
based on his business mind.

“Must communicate, new product” I noticed.

“Same in old Japan.”

Make and sell myself is an old style of shop in Japan too.

It’s old style but it’s “New”. I suspect that in my recent life. I agree.

At last, I would like to note his word which I decided this interview.

When I visited his shop for the first time and I said “In my image, chocolate is from Switzerland or Belgium”.

He said “There is no border for chocolate”.

I sensed his determination to bet his life for chocolate.
And he enjoys chocolate from his heart.

Cacao KOBO information

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