The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 2 May 2008

Perfect Japanese packaging and dessert

Rob and I looked for some dessert to indulge in at Lenôtre after our Thai lunch at Ikebukuro on Saturday. According to this source, "the Lenôtre brand is the leading French pâtisserie and boulangerie in the domain of gastronomic arts." The pâtisserie section of this store was full of beautiful pastries and exquisite cakes and desserts, and the adjacent bakery section offered plenty of delicious and freshly baked goods. In the pâtisserie, Rob's eyes were immediately drawn to this dark and rich-looking tart. Reading the katakana characters of the description card, we could at least make out that this was a chocolate creation with lemon in it.

Unfortunately I don't remember the exact title of this dessert, but I do remember the love and care put into packaging this single dessert. It took more time for the salesgirl to pack it up than it did for us to decide and pay for it. The box came complete with a packet of dry ice on top to keep it cool, great because it was a good few hours before we actually ate it. This is the perfect example of the Japanese penchant for gorgeous presentation and perfect packaging. Admittedly, most of the time I think it is a bit wasteful, especially when we'd bought this for ourselves and not to give away as a gift, but I was thankful when the dessert emerged unscathed after a few hours of walking around. Here are photos for your viewing pleasure.

The box; and what it looks like inside when you open up the box - yay for stickytape!:

How was the dessert? It was delicious, and worth the 473yen (~AU$4.70) we paid for it. The top was embedded with a hollow dark chocolate egg, drizzled with dark chocolate and finished with a sprinkling of gold flecks. Encrusted around were crunchy dark chocolate "pebbles" which gave an interesting contrast of texture. The main body was like a super-rich cake with a very fudgey middle that was almost ganache-like, with a delightful layer of lemon curd and a slightly crunchy base. It wasn't too sweet but it had such a rich and smooth mouth-feel. My words don't do it justice - it's something you have to taste to know.

The dessert in all its glory:

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