Seems that no matter how old I get, there is always a soft spot in my heart for Totoro, a mythical woodland creature from a Japanese anime. For those not knowing what I’m talking, I’m talking perhaps one of the greatest anime movies of all time. For a primer, I encourage you to read this and buy this so you can fully grasp the awesomeness of what you are about to see/read.
High in the mountains of central Taiwan, a little known chocolate factory is churning some of the cutest looking macarons we have ever seen. Literally, this place is out in the middle of nowhere. Located somewhere in between Taichung and Hualien, Nina de Chocolate(Nina巧克力工坊) exists to not only impart delicious looking treats into our stomachs, but also separate us from our hard earned money. But yo, I don’t really care. If anything, I’m ready to scream at them like an Apple fanboy and demand that they take my money.
Nina de Chocolate is around Cingjing Farms, a tourist farm out in the boonies where people can come and touch sheep and check out the naturally greenery. I’m assuming the sheep touching part is optional, but really, the main attraction is Nina’s amazing ability to crank out some of the most creative and cutest chocolate confections this side of the Mississippi.
Adorable gray macarons that are articulately molded and decorated to resemble a stoic grey Totoro.
Also comes in the white Totoro version. All versions of the macarons come filled with a rose salt(?) mixed with sweet sesame butter that is imported from Normandy. No word on whether the Normandy version beats out the Fresno, California version but I’m betting four out of five people can’t tell the difference.
The area that this chocolatier is located in has become much more developed in the last couple of years. Whereas Cingjing was once a pure agrarian community known for its high mountain vegetables(veggies grown at altitude). Cingjing has not only a farm, but a few hostels, hotels and minsu’s that cater to weekend tourists from all around Taiwan.
None the less, if given the chance we would totally check this spot out. If you do, let us know and tell us if we are totally missing out!