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torakris

French Pastry Shops in Japan

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One thing I noticed in Japan, in fact on my very first trip in 1990, was not just the phenomonal quality of cakes and pastry but also the cream. The heavy cream was 36% butterfat routinely and I seem to recall even 40% and fresh. Perhaps Torakris can elucidate or the other numerous connaisseurs that contribute and make this site so interesting.

Heavy cream here is very heavy.

It ranges anywhere from 35% to 47 or 48%, the most common being the 36% and a 46%. I think only one company offers the 35% and it is called the "light" cream. :blink: I don't think there is anything below 35% that is real cream, they do have some called pantry cream that is in the 20's but I am not really sure what that is.


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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torakris: Thanks, I brought up the richness of cream in Japan because it contibutes to the quality of the pastry and the best iced coffees. I'm considering only coffee, ice and cream. There is the delicious cafe liegois in Belgium and a frozen cappucino made with Kahlua and coffee frozen yogurt at the SFA Cafe in NYC.

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I'm curious to know if you tried crepes, and what you thought of them. I mean the Japanese-style ones, filled with various sweet gooey things, rolled up, and held upright like an ice cream cone. I love them but I know a lot of non-Japanese who hate them and think they're a blasphemy.

Smallworld I don't know how you can eat those crepes!! :blink::biggrin:

See! Am I the only foreigner who likes them??

I have had them twice now and trashed them after a couple bites, it is a cloying sweetness that I don't care for, even my kids couldn't finish them.......

Well, that really depends on what you put in them, doesn't it? The crepes themselves aren't so sweet, and depending on the shop, can be really very good.

It's the fillings that make it sweet, and seeing as most crepe shops have dozens of possibilities and allow you to mix and match, there's no reason why you have to get a cloyingly sweet one.

I shun the whipped cream, custard cream and other super-sweet stuff, although ice cream is sometimes a welcome addition.

My favourite: sliced bananas, sliced almonds and chocolate chips/chocolate syrup.

You should try it sometime!


My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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Has anyone else seen the Japanese game show that pits several Japanese women against each other in a pastry-identification fight-to-the-death? It goes something like this: on a table lies 24 or so plates, each with a teensy taste of pastry from a shop in Tokyo. Each woman must (after having her plate chosen at random, don't remember how) must taste the pastry and identify it by name and by pastry shop. Amazing (think of the preparatory research required to compete in a contest like this)! A variation has the women racing against each other to finish several plates of pastries; the first to shovel all of the goodies in her mouth is given the opportunity to, again, identify the pastry by name and shop. There were a few more variations. The show lasted several weeks and I saw it in spring 2002 on a Japanese channel in Thailand. Some of you in Japan must have seen it too....? What was it called?

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Has anyone else seen the Japanese game show that pits several Japanese women against each other in a pastry-identification fight-to-the-death?  It goes something like this: on a table lies 24 or so plates, each with a teensy taste of pastry from a shop in Tokyo.  Each woman must (after having her plate chosen at random, don't remember how) must taste the pastry and identify it by name and by pastry shop. Amazing (think of the preparatory research required to compete in a contest like this)! A variation has the women racing against each other to finish several plates of pastries; the first to shovel all of the goodies in her mouth is given the opportunity to, again, identify the pastry by name and shop.  There were a few more variations. The show lasted several weeks and I saw it in spring 2002 on a Japanese channel in Thailand. Some of you in Japan must have seen it too....? What was it called?

I think this is from a series called "Terebi Champion" (TV Champion), which is still running. The topics vary widely: tonight they had a group of pro pachinko players fighting it out. They have also featured competitions among woodworkers, flower arrangers, ice sculptors, elementary school-aged cooks, collectors of plastic toys, and whatnot.

Food-related episodes are common. The famous Japanese eating champions appear from time to time scarfing down all kinds of things, not just hot dogs. The episodes like you described, where the contestants have to identify food, can be somewhat unbelievable. I think in the case of the pastry experts, they probably gave them a list of shops that might be featured so they could study up. I used to eat lunch at a restaurant whose proprietor had a son-in-law who had appeared as a challenger on the Iron Chef. This guy told me that they gave his son-in-law a list of three food items, one of which would be chosen for the competition, so he could plan some menus in advance. I suspect Terebi Champion does something similar.

Mark

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Terebi champion is a great show and a couple years back it seemed to be mostly about food where nowadays it seems to be more focused on crafts.

I watch almost all of the episodes about food and am astounded by the knowledge these people have, but there has got to be soem kind of prep before the show because with all of the pastry shops in tokyo there is just no way they can taste a bit of cream and no where it came from.

Back in April, egullet member BON won the crown of the Tsukiji fish market challlenge, here is the thread:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=19447


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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This just in - Asahi.com reports that a new "pastry theme park" will open in Jiyugaoka.

Game publisher Namco will open the Jiyugaoka Sweet Forest on Nov. 21. It will feature the pastries of 12 of the best known pastry shops in Japan. The shops have chefs that have won international awards or have apprenticed in Europe.

Admission is free.

http://www.asahi.com/national/update/1120/011.html (in Japanese)

Cool ...

Some info on this place in English, with a link to their Japanese homepage

http://www.tcvb.or.jp/en/hot/sizzling/sizzling_ind.html

edit:

you need to scroll to the bottom and click on index and then on Pastry theme park

I found a nice article about Jiyugaoka Sweet Forest, with listing of some of the stores and their offerings:

http://metropolis.japantoday.com/tokyo/508/dining.asp


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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Here is a list of some of the French style pastry shops in Tokyo (in Japanese) but with links to all of the shops:

http://home.att.ne.jp/moon/sumsinny/feel/feelparis.html


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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After 10 months of procrastination, I'm finally able to put into words some of my Japan travel experience. To give my travelogue a little focus, I concentrate on the french-style pastries that I indulged in Tokyo. I will add more entries to this thread as I go.

Part 1: Advice on planning your own tour, Lenotre, Namco Namja Town, Pierre Herme, Theobroma


Candy Wong

"With a name like Candy, I think I'm destined to make dessert."

Want to know more? Read all about me in my blog.

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I really enjoyed it, too! But man, that "to be continued" at the bottom was a real bummer. :angry: I was scrolling down for more!

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please write more!!

and lots of pictures please. :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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I look forward to the next report. More pictures, please, the bigger the better.

Also, did you find the European cakes/pastries to be generally sweeter or less sweet than what you had in Paris?


Baker of "impaired" cakes...

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The second part of my Tokyo Sweets Tour is completed.

Part 2: a tes souhaits!, Le Coeur Pur, Paris S'eveille, Mont St. Clair, Le Souffle, Cuoca

Enjoy!


Candy Wong

"With a name like Candy, I think I'm destined to make dessert."

Want to know more? Read all about me in my blog.

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I look forward to the next report. More pictures, please, the bigger the better.

Also, did you find the European cakes/pastries to be generally sweeter or less sweet than what you had in Paris?

I would say as far as sweetness was concern, they were about the same (except for products from Pierre Herme which was considerably sweeter). However, most pastries in Japan had a characteristic lightness.


Candy Wong

"With a name like Candy, I think I'm destined to make dessert."

Want to know more? Read all about me in my blog.

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I'm dying to try le souffle. You mentioned that there are other branches with more flavor, do you know where they are? i try goggling with no luck. Thanks!

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I'm dying to try le souffle.  You mentioned that there are other branches with more flavor, do you know where they are? i try goggling with no luck. Thanks!

This is a link to their Jiyugaoka Sweets Forest location.

This is a link to a review of their Nishi-Azabu main store in English. Not much was writen about their souffle though.

Alternatively, you can search for "ル スフレ 広尾" in http://www.yahoo.co.jp to turn up a whole bunch of reviews in Japanese.

Address, map, phone number, etc are available as well.


Edited by ComeUndone (log)

Candy Wong

"With a name like Candy, I think I'm destined to make dessert."

Want to know more? Read all about me in my blog.

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I will be going to Tokyo, Mito, Kyoto, and osaka leaving december 12. I want to try as many japanese sweets as possible when i am there. Can you help me make a list.


Cory Barrett

Pastry Chef

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definitely daifuku!! :biggrin:


<p><strong>Kristin Wagner</strong>, aka "torakris"

Manager, Membership

<a class="bbc_email" href="mailto:kwagner@egstaff.org" title="E-mail Link">kwagner@egstaff.org</a></p>

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In terms of Western pastry, an excellent blog is discussed here. You might even get in touch with the author about where she got her leads and if she has any other recommendations.


Baker of "impaired" cakes...

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When you're in Kyoto, be sure to try Yatsuhashi senbei, a traditional Kyoto specialty. They're thin cookies made of rice flour flavored with cinnamon. The fresh ("nama") ones are usually folded and filled like turnovers. The dry ones are shaped like curved roof tiles and make a great souvenier.

I'm not even sure of the name of the most famous brand, but its homepage can be seen at Yatsuhashi.

You can even tour a cookie factory and try your hand at making them.


Edited by SuzySushi (log)

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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When you're in Kyoto, be sure to try Yatsuhashi senbei, a traditional Kyoto specialty. They're thin cookies made of rice flour flavored with cinnamon. The fresh ("nama") ones are usually folded and filled like turnovers. The dry ones are shaped like curved roof tiles and make a great souvenier.

I'm not even sure of the name of the most famous brand, but its homepage can be seen at Yatsuhashi.

You can even tour a cookie factory and try your hand at making them.

A friend brought some of dry ones back; I believe they were a green tea flavor, dipped in perhaps a white chocolate. Very, very good. I wish I could get them here.

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Are you looking specifically for Japanese sweets, or any kind of sweets/pastry found in Japan?

If the later, I find Japanese chiffon cakes far surpass US-style chiffon cakes in terms of texture. Light and fluffy, that's how I like them. You can get them in any depachika by the slice.

Of French-style cakes, I like the ones by Henri Charpentier and also by Gramercy New York--in Osaka both can be found in the depachika of Hankyu Department Store in Umeda. I have pics of a couple that I planned to post to the dessert thread. Beautiful and delicious to boot!

Also, I quite like Comme ca du/de? Mode Cafe's fruit tarts. They have huge slices, and use fresh fruit. Thus, many of their tarts are seasonal (fig, mango, nashi, for example). There's one right between JR Osaka and Hankyu Umeda Stations in the same building as Yodobashi Camera (if you need company, I'd be happy to join you!).

As for Japanese sweets, I much prefer nama-yatsuhashi over the baked kind (which to me, is sort of like eating hard paste). Ichigo daifuku is sublime, especially if you can get some from the Nagasaki-area. In Kyoto, there are quite a few traditional Japanese sweets shops--there's one in Gion, right on Shijo-dori where you can get matcha and wagashi. I really like rakugan--a sort of candy, often served with matcha--made from a special kind of sugar, it melts in your mouth. And I like suhama--made from kinako, I think, it's a chewy candy-like thing. In the basement of the Takashimaya Dept. store in Kyoto, there's a shop that specializes in them.

I can't think of anymore off-hand. I had a manju today, of which the cakey-outer part was made with some mochiko, I think, because it was a bit chewy in texture. Also from Kyoto...(i.e. go to Kyoto for all the best Japanese-style sweets).


Edited by prasantrin (log)

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When you're in Kyoto, be sure to try Yatsuhashi senbei, a traditional Kyoto specialty. They're thin cookies made of rice flour flavored with cinnamon. The fresh ("nama") ones are usually folded and filled like turnovers. The dry ones are shaped like curved roof tiles and make a great souvenier.

I'm not even sure of the name of the most famous brand, but its homepage can be seen at Yatsuhashi.

You can even tour a cookie factory and try your hand at making them.

I love those things! I used to be able to get them in Seattle, but I haven't found a store that carries them here.

I actually just got back from a week in Tokyo a couple weeks ago (yeah, it's taking me a long time to get my pictures together and write up a post about the trip). I'm not a big fan of traditional Japanese sweets. I find them usually too sweet and pasty while lacking in flavor - at least what I've tried. However, I think there are actually more French style pastry shops in Tokyo now than in Paris.

While you're there, DO go to Kappabashi-dori in the Asakusa area of Tokyo. It's blocks and blocks of restaurant supply stores with everything from furniture and dishes to plastic display food, including a number of pastry equipment shops with great prices on many items. You'll find tools for western and traditional Japanese cooking. There are also several large bookstores in the major shopping areas that are worth checking out for food magazines and books - though they'll all be in Japanese, of course, it's often worth buying for the photos alone.

However, I have to say, don't bother making the trek to Jyugaoka Sweets Forest, the pastry theme park near Tokyo. It's cute, but there's much better pastry to be had in the city.

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