Howl’s Moving Castle Steampunk inspired Bento lunchbox!

Steampunk Bento Box #shop

Steampunk Bento Box

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

I absolutely love the Japanese art of Kyaraben Bento boxes. A Bento box is basically a Japanese lunchbox containing a single meal. A Kyaraben is a character bento box where a chef or enthusiast has prepared the food to look like popular characters. They can be extremely elaborate and there are many tools available to help in their preparation (such as cutters or egg shapers).

While I have admired them from afar I have never attempted to make one, partially because I know nothing much about Japanese cuisine or cookery and partly because they just look too difficult! However I finally decided to take on the challenge, while adding my own spin (this isn’t an authentic or traditional Bento, just my take on it).

Pinterest Bento Boxes #shop

Pinterest Bento Boxes

My favourite place to visit for inspiration is Pinterest and this page in particular has some awe inspiring designs. I’m a huge Studio Ghibli fan (if you do not know their movies you’re missing out!) and I immediately gravitated towards the Totoro designed Bento.

Anna The Red #shop

Anna The Red

This was designed and created by Bento blogger Anna the Red. Aside from a whole collection of Bento images, she also includes several brilliant tutorials if you’d like to give this art form a try.

With my research done I headed down to Sainsbury’s to do my shopping, you can see how I got on and failed (there was no sushi rice!) here.

I didn’t want to copy any of the Bento boxes I’d seen, because they weren’t my designs. Despite my lack of experience I assumed I’d be alright trying out my own idea; I’m not overly convinced this turned out to be true but I’ll let you judge that later. I wanted to make a Bento inspired by another Studio Ghibli film ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’. The story has quite a steampunk design throughout, so rather than make an individual character I decided to make a Steampunk Bento box. I wanted to make a mechanical heart complete with cogs, pipes and wheels.

Edible key and pipework #shop

Edible key and pipework

Edible pipework

I couldn’t work out how to make pipework in a Japanese style, so instead I made Cheese Straws! Obviously this is not authentic Bento but they worked. I rolled them out as you would normal cheese straws but instead of cutting and twisting I used a knife to cut out ‘C’ shapes to make my pipes. Once cooled I used a little edible Gold lustre to make them more metallic in appearance. I also made a key shape out of the cheese straw mixture.

Edible Cogs and wheels #shop

Edible Cogs and wheels

Cogs & Wheels

For my cogs and wheels I cut out Leerdammer cheese, radishes, ham and cucumbers. I thought they looked quite sweet 🙂

Rice Heart #shop

Rice Heart


The heart was made from cooked and cooled rice, moulded by hand in cling film. I sort of wish I’d added some colouring to the rice but I didn’t think of this until afterwards.

Steampunk Bento Box #shop

Steampunk Bento Box

The Finished Bento

I lined my box with lettuce before assembling the various parts. As a creative person with a somewhat perfectionist personality, it’s always my intention to strive to improve and I can’t wait to give Kyaraben another try soon! For a first attempt I don’t think I did too badly.

Steampunk Bento Box #shop

Steampunk Bento Box

La Maison Du Chocolat Summer Collection Review

After my recent visit to La Maison Du Chocolat in Piccadilly, I was fortunate to bring away a box of the new Summer Collection. Called ‘Chiberta’ it promises to take you on a tongue tingling ride to the Basque country in France. The birthplace of La Maison Du Chocolat founder Robert Linxe, it is also the first place in France that Cacao arrived in 1609. The collection is very beautifully designed with a wonderful watercolour painting of the Basque country adorning the box.

Each box of Chiberta contains 5 different varieties of chocolates. As I’m sure you can imagine it wasn’t much of a chore testing out the various flavours, but I shall do my best to describe each variety in detail.

First I tried the one and only Milk Chocolate in the box, called ‘Eztia’ it is a Milk Chocolate filled with a Basque Honey Ganache. Beautifully smooth milk chocolate covers a strong and intense honey ganache. The honey is thick whilst retaining movement, it made me think of a quality manuka honey. The honey flavour is heavy and rich with delicate floral tones. Somewhat reminiscent of a good Heather Honey.

Next in the box came ‘Txokolate Lluna’ a dark chocolate bonbon. The scent of this chocolate is heaven itself, the kind of amazing Cocoa scent that radiates from a luxurious cake batter before baking. The bonbon is rich with a lightly malty taste and intense smoky after tones. The taste lingers tantalisingly on your tongue.

‘Praline Macaron’ is next in line. An amazingly silky praline lies at the centre of this gorgeous bonbon with crunchy slivers of chocolate macaron. An intense chocolate tempered by the delightful crisp almond tones, not heavy but delicate and with a quality flavour.

‘Almond Paste with Patxaran’ this ganache chocolate tastes almost like the worlds most refined and delicate marzipan. Lightly touched by Patxaran liqueur (a liqueur of blackthorn berries macerated in anise alcohol) it leaves a delightful flavour upon your tongue. Despite being a part of the summer collection, this would be a wonderful flavour at Christmastime.

‘Espeletako Piperra’ instantly you are drawn into this bonbon by the delicate and soft Espelette chilli pepper. A sweetness radiates first, followed by a warm spicy after tone that will linger beautifully on your palate. The pepper serves to intensify and amplify the amazingly rich dark chocolate.

Would I recommend this product?

Without a doubt, it’s a wonderful collection. It would make a fantastic gift, but I doubt you’d be able to part with them. It’s been my favourite chocolate collection I have tried so far this year.

Can it be improved in anyway?

I will be very sad to see this collection go after the summer, I would love to see some of the chocolates become a permanent fixture at La Maison Du Chocolat.


Available to purchase at boutiques and online at


Box of 10 Chocolates £12.00

Box of 30 Chocolates £33.00