Celebrating Japanese goût de terroir.


The hardest choices in life aren’t between what’s right and what’s wrong but between what’s right and what’s best. 

― Jamie Ford, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Seattle has a long, storied, beautiful, ugly history with the Japanese. Japanese immigrants settled in Seattle in the 1800s, working on the railroads, in the sawmills and canneries, and most importantly to me, cultivating Washington’s land, seeding this region’s culinary obsession. Most of Pike Place Market’s first produce vendors were Japanese farmers.

In [the] 1930s, Japanese farms contributed to around 75 percent of produce grown in the region. According to 1930 census, there were 523 Japanese farms in Washington state, which translated to about 13,000 acres. Japanese farmers occupied many of the 515 vendor stalls at Pike Place Market in 1939.
— Seattle Globalist

Seattle, for all its modern day passive progressiveness and “Black Lives Matter” advocacy, has its own unique stain of racism: Japanese internment camps during World War II, where thousands of Seattle’s Japanese residents were exiled, guilty by ancestry, American born or not. 

I’m ashamed to say that after almost 20 years of living in the greater Seattle area, I am just now delving into Seattle’s Japanese history. Inspired to learn more by our partnership with Binko, owner of KOBO, a wonderful Japanese gift shop where we’ve done a few popup shops and recently launched The Chocolate Bike™, the parallels between what’s happening now with Muslim immigrants and what happened then with the Japanese is unnerving. 


Binko also inspired us to create our first Limited Edition bar: 70% Camino Verde with Candied Yuzu Peel. Yuzu is a citrus native to Asia, with a flavor profile spanning mandarin orange, grapefruit, and lemon. This bar is for sale only online right now, with 10% from each bar donated to a local refugee organization

In honor of Seattle’s Japanese heritage, and to all immigrants who simply seek a better life in America or elsewhere, itadakimasu

Callie NeylanComment