Tokyo’s Softest Mochi? 築地福餅

Updated 31 May 2016.

We are very sad to say that this shop has closed. Today was the last day. We wish the owner much happiness in her retirement.

Shinji found out the husband of the owner used to own this shop and was selling seafood here. When he passed away the wife took over the shop and was selling the mochi. She decided it was time to close the shop.

Shinji did stop by today to buy a bunch and we have it in our freezer. We will treasure these sweets.

There is a tiny stall, Tsukiji Fukumochi, selling some amazing mochi. The rice taffy is so tender that it almost melts in your mouth. One of the mochi is served on JAL flights. Shinji brought the ones on the right home and we couldn’t stop eating them. Yomogi (a Japanese herb, mugwort), shio (salt), and takesumi (charcoal) stuffed with a sweet azuki bean paste. On his next trip back he picked up the ichigo daifuku, with a fresh strawberry, which was also amazing.

Often the mochi is very chewy, but there is something different about these, that make them worth a journey.

Tsukiji Fukumochi 築地福餅

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-13-14 中央区築地4-13-14

 

Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo

For my birthday we went to Dominique Ansel Bakery’s Cafe on the second floor of his shop. The menu has always intrigued me, especially since I saw a photo of his avocado toast.

New on the menu is chicken pot pie, which was the best pot pie I have ever had. A crispy golden crust over an umami-rich stew packed with chicken and vegetables. I woke up the next day thinking about this. The avocado toast comes with créme fraiche and a salad. The butternut squash was accented with cinnamon marshmallow squares.

The first floor of the shop is almost always full. The cafe has a full drink menu as well, including champagne and wine. There is an open kitchen and on my way out I could see a lobster roll being assembled.

Menu: http://dominiqueanseljapan.com/wp/wp-content/themes/dabjp/pdf/DAB_MENU_2F.pdf

Dominique Ansel DKA

We were so full from lunch that we celebrated at home with chef’s signature DKA, Dominique’s version of the kouign amann. This pastry is very popular in Tokyo and many bakeries serve their version of it. This one is not too sweet, has a rich texture from the buttery dough.

The shop is very popular and the line can be very long on the first floor. Reservations can be made for the cafe and sweets from the first floor can be had in the cafe, along with a drink order. The only thing that is only sold on the first floor is the cronut. From what I hear from friends in NYC, the line here in Tokyo is much shorter for cronuts.

The bakery is in Omotesando, just off the main street. It is worth the short detour if you are in the area of Harajuku, Shibuya, or Meiji Jingu Shrine. The first floor opens at 8 a.m. and the cafe opens at 9 a.m. A great spot to start your day in Tokyo.

Dominique Ansel Bakery

Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-7-14 渋谷区神宮前5-7-14

shop information and access:

http://dominiqueanseljapan.com/en/contact

http://dominiqueanseljapan.com/wp/wp-content/themes/dabjp/pdf/DAB_MENU_2F.pdf

Popular Omiyage – Croissant Rusk

Having worked at Takashimaya’s depachika in Nihonbashi I am very familiar with hordes of people lining up outside of department stores first thing in the morning. I still don’t quite understand the fascination with having to buy the latest trendy food item, but it happens all of the time. Personally I don’t have the time to queue just for food, but apparently in Tokyo there are lots of people with the luxury of time.

One of the current hot items at depachika are the croissant rusks by Ohzan. Rusks have long been a popular sweet at depachika, but typically they are made from bread similar to a baguette. Toasted and often sweetened with sugar. I never understood the popularity of these rusks. For a long time there were lines to purchase the Gouter de Roi rusks.

However, these rusks are not just from just any bread, but made from croissants. And they come in a variety of flavors like caramel, covered in white or milk chocolate, nuts, and even garlic or black pepper. Currently these can be had at Mitsukoshi in Ginza. But go early if you want to try them as they often sell out sometime during the day.

New Candyland at Tokyo Station

Opening tomorrow in the basement of Tokyo Station is Tokyo Candyland (Tokyo Okashi Rando). The three main tenants are Calbee, Morinaga, and Glico, big snack manufacturers in Japan. At Calbee you can have potato chips hot out of the deep-fryer. The area is located in the basement outside of the Yaesu central exit. While it’s not worth going out of your way to come to, it may be interesting if you are at Tokyo station as the tenants will say limited edition items, usually seasonal products.

Higashiya Ginza

Higashiya Ginza

Higashiya Ginza

For traditional Japanese confectionaries there is Toraya, which is one of Japan’s most famous shops with locations around Tokyo. A modern confectionary shop that I love is Higashiya in Ginza. I first met the folks from Higashiya at a food event where I was pouring dessert wine from Coco Farm and Winery. The Higashiya team were serving wagashi with shochu. I knew immediately that they were worth exploring and I have always been delighted with the sweets from Higashiya.

The Ginza shop is conveniently located in the heart of the shopping district, so a good excuse to rest your feet here and to rejuvenate over some sweets, either traditional or modern. Check out the mattcha blanc manger or the houjicha pudding or for something more classic, the monaka or yokan.

Higashiya Ginza

Chuo-ku, Ginza 1-7-7, Pola Ginza 2F

03- 3538-3230

 

Japanese Pastry Chefs Worth Checking Out

Patissier Jun Honma

Patissier Jun Honma

The December 2011 issue of Cuisine Kingdom (料理王国) lists some Japanese patissiers and chocolatiers worth getting to know. I am listing them here. On a side note, it also includes a friend of ours, Shinji Oyama, who is in charge of all of the public relations for the Tsuji Chori Gakko.

Susumu Koyama 小山進

Patissier Es Koyama in Hyogo prefecture

Tadashi Yanagi 柳正司

Patisserie Tadashi Yanagi

Meguro-ku, Yakumo 2-8-11

03-5731-9477

Koji Tsuchiya 土屋公二

Theobroma

Shibuya-ku, Tomigaya 1-14-9, Green Core L Shibuya

03-5790-2181

www.grand-patissier.info/TadashiYanagi/index.html

Miya and Toshimi Fujimoto 藤本美弥 智美

Patisserie Etienne in Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa prefecture

Shinpei Asada 朝田晋平

Patisserie Aplanos in Saitama-shi, Saitama prefecture

Jun Honma 本間淳

Patissier Jun Honma

Musashino-shi, Kichijoji Honcho 3-4-11

0422-27-5444

Chika Tamehiro (Tillman)

Chikalicious NY Amarige

Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-10-1, Gyre Bldg. 4F

03-6418-8015

Reiko Imou 芋生玲子

Atessouhaits

Musashino-shi, Kichijoji Higashi-cho 3-8-8, Kasa Kichijoji II

0422-29-0888

Kazuya Morita 森田一頼

Libertable

Minato-ku, Minami-Aoyama 5-2-11, R2-A Blgd. B1

03-6427-3229

Fumiyuki Kanai 金井 史章

Benoit

Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-51-8, La Porto Aoyama 10F

03-6419-4181

Naoki Miura 三浦直樹

Bulgari Il Cioccolato

Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-10-1, Gyre Bldg. 2F

03-6362-0500

Digging into an Ice Cold Kakigori

On summer visits to Japan as a child my favorite sweets were kakigori topped with milk. Only when I grew up did I realize that it wasn’t milk but it was sweetened condensed milk. No better way to cool down in the Tokyo heat than a bowl of shaved ice topped with a sweet syrup. Flavors like mattcha and azuki, mango, or anzu (apricots) will have you smacking your lips. Many kanmidokoro (Japanese cafes with traditional sweets) serve kakigori, but usually only for the summertime so this is the best time to dig in.

Here are a few places to dig into kakigori in the summer. Shops usually put a small flag outside with the kanji for ice on it. 氷

Mihashi

Mihashi

Mihashi’s original shop in Ueno (Taito-ku, Ueno 4-9-7) opened during the Edo period. This location, in the basement of Tokyo station in the area called Ichiban Gai, is more centrally located.

Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 1-9-1, Tokyo Station, Ichiban Gai B1

Morinoen

Morinoen

Walking around the historic Ningyocho district is always fun. Morinoen is a tea shop that specializes in houjicha. Here is their houjicha kakigori. You can smell the houjicha being roasted out on the street. Pick up a bag of the tea while you are here to take home. It’s great both hot or cold.

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-4-9

Naniwaya

Naniwaya

Naniwaya in Azabu-Juban is renowned for its taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes stuffed with azuki).  It’s been grilling taiyaki for over a century. Step inside and grab a seat for an anzu (apricot) kakigori.

Minato-ku, Azabu-Juban 1-8-14

Kinozen

Kinozen

Kagurazaka is also a fabulous place for walking around and Kinozen is my favorite place for a kakigori.

Shinjuku-ku, Kagurazaka 1-12

Toraya

Toraya

Toraya in Ginza serves up a yummy ichigo (strawberries) kakigori.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 7-8-6, 2nd floor

Tokyo Sweet Trends

SOLA

SOLA

Chef David Myers from Los Angeles has created a buzz with his square-shaped chiffon cake in flavors such as yuzu and mattcha or Earl Grey and raspberry. His patisseries can be found at SOLA in Ginza Mitsukoshi’s depachika.

SOLA

Chuo-ku, Ginza 4-6-16, Mitsukoshi B2

03-3562-1111

http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1301/A130101/13115875/

Tokyo Sweet Trends

Patisserie Aimee Viber

Patisserie Aimee Vibert

Sweets made from choux crème in many forms are popping up throughout the metropolis. Some of what you will find include the traditional Paris-Brest at Patisserie Aimee Vibert, a pistachio Saint-honore at D’eux Patisserie in Tokyo station, or an éclair topped with a brittle candy at Aux Delices de Kenji.

Patisserie Aimee Vibert

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Muromachi 2-2-1, Coredo Muromachi 1F

03-6225-2551

www.aimeevibert.com/pati/ (Japanese)

D'eux Patisserie

D'eux Patisserie

D’eux Patisserie a Tokyo

Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 1-9-1,Tokyo station, South Court ecute Tokyo 1F

03-3211-8925

http://deux-tokyo.com/ (Japanese)

Aux Delices de Kenji

Aux Delices de Kenji

Aux Delices de Kenji

Sumida-ku, Kyojima 3-19-4

03-3612-4679

no website


Tokyo Sweet Trends 2011

Dessert specialty restaurants and several tea salons are leading the trends for sweets. Chef Kazuyori Morita trained in France and each afternoon between lunch and dinner, Libertable, becomes a ‘salon de the’ with desserts and tea or champagne. Classical French desserts with a twist, for example Mont Blanc with a meringue made of porcini mushrooms or an Opera Cake that is served with a warm chocolate sauce.

The sweets at Dessert le Comptoir by chef Yoshizaki Daisuke are more traditional, such as a chocolate soufflé or crème brulee. There is also a selection of take-away sweets like a milk rum confiture, cannelles, and pate de fruit.

Kohta Yoshioka Patisserie Table has a long counter overlooking the open kitchen so diners can watch as chef Yoshioka assembles each dessert. Yoshioka has been with the Gordon Ramsay group, both in Tokyo and in London at La Noisette as a sous chef. The desserts are more traditional like lemon meringue tart or caramel, orange and apple crepe suzette.

Libertable

Libertable

Libertable

Minato-ku, Minami-Aoyama 5-2-11

03-6427-3229

http://libertable.com/

Le Comptoir

Le Comptoir

Dessert le Comptoir

Setagaya-ku, Fukazawa 5-2-1

011-81-3-6411-6042

http://lecomptoir.jp/

Kohta Yoshioka

Kohta Yoshioka

Kohta Yoshioka Patisserie Table

Bunkyo-ku, Koishikawa 3-32-1

011-81-3-3816-2290

www.kohta-yoshioka.jp/