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Japanese pastry vs French pastry

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#61 bleudauvergne

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 04:42 AM

They are flat and insipid, no taste. They look the same. There is not much creativity there. It does not suit my tastes. I do not expect French pastries to suit the Japanese tastes.

Another thing is that I can't say that saying that Japanese pastries all tasting insipid or tasting the same is really valid in this discussion - come now, lets get some specific details with points of comparison if you want to mention it at all - so we can judge if the comparison is really a comparison with a common base or if it's just a singular opinion. Imagine, for example, if I said "Oh French food all that butter and fat - it's just like bathing in a grease pit". If a person said that, we'd take into consideration that they had already made up their mind about it and trying to discuss specifics would not bring out much further detail or contribution. Can we agree on that?

#62 Ptipois

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 04:45 AM

Have you tried the more common versions of French style Japanese pastries?

They are flat and insipid, no taste. They look the same. There is not much creativity there. It does not suit my tastes. I do not expect French pastries to suit the Japanese tastes.

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Well, we're no longer discussing national styles anymore but competence and price ranges. The more common versions of French-style pastry in France, or of any pastry anywhere, are not great either. Pâtisserie is a fragile art. As for creativity I'll skip the subject because I don't think the notion goes well with pastry-making.

#63 puccaland

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 12:37 PM

bleudauvergne wrote:

"So what you're saying is that there's a difference in the general tradition of the pastry and the role it plays in family life. In Japan, the French style pastry also involves its presentation in a venue that excludes other types of food, focusing on the act of enjoying the pastry in a certain environment like a tea room, whereas in France the shops generally tend to produce cakes and pastries for people to take home and enjoy at home in the context of a home situation. Of course some of the pâtissiers-chocolatiers in France do have tea rooms but many do not. Why is this?"

I don't know. Pastries and viennoisery have defenitly a social importance in France. Eating viennoisery everyday is like a ritual. In Japan in my impression Western Style pastries are more for the image and the originality and maybe as many things from Western countries for prestige. But about Japanese traditional cakes they have their cultural significance too. For example the little okashi we eat while drinking ocha, the special okashi we eat during matsuri, special day etc...

"I have to disagree on this point, the desserts served in high class restaurants (well the ones that serve multi course menus here in France) have in my experience been much more sweet and rich than the desserts sold in the neighborhood places for home consumption. They also tend to serve copious amounts if you consider what is normally served for dessert in addition to whatever they serve with coffee. It can be a lot, and extremely sweet. "

First of all I hope you do not include viennoisery in your comparison (just to make it clear). In high class restaurant you'll find many cakes you don't find in casual bakeries. So to make a good comparison we should compare with same products.
Give me an example I'll go to see. Also the comparison must be made with true traditional bakeries. New bakeries cakes tend to be with less sugar for the reason we talked about before.

"I would love to here more about the Japanese kinds of pastry and maybe see some pictures? What is Kasutera? Just to have a context."

Kasutera or Castera, some people talked about it here. This cake I heard is a speciality of Nagasaki. There is many forms. I think people said it appeared when the Portugish entered the country. I found a link.

http://home.att.ne.j...7/kasutera.html

I can't eat it in huge quantity but I love Suzu Kasutera. The cake is made with the shape of bells and the taste is less stronger than the taste of the classic Kasutera cake.

"Thank you very much puccaland for your insight, having had some experience with both Japanese and French pastry. Very happy to see you here, puccaland. "

Thank you very much and nice to meet you.

Ptipois wrote

"since butter never ruins taste. It is a vector of taste. "

What you say is quite nonsense. When you put too much an ingredient , it tends to lead to saturation and ruin the general taste. Exactly what you say about sugar. Also it depends on the quality of the butter. Something interesting, the butter found in Viennoisery is the same found in low quality sandwich breads in Japan. Usually you can find 6 or 8 slices for 100 or 160 yen. If you want better quality without this taste of butter, prices start at 300 yen for 6 slices. Anyway I was just reacting to the point about too much butter. Japan is the only country when you can smell butter emanate from a paquet of sandwich bread whereas you are 50 cm away from it. That is why I was surprised about what was said here.

bleudauvergne wrote

"Another thing is that I can't say that saying that Japanese pastries all tasting insipid or tasting the same is really valid in this discussion -"

I was only talking about common pastries you can find everywhere for "reasonnable price" in a Japanese context, or at some "salons de the". I don't talk about high class hotels etc....I think to have a good view of what is food in a country you must have a look on what common people eat everyday and not on special course you can find in special places. As for French pastries I will much more talk about the common pastries we eat everyday that about all that Herme, Fauchon, La Grande Epicerie, Ducasse stuff etc...

Ptipois wrote

"The more common versions of French-style pastry in France, or of any pastry anywhere, are not great either. "

If we base on the average, the only reason to tell to people to come to France to eat cakes is just the quality-price ratio that is still good compared to other countries even if I am very sad to pay 0.90 euros (130 yen) for a Chocolate pan whereas it was 0.37 euros 15 years agos for a better quality. That can be cheaper elsewhere but this chocolate pan has very good quality though.

Now I think everybody agree to say the quality is decreasing so if you don't know where to buy the good ones, in the case of Japan they're better stay there paying more for the same quality or even better. Now there are pastries we don't find yet there, maybe in specialized high class places only. So a Gourmet trip can still be in the agenda.

#64 Ptipois

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 01:38 PM

What you say is quite nonsense.

Whoa, easy friend. I don't think I wrote any nonsense.

When you put too much an ingredient , it tends to lead to saturation and ruin the general taste. Exactly what you say about sugar.

No, all ingredients have their specificities and the effects of too much sugar are not comparable to the effects of too much butter. As a baker you should know what I mean.
When I make a pâte brisée for apple tart with notably more butter than the original recipe asks for, the pâte brisée is not ruined. It is lighter, crispier and much tastier. If I put too much sugar in any pastry, it is plain ruined, period.

Also it depends on the quality of the butter. Something interesting, the butter found in Viennoisery is the same found in low quality sandwich breads in Japan. Usually you can find 6 or 8 slices for 100 or 160 yen. If you want better quality without this taste of butter, prices start at 300 yen for 6 slices. Anyway I was just reacting to the point about too much butter. Japan is the only country when you can smell butter emanate from a paquet of sandwich bread whereas you are 50 cm away from it. That is why I was surprised about what was said here.

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This sounds strange. Are we really referring to real butter or to "butter taste"? Even with an "excess" of butter in a Norman brioche (can there be an excess of butter in a brioche? I'm not sure), you won't be able to smell it at a distance if it's wrapped in plastic. That must be some butter indeed.
Recently I bought some Hokkaido butter in a Bangkok supermarket and I didn't notice any difference with French butter of average quality. It was very mild.

Edited to add that a butter smell that you can feel steps away is no good sign. In French viennoiserie chains specializing in brioches and the like, a strong artificial "butter" smell is used (sprayed about the shop or whatever means they use) in order to reproduce (caricaturate, in a way) the smell of warm brioche out of the oven and attract the customers. That smell is not based on butter. True warm butter smell emanating from a bakery is more subtle, it is more like Indian ghee and doesn't particularly spread miles around.

Edited by Ptipois, 19 March 2006 - 01:43 PM.


#65 chefzadi

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 02:37 PM

Have you tried the more common versions of French style Japanese pastries?

They are flat and insipid, no taste. They look the same. There is not much creativity there. It does not suit my tastes. I do not expect French pastries to suit the Japanese tastes.

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Well, we're no longer discussing national styles anymore but competence and price ranges. The more common versions of French-style pastry in France, or of any pastry anywhere, are not great either. Pâtisserie is a fragile art. As for creativity I'll skip the subject because I don't think the notion goes well with pastry-making.

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Well, I don't have the time to sit around nitpicking with you.


The common versions are more indicative of National style than the "haute" ones.
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#66 Ptipois

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 02:56 PM

The common versions are more indicative of National style than the "haute" ones.

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Sorry for nitpicking, but this is a strange idea.

#67 chefzadi

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 03:06 PM

The common versions are more indicative of National style than the "haute" ones.

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Sorry for nitpicking, but this is a strange idea.

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Not really.
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#68 Ptipois

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 04:13 PM

OK, let me rephrase :biggrin:

In what way could "common versions", in this case of French-style Japanese pastry, be more representative of the "national style" (in this case Japanese), however this national style may be defined, than the more upgrade versions of the same style (Japanese French-style pastry), given the fact that we've already stated that those upgrade versions are different in quality from their equivalents in France?

Or, more simply, why should "common" be more representative of the country than "upscale" in general? Between a poularde demi-deuil and a bœuf-carottes, whichever my preference goes to, I'm not going to label the former more or less representative of the national style than the latter, or vice versa.

The present matter is complicated by the fact that we're dealing with the Japanese interpretation of a non-Japanese pastry style. But even then, the question asking why should upscale be less "Japanese" than lower-scale remains pertinent.

#69 puccaland

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Posted 20 March 2006 - 03:03 PM

ptipois wrote

First of all someone sent me a private message about my use of the word "nonsense". I guess ptipois understood my meanings and that there wasn't any aggressivness in my use of this word. It's just my English that is poor so I can't feel all the sense. Well my apologize if someone was hurt by that word.

"When I make a pâte brisée for apple tart with notably more butter than the original recipe asks for, the pâte brisée is not ruined. It is lighter, crispier and much tastier. If I put too much sugar in any pastry, it is plain ruined, period."

We are playing on the meaning of "too much". All is relative.

If you put too much butter in your Crepe, it is ruines. There is not the taste of the Crepe anymore but the taste of butter only, all become greasy and anyway your pate is spoiled.
As for everything all depends on the quantity.

"This sounds strange. Are we really referring to real butter or to "butter taste"?"

I don't think so because before to be a problem of smell it's a problem of taste. If someone in Japan could tell us. This kind of butter I also remember it in Butter tubes. But I tried only once so maybe I make a mistake.

"Or, more simply, why should "common" be more representative of the country than "upscale" in general? Between a poularde demi-deuil and a bœuf-carottes, whichever my preference goes to, I'm not going to label the former more or less representative of the national style than the latter, or vice versa."

Because a common style, as the definition of the word common says, shows someting general, spread out, that everybody use. You can't describe a country only by special things that don't concern the majority of people. For example you go to a place where food is disgusting in general, well in that place there is a high class hotel where food is just amazing. That's great but this hotel doesn't represent the reality of this place. In a company most of employees eat average food, top class managers eat haute cuisine. Can we say the food in this company is haute cuisine? Anyway we can't generalize basing on a specific and exceptionnal thing (how many people eat everyday in high class places?).
In Japan Sushi are not something we eat everyday. But Westerners think that way so you will only find Sushi restaurant abroad as the representation of Japanese Food. Although Japanese Food is not only sushi, sashimi, ramen, yakitori, katsudon and teriyaki, .....okonomiyaki for the luckier of us. Japanese food is far more diversified. As French people don't eat foie gras everyday as may think some people that have only this image of French food showed in high class places.

Edited by puccaland, 20 March 2006 - 03:13 PM.


#70 Ptipois

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 12:53 AM

I guess ptipois understood my meanings and that there wasn't any aggressivness in my use of this word. It's just my English that is poor so I can't feel all the sense. Well my apologize if someone was hurt by that word.

Apologies accepted, but I hadn't sensed any agressivity. Only that you failed to accept a pretty obvious fact and expressed your disapproval a bit brutally.

"When I make a pâte brisée for apple tart with notably more butter than the original recipe asks for, the pâte brisée is not ruined. It is lighter, crispier and much tastier. If I put too much sugar in any pastry, it is plain ruined, period."

We are playing on the meaning of "too much". All is relative.

Of course. Which is exactly why I wrote that, on the subject of pastry or viennoiserie, you cannot put an excess of sugar and an excess of butter on the same level of nuisance. Chic modern French pastry suffers from an excess of goo and sugar. Old-fashioned pastry and viennoiserie as I remember them weren't suffering from butter, even if butter was oozing from them. Whoever is familiar with kouign-amann or picard "gâteau battu", for instance, knows that more butter is necessarily better. Sugar and butter are not equivalent as ingredients and their economy is different.

If you put too much butter in your Crepe, it is ruines. There is not the taste of the Crepe anymore but the taste of butter only, all become greasy and anyway your pate is spoiled.
As for everything all depends on the quantity.

Crêpes, OK, but that's a definite example. In viennoiserie for instance that parcimony doesn't apply in the same way.

I don't think so because before to be a problem of smell it's a problem of taste. If someone in Japan could tell us. This kind of butter I also remember it in Butter tubes. But I tried only once so maybe I make a mistake.

I tend to think that butter that behaves the way you describe it must be an unusual butter indeed. Excess butter may exist in French viennoiserie, but it is not that smelly.

Because a common style, as the definition of the word common says, shows someting general, spread out, that everybody use. You can't describe a country only by special things that don't concern the majority of people. For example you go to a place where food is disgusting in general, well in that place there is a high class hotel where food is just amazing. That's great but this hotel doesn't represent the reality of this place. In a company most of employees eat average food, top class managers eat haute cuisine. Can we say the food in this company is haute cuisine? Anyway we can't generalize basing on a specific and exceptionnal thing (how many people eat everyday in high class places?).

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This is getting a bit too complicated and straying from the point. Let's get back to the basics and the true matter of the discussion. I was stating that if a national cuisine may be defined by a scale of quality/luxury/rarity — whatever, there is no reason why the fancier aspects and upper part of that scale should be deemed less typical of the national style than the lower ones. Is kaiseki less Japanese than tonkatsu? Leaving aside the fact, of course, that "national style" is a complex subject indeed and can't be defined or detailed easily. In the case of Japanese French-style pastry, some people here agreed that the examples they had tasted seemed lighter, better, more taste-balanced and more refined than their equivalents in France. Personally, I agree with that. Now whether that was "upper-scale" or not doesn't change the fact that we are definitely dealing with an aspect of Japanese touch, style and savoir-faire there. The existence of lower-quality pastries, which is certainly an evidence, won't change that.

Edited by Ptipois, 21 March 2006 - 12:56 AM.


#71 puccaland

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 07:18 AM

This is getting a bit too complicated and straying from the point. Let's get back to the basics and the true matter of the discussion. I was stating that if a national cuisine may be defined by a scale of quality/luxury/rarity — whatever, there is no reason why the fancier aspects and upper part of that scale should be deemed less typical of the national style than the lower ones. Is kaiseki less Japanese than tonkatsu? Leaving aside the fact, of course, that "national style" is a complex subject indeed and can't be defined or detailed easily. In the case of Japanese French-style pastry, some people here agreed that the examples they had tasted seemed lighter, better, more taste-balanced and more refined than their equivalents in France. Personally, I agree with that. Now whether that was "upper-scale" or not doesn't change the fact that we are definitely dealing with an aspect of Japanese touch, style and savoir-faire there. The existence of lower-quality pastries, which is certainly an evidence, won't change that.

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Defenitly it has importance. Even if upper scale cuisine is a part of French cuisine, you can't talk about French cuisine only refering to that. For many reason, it's different from common cuisine (you will find nowhere else the association with chocolate and salmon or duck), and very few people eat such cuisine. It's as if I talked about French wine only talking about Margaux, Pauillac, St Emilion etc...yes it's French wine but it's only part of French wine.

#72 Ptipois

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 02:34 PM

Defenitly it has importance. Even if upper scale cuisine is a part of French cuisine, you can't talk about French cuisine only refering to that. For many reason, it's different from common cuisine (you will find nowhere else the association with chocolate and salmon or duck), and very few people eat such cuisine. It's as if I talked about French wine only talking about Margaux, Pauillac, St Emilion etc...yes it's French wine but it's only part of French wine.

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You are right, obviously, but none of this is the point. The scale is not a pertinent element in our discussion.The point is: is it possible to consider the superior quality of some Japanese French-style pastry, no matter its "scale", as compared to French pastry in France — a superior quality that has been noticed and described by some, inclulding myself — a manifestation of Japanese skill, refinement, creativity and savoir-faire? Or not? If not, what is it a manifestation of? So you see we're back at the start. And bringing up the argument that there are indeed "bad" French-style pastries in Japan is irrelevant because it doesn't change the fact that part of the national production is indeed of super-high quality. Trying to argue that it is not particularly Japanese isn't very convincing, since it is notably better than its French equivalent.

#73 sanrensho

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 02:53 PM

You are right, obviously, but none of this is the point. The scale is not a pertinent element in our discussion.The point is: is it possible to consider the superior quality of some Japanese French-style pastry, no matter its "scale", as compared to French pastry in France


One thing is for sure: As foodies, it is far more interesting to compare the "best" that each country has to offer, rather than to compare different levels of mediocrity.

I have yet to see anyone define what is "common" pastry in Japan. What exactly are we talking about? Product sold in chain stores like Fujiya and Cozy Corner? Cakes sold in supermarkets and convenience stores? Product sold in neigbourhood cake shops?
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#74 Ptipois

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 09:54 PM

One thing is for sure: As foodies, it is far more interesting to compare the "best" that each country has to offer, rather than to compare different levels of mediocrity.

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Exactly. :smile:

#75 puccaland

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 06:43 AM

You are right, obviously, but none of this is the point. The scale is not a pertinent element in our discussion.The point is: is it possible to consider the superior quality of some Japanese French-style pastry, no matter its "scale", as compared to French pastry in France


One thing is for sure: As foodies, it is far more interesting to compare the "best" that each country has to offer, rather than to compare different levels of mediocrity.

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That is why I insist on this matter. It's not because it's called "High class food" that it's the best that the country has to offer. You can eat better at home that in some high class restaurants etc....

#76 sanrensho

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 12:24 PM

That is why I insist on this matter. It's not because it's called "High class food" that it's the best that the country has to offer. You can eat better at home that in some high class restaurants etc....

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This seems like a hopeless generalization. While it is certainly true that some things are better made at home or purchased through "common" outlets, it is equally true that other things are best made by purveyors at the top of their game.

For instance, I would not want to compare a homemade kasutera cake, or even cheap supermarket kasutera, against some of the top brands in Japan. In this case, the high-end brand is certainly more representative of the product and recognized by the general population as the "standard."

In other words, I don't think you can generalize what is more "common" or "representative" except on a case-by-case basis. Regardless, I still find it more interesting to compare top patisseries rather than Western pastries at the bottom or middle end of the spectrum. Besides, it's a pointless comparison to make when discussing Western pastries. Japan has nowhere near the history or tradition of Western pastries, so it is completely unreasonable to expect the same level of quality as in France, except at the upper end of the spectrum.

Also, I consider the price issue irrelevant. The plain and simple fact is that living costs are higher in Japan, which extends to the cost of pastries.

Edited by sanrensho, 23 March 2006 - 12:30 PM.

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#77 Pan

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 02:36 PM

My exposure to Japanese European-influenced pastries has been at Beard Papa in New York. How does that fit into this discussion, if at all?

#78 sanrensho

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 02:54 PM

Puccaland, as a point of reference, could you please post some links (if any) to what you would consider everyday, neighborhood ("non-trendy") patisseries in Paris?

I'd be interested in seeing what most of the French population eats outside of the well-known boutiques.
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#79 bleudauvergne

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 04:18 PM

This evening I heard the announcement on the national news here in France:

Mari Tanaka, chef chef pâtissière of Alan Ducasse's Plaza Athénée has won the French dessert championship held today. The young Japanese woman, who has been working in the restaurant for two years, won the competition with her "Crousti-fondant aux agrumes et sirop d'érable" (citrus and maple syrup 'crousti-fondant').

#80 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 06:31 PM

The world is shrinking and we should probably get used to it. Some half dozen years ago we visited a very small village (read: no gas station, no tourist shop, no general store, larders dependent on weekly market some very long 10 km away). We spent several days in this village in order to enjoy its only claim to fame, the annual lavender fair.

We stayed in the French version of a B&B, enjoyed several excellent dinners there, prepared by a Japanese cook as well as the more linguistic Japanese pastry chef. Understand that this was not a Michelin recognized place, but a very humble inn. Meals, as I remember, cost around $20. for 4 courses, wine included. The food was traditional French Haute Provence.

That Ducasse would recognize talent regardless of its origin should be no surprise.
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#81 puccaland

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 11:53 AM

Sanrensho wrote

"Puccaland, as a point of reference, could you please post some links (if any) to what you would consider everyday, neighborhood ("non-trendy") patisseries in Paris?"

Are you kidding? I don't think traditional artisans have websites. The only place you could find them on the web is probably the Yellow Pages. What you are asking is the same as to ask for the website of the Tabacco shop of the corner.

Well about "you eat better at home", I talked about people that know how to cook of course.
Anyway ask to chiefs where they learnt to cook....it's not at school. People who know how to cook properly don't have nothing to envy from chiefs. I am talking in term of quality and good meal. Now what the chiefs make and what common people make is different in term of preparation, presentation etc....You can even go to a restaurant where you pay 200$/course, you're not sure to eat better than in some houses.

#82 sanrensho

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 10:39 AM

Are you kidding? I don't think traditional artisans have websites.


Sure they do. But perhaps not in France nor among French patisseries. Which is why I asked. It doesn't hurt to ask, does it?

Well about "you eat better at home", I talked about people that know how to cook of course.


I still don't see the point of this generalization, especially as it applies pastries. Some things are made well at home, and some things are made well by dedicated pros working in a professional pastry kitchen who make the same pastries day in and day out. And, yes, this even applies to people that "know how to cook."

Let's just agree to disagree on this point.
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#83 puccaland

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 01:49 PM

Are you kidding? I don't think traditional artisans have websites.


Sure they do. But perhaps not in France nor among French patisseries. Which is why I asked. It doesn't hurt to ask, does it?

Well about "you eat better at home", I talked about people that know how to cook of course.


I still don't see the point of this generalization, especially as it applies pastries. Some things are made well at home, and some things are made well by dedicated pros working in a professional pastry kitchen who make the same pastries day in and day out. And, yes, this even applies to people that "know how to cook."

Let's just agree to disagree on this point.

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Actually I am not generalizing. What I am trying to say, according to the point that "we are talking about high class stuff because it's better to compare with the best of a country" is that it's not because it's labelled "high class" that it's the best the country has to offer. The point in this discussion was Pastry in general in Japan and in France, it wasn't a discussion about high class pastry I guess. Justly about Pastry (I don't know about Japan) it was said that what you find at Fauchon etc...that are called "Pastry of luxury" are maybe more expensive but not better than what you can find at some traditional bakeries that are the places where the whole majority of French people go to buy pastries.
About food in general what is made in high class restaurant, that concerns so many few people, doesn't represent at all French food in general. Good example were showed before.
So assuming that wa can talk about French food only talking about what we eat in high class restaurants is just irrelevant (I found a better word than "nonsense"). In all meals eaten in France only 12% are eaten outside home, (compared to some countries where people eat more outside), all kind of restaurant included (Fast Food, traditional, high class, middle, industrial etc...) I didn't have time to find the rate of meals eaten in high class restaurants but let's assume it's very low. So talking about generalization, I can't understand we're talking about a minority to describe a global fact.
That is why my first intervention here...what are we talking about?

Now to compare French pastries to Japanese ones, ok if you compare pastries of the same scales. But to compare French technic to the Japanese one, I guess it's more accurate to talk about the global technic than to the special and sometimes exceptional things we can find in high class places.

#84 Ptipois

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 05:15 PM

Actually I am not generalizing. What I am trying to say, according to the point that "we are talking about high class stuff because it's better to compare with the best of a country" is that it's not because it's labelled "high class" that it's the best the country has to offer. The point in this discussion was Pastry in general in Japan and in France, it wasn't a discussion about high class pastry I guess. Justly about Pastry (I don't know about Japan) it was said that what you find at Fauchon etc...that are called "Pastry of luxury" are maybe more expensive but not better than what you can find at some traditional bakeries that are the places where the whole majority of French people go to buy pastries.
About food in general what is made in high class restaurant, that concerns so many few people, doesn't represent at all French food in general. Good example were showed before.
So assuming that wa can talk about French food only talking about what we eat in high class restaurants is just irrelevant (I found a better word than "nonsense"). In all meals eaten in France only 12% are eaten outside home, (compared to some countries where people eat more outside), all kind of restaurant included (Fast Food, traditional, high class, middle, industrial etc...) I didn't have time to find the rate of meals eaten in high class restaurants but let's assume it's very low. So talking about generalization, I can't understand we're talking about a minority to describe a global fact.
That is why my first intervention here...what are we talking about?

Well, good question. We seem to have strayed into matters unrelated to the initial posts. Comparing "luxury" levels, etc., when all that was asked first was why French-style Japanese pastry, as some had noticed, was generally of such high quality compared to its equivalents in France. A case of disciples surpassing the masters, and so on. Which was pretty much my impression in Japan. Now if you do insist on making social levels relevant, fine. So let's focus on high-quality pastry, because as an example of what a country can do best, it is the most relevant choice regarding the discussion.

And nothing can change the fact that high-quality French-style Japanese pastry compares favorably with its Franco-French equivalent. Just ask some French pâtissiers having opened pastry shops or chains in Japan and they will tell you how hard it is to keep up with the skills of local pâtissiers and the demands of the public.

#85 pirate

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 08:40 PM

And nothing can change the fact that high-quality French-style Japanese pastry compares favorably with its Franco-French equivalent. Just ask some French pâtissiers having opened pastry shops or chains in Japan and they will tell you how hard it is to keep up with the skills of local pâtissiers and the demands of the public.

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I've posted earlier in this thread. I agree with the quoted statement. I was in Tokyo two weeks ago and had a continental breakfast daily in my room at the Park Hyatt for eight days. The tomato juice was freshly squeezed ( not true at the Park Hyatt in Paris). The croissants and viennoiseries were excellent.. One new feature on this visit was an American muffin. The chocolate-walnut variety was delicious. I haven't had American muffins in France.

#86 Hiro

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 01:18 AM

HI to all,, sometimes i check out this forum and find something new from others people around the worlds, altough sometime becoming an argue but i still find it interesting, with some chef or food lover experiences (thanks). so i just say dont extend this forum becoming nation food war (is it?), maybe i wrote it wrong "Japanese VS french pastry". maybe i shouldnt use the "VS" word in the first place, but i have no intent to comapare it in which is the best but "what makes it different". i dont care which one is better but what makes it, that's what i want to know
so peace, keep sharing and lets eat cakes..sweeettttttt :laugh:

#87 John Talbott

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 01:52 PM

Figaro Madame had two articles, one on Japanese pastry by Maya Blanc that featured: Kitchoan, 17, place de la Madeleine in the 8th, 01.40.06.91.28, Toraya, 10, rue Saint-Florentin in the 1st, 01.42.60.13.00 and Chajin, 24, rue Pasquier in the 8th, 01.53.30.05.24, the other by Alexandra Michot on sexy looking pastry.
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blog John Talbott's Paris

#88 cachan

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 01:57 PM

In London, there is Tetote Factory in South Ealing, just transferred from Colindale.

#89 Dave Hatfield

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 01:02 PM

I've been following this topic with great interest & finally have to add my opinion for what its worth.

First let me mention my qualifications such as they are. My first visit to France was nearly 50 years ago & I've been eating French pastry off & on ever since especially the last ten years as we now live in SW France. During the 1990's I spent a lot of time in Japan, multiple visits of multiple weeks & ate quite a lot of Japanese made 'French' pastry. Based upon that experience I have a few observations: (first let me admit that I'm not a great lover of pastry. My observations are more along the lines of eating croissants, pain Au raison & pain au chocolate along with lots of bread.)

- I think the standards in Paris have deteriorated quite a bit over the years. The quest there seems to be for novelty & new twists. The fundamentals seem to be left by the wayside.

- The standards out in the country haven't slipped nearly as much over the years if at all in my opinion. The local customers won't allow it.

- The pastry in Japan was good 20 years ago & knowing the Japanese culture I would assume that its gotten even better.

In either country (or the states or the UK for that matter)the more complex pastry seems of place far more emphasis on looks over taste. Too much sugar, strange ingredients that don't always work and novelty value are far too common. This trend seems strongest in Paris. (Tokyo currently?I'm not competent to judge.)Provincial bakers mainly stick to older tried & true recipes that their 'country' customers are used to.

The Japanese bakers true to their culture will emulate whatever they think is the best at first. Once having that down pat they will steadily & incrementally improve upon it. Thus since they were very good at the standards 20 years ago I'd be surprised if they're not really, really excellent by now.

An interesting comparison would be to test a top quality provincial French product with a similar one from Tokyo. Given distance & freshness issues it would be difficult.

I don't think I'd put it up against the best, but you'd have a hard time beating the croissants or pain au raisin or plain old bread made by our little local baker in our village of 500 souls. An honest product from an honest man.

Great discussion though.

#90 RandyB

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 09:21 PM

Amazing to see this thread revive after 5 years of dormancy.

It struck a chord with me because of a new bakery opening recently in the Seattle area. We are already blessed with a small bakery, Cafe Besalu, that makes croissants and pains au chocolat that would compete with the very best in Paris. By best, I am thinking of Pierre Hermé, for example. His plain croissants, not his oversweetened ispahan flavored one.

The baker at Cafe Besalu is American, trained in Switzerland. No one in Seattle was at his level until that new bakery opened up. It's called Fuji Bakery. The head pastry chef, Taka Hirai, is Japanese. He says he trained in Japan, not France, at the École de Pâtisserie and at the Tokyo Robuchon restaurant.

His croissants are a little lighter than at Besalu or Hermé, but the taste and texture are superb. They are much better than most I've found traveling around France. That might not be saying much by itself. I have to agree with those who pointed out the deteriorated state of French bakeries in general, back when this thread was young.

I've only been to Japan once. I never tried the French pastries there. Didn't seem any point to it.





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