Monday, August 31, 2009

Let's Eat Some Sweets: Tsujiguchi Hironobu

And now for something completely delicious.

When I look at many of the current promotional items posted on the Asunarosha site I realize that this tribute to celebrated pâtissier Tsujiguchi is pretty "old." It's alarming how fast new kitties start to pile up and simply amazing what these designers will come up with in just a few short years. Yet despite this, I find this promotional version to be one of the most unusual in my collection. This is a Dear Daniel exclusive. Normally, Dear Daniel (now and forever referred to as DD) completes a pair to Kitty White when the regional/promotional subject involves a couple. Kitty White, regardless of the subject's gender is always the headliner. For this promotional item, she takes a powder and DD takes a solo bow in the spotlight. Maybe it was the hair...

Some of you may remember Tsujiguchi from the Valentine's Day inspired "Banana & Chocolate" battle with the beleaguered Italian Chef Masahiko Kobe. Back then in 1998, he was already recognized as an international prize winning pâtissier. These days, he is a marketing force (typhoon is more like it) that has turned his extensive experience with French and Japanese sweets into the art that decorates his high-end comestible "boutiques": Mont St. Clair, the pâtisserie which this DD item represents; Chocolate de H, a chocoholic's nirvana; Confiture H, a kind of perfume boutique only the perfume is various fruit preserves; Marriage de Farine, a classic "boulangerie" or french style bakery; and a number of "concept" offerings (Waraku-Beniya, cafe Fortissimo) in the wonderful world of the Japanese department store. As an aside, I should point out that the food section of the Japanese deparment store is heavenly. Imagine Saks, but instead of fancy Lancome and Estee Lauder counters, there are all kinds of food ready to be purchased and "furoshiki-ed" for your convenience!

Sweets may have been in Tsujiguchi's blood at birth since his family ran sweet shop in Beniya, in Nanao City in Ishikawa prefecture. He began his training in Tokyo and moved onward to France. When he returned to Japan he opened Mont St. Clair. In this pâtisserie, Tsujiguchi features the classic French sweets, some of them fused with uniquely Japanese ingredients.

May be it was the hair that did it. Did DD's signature coif make him the natural choice for Tsujiguchi?

Here is a teeny Kugelhopf - a yeast cake with dried fruit that is usually soaked in liquer.

Here is a teeny fruit crepe

Here are some teeny-tiny Madelines or shell shaped tea cakes

Here is a teeny slice of strawberry shortcake. Here's a bit of BTW-trivia: Strawberry shortcakes have become a contemporary traditional dessert for Christmas in Japan.

Here is a teeny tiny bit of Mont Blanc, a chestnut cream meringue


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