MALEBRANCHE is a popular confectionary in Kyoto, Japan, that specializes in making French-style desserts, cakes and biscuits that also take inspiration from Japanese tradition and culture. MALEBRANCHE was established in 1982; its name is derived from the French philosopher, Malebranche, since the company was inspired by the grocery stores, restaurants and cafes in Paris, France. In October of 2016, the company introduced a healthy gluten-free biscuit called “Mara CHA CHA” that uses powdered green tea to add flavor and a unique green coloration.


Healthy biscuits are becoming increasingly popular. Companies such as Stella Doro, Leibniz and Royal Dansk have made names for themselves by producing high-quality desserts that are intended to be served with coffee or tea. Yet Mara CHA CHA distinctive Japanese style differentiates it from the other offerings. The main ingredient in the biscuit is “koicha” which is a high quality “matcha” that holds great nutritional value. The antioxidants in matcha have been proven to help reduce the risk of heart disease, fight cancers, help burn calories and reduce aging. Matcha is also rich in the amino acid L-theanine which can assist people in focusing and reducing anxiety. The Maru CHA CHA biscuits also contain sesame oil, cocoa butter and rice flour.

They do not use animal fat and are gluten-free and can be served alone or with tea or coffee. Essentially, the Marua CHA CHA biscuit combines French confectionary techniques with heritage native to Kyoto.


“Matcha was born in Kyoto five-hundred years ago and has a history with the Sado tea ceremony which has a deep influence on Japanese culture,” explained Satoshi Isohata, the director at MALEBRANCHE.

Maru CHA CHA is also gluten-free, which is something that is well-known in the United States but not as recognized in Japan. As the gluten-free trend starts to seep into Asia, Mr. Isohata sees the popularity of the crunchy and crispy biscuit increasing. Yet the process of creating the biscuit takes time, which is why it tends to cost more than the average snack.

“We pay much attention to the timing and temperature when we bake Maru CHA CHA in order to maintain the matcha's beautiful green color,” Isohata stated. “It’s also all natural, which makes it a good supplement for health.”


Although Maru CHA CHA is the company’s most recent big news, they also offer a variety of other treats, with more than forty cakes, thirty different kinds of baked sweets and twenty-five types of chocolate. Their “cha no ka” sweets have been sold at Bon Marche in Paris and Dean & DeLuca in New York since 2010, and the company is aiming to expand its business globally. Mr. Isohata believes Maru CHA CHA will further MALEBRANCHE's successful entry into the U.S. market beyond New York City.

“Our mission is to bring Kyoto quality to the world and have people see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, and feel it,” added Isohata."People from all over the world come to Kyoto to see the Kiyomizu temple or Golden temple but we would like for them to also visit our MALEBRANCHE store which is a well-known and enjoyed bakery in Kyoto." At present, Marua CHA CHA is being offered in several high-end hotels and restaurants and will be featured at Dean & DeLuca in November. It is also being introduced in France.