New Los Gatos chocolate shop, Deux Cranes, specializes in Japanese- and French-inspired confections – Silicon Valley
Michiko Marron-Kibbey is an artist who works primarily in chocolate, though she dabbles in caramel too.
Her influences? Japan and France.
Her gallery? It’s the aptly named Deux Cranes, a new confectionary in Los Gatos.
Marron-Kibbey has moved to the Bay Area from San Diego, where just a few years ago she launched the wholesale and online venture inspired by her Japanese heritage and her French training — and named the business for the Japanese tradition of folding paper cranes for good luck.
“A lot of our customers who have been to Japan or France, or desire to go or have a link to those places feel a connection to my products, and that is so incredibly special,” she says on her website.
This is her first brick-and-mortar. The shop’s opening brings high-end artisanal chocolate back to the Downing Center, located on the Los Gatos-San Jose border, where longtime tenant the Chocolate Dream Box closed in May 2020.
A native of Palo Alto and a fourth-generation Japanese-American, Marron-Kibbey spent many of her formative years in Japan. She and her husband moved to France in 2015 to pursue their passions (pastry in her case, wine in his). After her formal training at the acclaimed Ferrandi in Paris, she honed her skills at Mori Yoshida, a Franco-Japanese pastry and chocolate shop in the 7th Arrondissement.
The Los Gatos confections, hand-crafted on-site with chocolate sourced from France, include jewel-like bonbons and architecturally structured chocolate bars, as well as caramels both sweet and savory. A 2020 gift guide by the San Diego Union Tribune highlighted her handcrafted $12 chocolate bars infused with such flavors as yuzu, miso, candied ginger and buckwheat.
Marron-Kibbey describes her Matcha Chocolate with Caramelized Sesame bar as “like a matcha latte, but better.” For this bar she mixes finely ground Japanese green tea with white chocolate, then blends in white sesame seeds that have been both caramelized and toasted for extra crunch.
The caramels come in a sophisticated array of flavors: Cream Caramels with Sake, Earl Grey Caramels, Salted Caramels and Miso-Japanese Pepper Caramels.
The Valentine’s bonbon quartet contains a Pistachio Rose, Dark Chocolate Vanilla, Strawberry Caramel and Dark Chocolate Strawberry.
Special Valentine’s Day hours — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Sunday — have been added for the holiday. Otherwise, the shop is open those hours Tuesday through Saturday.
Details: 15531 Union Ave., Los Gatos; www.deuxcranes.com