Sunday, October 12, 2008


Day eighty-three: "Bamboo"
Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki, ¥800

Both this gorgeous slab and the matcha-frosted eclairs in my blog header are the work of patissier Sadaharu Aoki. That the eclair shot was taken in Paris and the "Bamboo" one in Tokyo tells you a little something about about Aoki's professional trajectory. He moved to Paris early on in his career and soon made it big with three shops of his own known for creative but immaculate pastries that marry French technique and Japanese flavors--e.g. wasabi ganache or black sesame macarons.

Having triumphed overseas, Aoki finally opened two branches in his hometown. And thank heavens! After paying in euros for my last Aoki fix, a trip to the glamorous Tokyo shop was almost like visiting the Hostess factory outlet. In Paris I had bought only a few macarons and some cut-price dinged-up chocolates, but here I was able to indulge my curiosity about "Bamboo", one of Aoki's signature pastries.

"Bamboo" is a moist, many-layered slab of pastry, pastes, liqueurs, creams, and powders. I was so intimidated by the shop that I failed to transcribe the list of components, but the predominant flavors were chocolate, hazelnut, and green tea. Perhaps all the mochi and anko of the past two months has recalibrated by palate, but I found "Bamboo" to be too much of too many good things. It was enjoyable but not something I'd eat often--which is probably the best conclusion to draw about an $8 slice of cake.

Lucky, lucky Clothilde at Zucchini and Chocolate got to hang out with Aoki in his kitchen!

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