Last week in Tokyo I rediscovered sweet treats imported into Japan and localized to suit the tastes and customs of the culture.
Let me say first that whoever came up with the “cake set” menu concept gets my adoration. I love the idea that I could walk into the hotel lounge, at any time, and enjoy a pot of really good tea or passable coffee and a sweet. It’s the practice, though, that really does it for me. Sitting down with a view and watching the water of the harbor slowed my mind, my heart rate, my breathing.
Cake set pastry selections themselves can provide a bit of an adventure, and certainly vary between locales, but the Hotel Nikko was a consistent success.
I think this was due to the in-house patisserie. Croissants were small, flaky, and luscious with butter. Pain au chocolat were small enough to fit in your palm, and made with good quality chocolate. Others may grimace to hear that I enjoyed them with bitter orange marmalade, but I only slid into chocolate breakfast heaven, two at a time.
What I may have enjoyed most, though, was the cheesecake. Yes, the cake set had a cheesecake option – a single cupcake sized cheesecake, resplendent in its unadornment and flavor. I’m still thinking about it.