a modern interpretation
Deux Cranes is an artisanal chocolate brand, handcrafted in Los Gatos by French-trained chocolatier Michiko Marron-Kibbey and designed by creative director Ayaka B. Ito as a nod to their Japanese heritage and the flavors of their youth. Since 2018, we have been intentionally creating each product with pride and remarkable attention to detail, sourcing many ingredients from travels to Japan and Japanese markets in the U.S.
With signature flavors including Vegan Matcha Almond with Yuzu and Milk Chocolate with Ginger, Sesame and Buckwheat and a rotating seasonal selection of offerings, Deux Cranes is intended to highlight the beautiful food cultures of Japan and France from both a product and aesthetic viewpoint. In addition to geometrically designed chocolate bars, the Deux Cranes product portfolio includes a variety of meticulously constructed bon bons, shortbread, and caramels with flavors such as miso and Japanese pepper.
Through Deux Cranes, we hope to create a modern interpretation of the traditional Japanese philosophy of taking the time to appreciate the little things that make life so full.
MICHIKO MARRON-KIBBEY • マロン・キビー美智子
— CHOCOLATIER & FOUNDER
A fourth generation Japanese-American, Michiko Marron-Kibbey grew up traveling the world, surrounded by a mix of cultures that years later have informed her creative practice in the art of chocolate. Now, through Deux Cranes, she is living her dream connecting people through her culturally inspired craft.
During her formative years spent in Japan, Marron-Kibbey developed an appreciation for food — anchored by the communal aspect that surrounds it. Growing up in a family of many cultures, Marron-Kibbey drew inspiration from her grandmother who continuously experimented with flavors and saw cooking for others as one of the truest ways to express her love. While her recipes weren’t always successful, it was all part of the process in making those around her happy.
Throughout her childhood, Marron-Kibbey absorbed the Japanese way of taking the time to honor each object, whether it be fruit at the neighborhood food stall or the artistically arranged bento boxes she admired.
As an adult, she followed her childhood dreams and love of food and in 2015 she and her husband Philip decided to pack up everything they owned, give up their careers in Washington, D.C. and pursue their passions of pastry and wine in the city of possibility, Paris. The move took two years of hard work and saving, but in 2017 Marron-Kibbey attended the internationally recognized Ferrandi and later worked at Mori Yoshida, a Franco-Japanese pastry and chocolate shop in the 7th Arrondissement.
Upon returning to the U.S., Marron-Kibbey immediately put herself to work conceptualizing Deux Cranes, inspired by her childhood tradition rooted in Japanese culture of folding paper cranes to make a wish. After turning that vision into reality and spending the past several years in San Diego, Marron-Kibbey is now anchored in Los Gatos where she thoughtfully handcrafts each product with an inherent passion for her artistic craft. Through Deux Cranes, Marron-Kibbey honors the traditions of her past and draws inspiration from her own diverse background while celebrating the blended cultures that continue to enrich her life and the lives of those around her.
AYAKA B. ITO • 伊藤 B. 綾香
— CREATIVE DIRECTOR & PARTNER
As Creative Director and Partner, Ayaka B. Ito conceptualizes and brings all branding and visual aspects to life for Deux Cranes.
Born and raised in Kawasaki, Japan, Ayaka grew up speaking Japanese and English, influenced by her parents who had an affinity towards 80s American culture through Hollywood movies. Throughout her childhood, she developed an appreciation for design by admiring the beautiful food packages sold at Depachika (the underground department stores food halls) of Tokyo, including individually packaged confectionery that resembled pieces of jewel.
During the 2000s, through the revival of Japanese dagashi (penny candies), many pop-up stores opened, resembling the look of the Shōwa period (from the 1950s to the early 1980s). She further fell in love with branding and packaging design after seeing how it could create such iconic looks and everlasting childhood nostalgia that transcended generations—from her mother's to her grandmother's childhood.
In 2005, Ito left Japan to study graphic design and pursue her childhood dream of creating meaningful brands and experiences in the confectionery world. Now based in NYC, she has been helping bring global brands to life for the past decade by elevating visuals with refined craftsmanship and thoughtful attention to detail.
Ito and Marron-Kibbey went to high school together in Yokohama, Japan where they initially bonded over a love of movies, manga, art exhibits in Tokyo, and weekend meals at TGI Friday's restaurants. When the opportunity to collaborate via Deux Cranes came up in 2018, Ayaka offered her talents to elevate and beautify Deux Cranes in immeasurable ways.
She leads the creative development of Deux Cranes’ holistic visual identity and packaging experience to embrace a modern interpretation of traditional Japanese culture and their childhood memories, from origami to classic kimono patterns they wore growing up.