Gari Gari Kun

Gari Gari Kun

Gari Gari Kun

It is getting hot in Tokyo. Shinji has stocked the freezer with Gari Gari-kun. A popular popsicle that is sold at convenient stores and supermarket. The price of Gari Gari-kun went up last year and the company apologized to fans across Japan in this great commercial. Gari Gari is the sound of biting into something hard and crunchy (or ice cold). Kun is what we use when calling out to small boys. Gari Gari-kun is a fun name for this product that comes in many different flavors like grape, kiwi, or watermelon. You can see their flavors here (in Japanese).

Pick it up when you’re hot and need to cool down. If there is writing on the popsicle stick, that means you get a second one for free. Bring the popsicle stick to any retail store and ask them if they’ll redeem it for you.

Chikalicious NY Dough’ssant in Tokyo

Chikalicious Dough'ssant

Chikalicious Dough’ssant

For a limited time, Chikalicious NY dough’ssant is available at Ginza Matsuya. I still have yet to try a Cronut, but today while walking through Ginza Matsuya I saw what I thought was a Cronut. There are a few shops making these in Tokyo. The only one that I have liked until now is The Roastery’s New York Rings in Omotesando. The others are all wanna-bes.

The caramel and almonds dough’ssant is very sweet. To be honest, I think it is too sweet for the Japanese market. I shared this with a friend and half was just the right amount. That being said, I will try to make it back to the shop to try another flavor, like creme brulee or mattcha, before the event ends.

The staff said that these would only be available for a month. Not sure when it will end, so go soon.

Ginza Matsuya – Chikalicious NY

Chuo-ku, Ginza 3-6-1

Takashimaya Patissieria Sweets Counter

Shinjuku Takashimaya

Takashimaya Patissieria

If you have a sweet tooth be sure to visit Shinjuku Takashimaya’s Patissieria in the depachika. The concept is brilliant, over a hundred signature sweets from patisseries throughout Tokyo all displayed together. Carefully peruse the sweets and upon selecting one, or two if you like, take a seat at the counter and order a coffee and enjoy.

Shinjuku Takashimaya

Takashimaya Patissieria

Even on days when I don’t have time to sit down, I do try and glance through the display case as the offerings are constantly changing. As can be expected, aside from the classics, many are influenced by the seasonal ingredients.

Takashimaya Patissieria Mont Blanc

Takashimaya Patissieria

My view from the counter with a Mont Blanc. Shinjuku Takashimaya is located just outside of Shinjuku JR Station. Take the Shin-Minami-Guchi, New South Exit, take a left and you will walk into Takashimaya in one minute. Follow the escalators down to the basement.

Takashimaya Patissieria

Shibuya-ku, Sendagaya 5-24-2, Shinjuku Takashimaya

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/

Chocolate Shops in Tokyo

Pierre Marcolini

Pierre Marcolini

Chocoholics should be warned that Tokyo abounds with chocolate shops. Here are just a tiny few of what tempts customers. This article first appeared in Metropolis magazine.

http://archive.metropolis.co.jp/tokyo/619/localflavors.asp (text follows)

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to find a man who was rich, sweet and most important, who would satisfy me. But I had no idea I would be courted by a cadre of chocolatiers. I share this with you for Valentine’s Day as there is only one me and many of them, and they are oh so sweet.

The first to tempt me was Pascal Caffet as we both work at Takashimaya in Nihonbashi. He offered me a glass of champagne with his specialty, a chocolate disk studded with hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios and raisins. I never say no to champagne, and the yeastiness from the bubbly melds with the nuttiness of his Croq’tele Noir.

I was curious to see what the competition had to offer and made a beeline to Isetan in Shinjuku. Jean-Paul Hevin warmed me up with a velvety rich chocolat chaud that had hints of warm spices like cinnamon. Jean-Paul’s café is next door to his shop, where the chocolates are on display like jewels in a jewelry shop.

Having lived in Brussels, and having been told by the Belgians that their chocolate is the best in the world, I thought it was time to pursue Pierre Marcolini. He was playing hard to get and each time I went to his shops in Ginza there were long lines of ladies waiting patiently to get a piece of him. I finally managed to squeeze a seat at the bar, and it was well worth the wait. He played it cool and offered me a scoop each of his chocolate sorbet and chocolate glace. The contrast between the two was necessary; as the glace alone was too rich, the sorbet worked almost as a palate cleanser—albeit a very rich palate cleanser.

So far so good, but it was time to be wooed by an older and perhaps wiser man. The legendary chocolatier Robert Linxe invited me to relax at La Maison du Chocolat. This may be the most luxurious of destinations in Tokyo. There is a long bar at which to sit and indulge, but buyer beware: Once you let your hair down here, it is hard to leave. These are classic creations and perhaps the most seductive of all the chocolates in town.

Finally, I was seduced by a Spaniard in Shiroganedai who offered me something unique. Oriol Balaguer’s shop is intimate if you can find it, but he blew my mind with his firecracker chocolate. If there is one chocolate you should try, this is it. I had never had a chocolate go snap, crackle and pop in my mouth before, but it was brilliant. Then he tempted me with his unique Nippon Collection featuring savory soy sauce, spicy wasabi and roasty toasty hojicha tea. But he won my Midwestern heart with a chocolate filled with crunchy bits of corn.

These are just the tip of the truffle; there are many more to explore.

I did check out a few Japanese chocolatiers, but I’m sad to say that, even though their shops were always busy, none compared with the Europeans. So indulge yourself with my sublime new friends. Theirs are not the chocolates of childhood but sweets for the savvy and sophisticated. And guaranteed to put a smile on any winter-worn face.

Pascal Caffet Nihonbashi
Takashimaya, Nihonbashi 2-4-1, Chuo-ku

03-3231-3475

www.pascal-caffet.jp

Jean-Paul Hevin 
Shinjuku Isetan, Shinjuku 3-14-1, Shinjuku-ku

03-3351-7882

www.jph-japon.co.jp

Pierre Marcolini 
Ginza 5-5-8, Chuo-ku

03-5537-0015

www.pierremarcolini.jp

La Maison du Chocolat 
3-4-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku

03-3201-6006

www.lamaisonduchocolat.com

Oriol Balaguer 
2F Barbizon 32, 4-9-18 Shiroganedai, Minato-ku

03-3449-9509