Featuring photo credit: Chocominter on Instagram
Are you trying to survive in Japan’s summertime heat? Or thinking about coming here during a summer vacation when borders reopen. Japanese summer can make you feel like you are melting away! Yes, we know! Soaring temperatures can be overwhelming, but don’t worry, we’ve got a treat for you!
Originating in France, parfaits were desserts made of custard and fruit. After some time, Americans created their own version of this treat, using ice cream/yogurt, and topped with fruit and granola.
Now fast forward into the modern world, we meet the Japanese parfait, of which my first thought was “they are extravagantly beautiful!”
Luckily, this is not only considered a summer treat; you can enjoy it all year round. Just by viewing these delicious displays, it is enough to make you want to grab hold of this yummy dessert.
Ingredients used to make a Japanese Parfait
You may be wondering, what makes a Japanese parfait… a Japanese parfait? Well, when the Parfait arrived here in the land of the rising sun, the locals transformed it into a dessert that was special and unique to their country. By incorporating ingredients that captured the essence of their culture, we got the Japanese Parfait.
Let’s get more into these special ingredients, shall we?
Ice cream and fresh cream are the two main necessities that make the parfait. With Hokkaido Prefecture being one of Japan’s main dairy producers and suppliers, it’s no surprise their parfaits display their rich dairy culture.
Fresh fruits are a must-have for parfaits. They can be placed in layers throughout, or topped as garnish. Usually, you can find Strawberry or Banana parfaits, but you may also notice summer specials like peach parfaits.
Small, bite-sized pieces of sponge cakes, such as Castella, help to fill the voids between the creamy layers, or are sometimes used as a garnish.
Yes! When I said they are “extravagantly beautiful”, I was not kidding about that “extravagant!” There are actually more ingredients used in creating a Japanese parfait.
Between the layers or set atop the parfait, there can be many other goodies such as
Shiratama Dango (a sweet dumpling which is a personal fav), Anko (red bean paste), Kinako (roasted soybean powder).
Additionally, puffed grain/cereals such as cornflakes, granola, sliced almonds, monaka (a traditional Japanese wafer cookie), pocky, waffle pieces, and Pirouettes (Russian Cigarette cookies) can be used to add a crunchy element amongst the soft dessert.
Honestly speaking, there are just too many ingredients to keep up with, but you can let your imagination run wild, creating endless combinations.
If you live in the much-frequented major cities such as Tokyo or Kyoto, and want to escape a heat wave, or generally enjoy a scrumptious dessert, here are some of the recommended places for yummy Japanese parfaits.
If you are near Shinjuku, Tokyo, Shinjuku Takano Fruit Parlour is a must visit. Their distinctive characteristic is their wide variety of attractive fruit parfaits. They also carry seasonal fruit parfaits, so if you really need that peach parfait in your life, stay tuned for their updates.
If you travel to the neighbouring town of Kagurazaka, you will notice a popular shop called ‘Gelateria Théobroma’. Their parfaits are inviting as they change with the seasons. Accommodations are also available for you to sit and enjoy your treat!
Something for everyone
Kyoto is well known for its ‘Uji Matcha’, which is considered one of Japan’s highest quality green teas. If you stop by at Ippoen Kyoto, they are bursting with so many parfaits, it looks heavenly.
They recently released a Matcha and Mint Chocolate parfait which looks absolutely mouth-watering. If you are a choco-mint fan since birth (like me), but also a recent lover of Matcha (like me), you would love this!
With branches around the country, you can even find them in Tokyo.
Of course, one matcha parfait is not enough. With just a 3-5 minutes walk from Gionshijo station Kyoto, Charyo Tsujiri has got you covered. For over 40 years, they have been a traditional tea house that is well known for serving various Uji-Matcha desserts.
Still looking for yummy Matcha treats? Well, you don’t have to travel all the way to Kyoto. Instead, you can find them on the 10th floor of the Daimaru Tokyo Store if you want to claim your name on this delightful treat.
Now… *ahem* I know these parfaits are not entirely accessible to everyone, and after looking at all these delicious photos, you’re probably craving one right now. I know I am! So if you have the available ingredients around, why not try making one yourself?
If you will excuse me… I just made one and I am about to dig in!