Friday, October 15, 2010
I held out as long as I could, but I'm finally sampling the sweet swag I brought home from last month's Hyogo Confectionery Event. First up, these old-fashioned cookies from confectioner Kobe Fugetsudo.
Although gaufre is French for "waffel," Fugetsudo's interpretation is more what I think of as a wafer or tuile. Each airy disc is baked crisp and golden between engraved metal plates that also emboss it with the company's name and a leafy border. The gaufres are mortared together two at a time with a thin lick of stiff, sweet, delicately flavored pastry cream. They come three to pack in the classic Neapolitan combo of strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla.
Fugetsudo's gaufres owe their distinctly Belle Epoque vibe to Kobe's former role as the official center of Japanese-European commerce and cultural exchange. A century ago, Japanese consumers would have considered gaufres as exotic and modern as Kobe's broad streets, brick buildings, and puff-sleeved dresses. I once compared a Euro-Japanese sweet of the same era to a Victorian lady, but whereas monaka are plump and a bit frumpy, gaufres are their elegant Continental cousins.