Night is falling on us once more as we come one day closer to the end of our journey through Japan. I, the assassin of Clan Uprising, have uncovered secrets untold from this land of sweets. These past weeks have most certainly satisfied all of our sweet teeth and given us an excuse to exercise for the rest of the summer.
My final experience was one of my favourite. Throughout our various quests we have sought out hidden areas, secrets only told to those who seek them. One such secret is the mystery of Montana in Yomiuri Land-mae 「読売ランド前」. This American state is transformed into a delicious bakery in Tokyo, just near the Yomiuri Land-mae station. The reason for the name is unknown, but the chefs at this bakery certainly do the state name proud.
My fellow Dragoon clan member, John, and I stumbled across his conversation partner Koji-san as we were trekking. Koji was more than happy to take us to his favourite pastry shop when we mentioned we were looking for a place where locals like to enjoy sweet treats. The cafe was just over a short bridge that looked over a beautiful river-side garden. As we came close we could see the cobblestone patio outside dotted with small chairs and tables. Although the patio is usually full with students coming from classes, it was early enough in the afternoon that we had the patio to ourselves.
As we entered the shop we were greeted with the ever friendly “Irasshaimase”「いらっしゃいませ」 by the store workers. They were interested to hear about us, where we were from and what we were researching. The workers, all of whom were ladies, were more than gracious as they showed us all the various pastries in the shop. They walked us through the daily routine of the shop from opening to closing, what needs to be prepared at what time and even how certain desserts were prepared. One of the most unique examples is the particular donut that they featured at their store which is different from one that we might find in Canada. The donuts are baked in a special tray much like a muffin tin and are not deep fried like the North American counterpart. This results in a softer, lighter pastry than what we would encounter. The shape is also slightly less rounded as the pastry only rises to a certain point when being baked.
The ladies were very kind in offered recommendations for both John and myself. Although the donuts were showcased, they picked out a cookie cream puff 「クッキシュークリーム」 for John and a blueberry pie 「ブルーベリーパイ」 for myself. The prices were 160￥ and 260￥ respectively. For the quality of the pastries the price was extremely reasonable. I would have most likely paid at least $5 for something of similar quality in North America.
After showing us around the interior of the shop and allowing us a quick peek of the kitchens, we headed outside to the patio to enjoy our treats. Enjoy them we did! The cream puff was fantastic with a light outer pastry and a denser cream center. There was not much of a cookie flavour so to speak, but it was delicious all the same. The blueberry pie was perfectly flaky, not too much or too little. Many Japanese dessert pies put a piece of butter on the top afterwards to add to the richness of the pastry. The blueberry pie was no different, and the butter took the flavour palette to another level. Warm and moist, the blueberry taste quite literally melted in your mouth.
Without a doubt, these were two of my favourite dessert experiences in Japan, and my favourite overall experience as we enjoyed the afternoon out on the patio. If you have a chance be sure to make your way down here and enjoy the hospitality of the lovely ladies working there.