Friday, February 21, 2014

The Kingdom of Sweets - PATISSIER es KOYAMA (パティシエ エス コヤマ)



PATISSIER es KOYAMA may be quite unknown to many foreign tourists for the fact that it's not in Kobe itself, but in a city called Sanda in the Hyogo Prefecture (same prefecture as Kobe). However, to the locals and many Japanese people, this patisserie is very famous. What's special about this patisserie, or should I rather say a sweet complex, is the fact that PATISSIER es KOYAMA is not only a patisserie, but also a chocolatier, boulangier, and a confiserie. What makes it more interesting is the fact that all of these various kinds of goodness are housed and sold in different buildings. Okay, that may in fact, sound a bit complicated, so let me show you the map of PATISSIER es KOYAMA.


PATISSIER es KOYAMA has five major brands: es KOYAMA; ROZILLA; hanare; co. & m. es; es Boulangier.

es KOYAMA is where the most famous sweet of Chef Susumu Koyama, the Koyama Roll, is made and sold along with other cake desserts are made.

ROZILLA is where the chocolate creations are sold. Products such as Hard-type Chocolate Baumkuchen, chocolate bonbon and chocolate macaroons are sold there.

hanare is the cafe where customers can sit down to eat cake (served with ice-cream) or lunch. I love the lunch menu there. It's delicious!

co. & m. es is where the macaroons are made and sold. Various flavours such as yuzu and cherry blossom are available (seasonally).

es Boulangier is the bread shop. My favourite bread is the chocolate banana croissant like bread, and the churros. They're very reasonable priced. Another reason to love es KOYAMA even more!

My favourite product from es KOYAMA would have to be the Hard-type Chocolate Baumkuchen.


(credit: picture from es KOYAMA official site & http://entabe.jp/news/article/1295)

As for the cakes at hanare cafe, my favourite cake would have to be the Mille-feuille. (I've tried the Chocolate Fondant cake, Koyama Roll cake, and the mille-feuille so far.) What's so good about this Mille-feuille is the fact that it isn't too sweet. Between the layers of pastry sheets and custard, there is a thin layer of sour strawberry jam. It's a wonderful combination, especially when eaten with the complementary strawberry cheesecake ice-cream. As for the lunch set, I've only tried the Sanda-beef hamburger so far, and let me tell you, so far, so darn good!! All I can say is LOVE LOVE LOVE!! 


(What I had at hanare cafe)

If you have children with you, make sure to visit the small hut, called 未来制作所 Miraiseisakujo, next to the hanare cafe. There is a small hole that only children can enter to see the processes of making the cakes. The children are also able to purchase sweets that are only made available to them. However, they are not allowed to tell their parents what exactly that they see (which I think is quite hard for children), in order to make the parents even more curious. My friend said that Chef Koyama's purpose for making the hut only available to children, while parents have to sit and wait next to the vending machine was to help encourage conversation in the car after visiting PATISSIER es KOYAMA (not sure if the information is 100% correct).  

(Miraiseisakujo)

So, if you have the chance, please take time to visit PATISSIER es KOYAMA :) 

Official site of Es Koyama (Japanese) : http://www.es-koyama.com/index.html
Official site of Es Koyama (English) : http://www.es-koyama.com/global/index.html

How to Get There

From Osaka (45 mins)
From Osaka JR Station, take the train to Shin-Sanda on the Takarazuka Line. 
Then in front of the station near the Rotary, take the Number 44 bus towards Yurinokidaikoen Mae (ゆりのき台公園前) and get off at Yurinokidai Yubinkyokumae (ゆりのき台郵便局前).

From Kobe (60 mins) 
From Kobe 
From Sannomiya JR Station, take the train to Shin-Sanda (normally have to transfer at Amagasaki)
Then in front of the station near the Rotary, take the Number 44 bus towards Yurinokidaikoen Mae (ゆりのき台公園前) and get off at Yurinokidai Yubinkyokumae (ゆりのき台郵便局前).

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ezaki Glico Baiton d'or (luxury version of Pocky)

A few days late, but Happy Pocky Day... (11/11) Yes, in Japan, there is a Pocky Day. If you're wondering what Pocky Day is... it's similar to Valentine's Day where people give each other Pocky for the sake of romance. And.. No, you don't need to have a boyfriend to receive a Pocky. You can receive one from friends, family, etc. Plus, on the day, Pocky are on sale at the price of 111 yen, and in some drug store, the price lowered to 108 yen in the city I live in. 

So, in the honor of the belated Pocky Day, today I will be reviewing about Baton d'or (luxury version of Pocky). 





Baton d'or is an extended line of Pocky, but more luxurious through the use of expensive ingredients, produced by... Ezaki Glico. Baton d'or means 'golden stick' in French, which tries to emphasize the meaning behind this brand, how luxurious and sophisticate it is, guess that's why they use French name. This product line was released in the mid of 2012, and have been in quite a high demand. 


Currently, there are only two shops in the whole of Japan that sell Baton d'or, and both are in Osaka (Umeda Hankyu and Takashimaya Osaka). Most of the days, all of the Baton d'or are sold out by 2pm as they are quite limited. When I was purchasing these expensive Pocky at Umeda Hankyu, I had to wait in line for nearly two hours.


There are four main flavors: Strawberry, Milk (chocolate), Cafe, and Vanilla (white chocolate). 

Seasonal products: Purple sweet potato (October-December 2013), Uji Matcha (January 2014~) and Sakura (March 2014~)

I got to taste five flavors (Uji matcha, straberry, milk, cafe, vanilla), and I have to say, the bread stick part smells heavenly. Obviously, they are made with fine butter. As for the coating part, my favorite will have to be the Uji Matcha, as the favor is very deep and satisfactory. All the other coatings were good as well. Cafe (coffee) has real crushed beans mixed with white chocolate. Strawberry has real strawberries mixed with white chocolate. Milk chocolate has a strong sense of vanilla to it, while white chocolate has a slight smell of almond-ish.

At 481 yen per 20 sticks, it's rather expensive. Even though I think it's a good experience for me, I will stick with my normal Pocky sticks.


Recently, I've started a Facebook page for reviewing Japanese snacks in English and Thai. So if you're interested, please check it out :) https://www.facebook.com/japanesessweets

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Konigs-Krone's Kurone (Custard Danish) ケーニヒスクローネのクローネ

Konigs - Krone is one of the well known Western-style confectionery and cake company, which has its headquarter in Kobe. One of their well known desserts is the Kurone.

My first time tasting the Kurone was back in 2010, my first time in Kansai area. Now, in 2013, after almost 20 times traveling to Kansai in three years, I can definitely say that Kronigs - Krone's Kurone is not to be miss.

Kurone is pretty much a puff pastry in a cylinder shape with a hole in the middle. The shape itself, is rather similar with the Trdelnik in Czech Republic, and Slovakia. However, the middle hole is filled with vanilla custard filling. The Kurone is then topped off with a dust of icing powder.


The texture of the Kurone is rather crunchy (さくさく in Japanese) and not too sweet. Kurone is a great treat as it is served cold, and can be refrigerate for 2-3 days, so you don't have to worry about having to eat it right away. Kurone is a perfect snack for sight seeing, as you can walk around eating while holding one in your hand.


For a piece, Kurone costs 105 yen. Quite reasonable price, don't you think?

There are two flavors, custard and red beans (小豆), but I'm not too sure about this. I normally just order the one with custard fillings. The catch phrase of Kurone is「ケーニヒスクローネのクローネは、パンなのかパイなのか?パイなのかパンなのか?」which can be translate to Konigs-Krone's Kurone is... bread? pie? is it bread or pie? I thought the catch phrase was quite unique and interesting as to me, it's obviously a pie, as there is no.. glutenous pull to it, if you get what I'm trying to say.

Konigs-Krone's Kurone is available in major cities, Osaka, Kobe, Tokyo, Fukuoka, etc.


Here's a picture of the head office/shop in Kobe. The only sad thing is.. It's not available online, so you have to go to one of the shops to purchase one, which is terrible for my case as I live in a rather rural area.

Here's the link to the list of the shops in Japan: http://konigs-krone.co.jp/?page_id=75

For this, I give it 10/10 considering the price and taste.



Friday, August 9, 2013

Kyoto's Baumkuchen 京ばあむ (Kyoubaamu)

A few months back, I was in Kansai area for a few days, and I got the chance to look for the green tea baumkuchen that I purchased on my first trip to Kyoto two years back. At the time, I did not know that the cake was only sold in Kyoto, but thought that the cake was interesting, and purchased it by chance. It turns out that the cake was incredibly delicious, not too sweet like other baumkuchen I've tasted. 

I'm sure that many of you who has been to Kyoto before would have seen this Kyoubaamu before. Back in 2010, I think it was only available in Kyoto, however, when I was in Kansai this year, I brought it from Shin-Kobe Shinkansen station. Kyoubaamu is also available from various sellers on Rakuten. There are three available sizes, half of the 3.5cm roll, 3.5 cm roll, and 5.25 cm roll. 

Baumkuchen is a type of cake, which consists of thin layers of cake. Traditionally, Baumkuchen is made on a spit by brushing on even layers of batter and then rotating the spit around a heat source. Baumkuchen is well known around Europe, and is said to originate from a small town in Germany. Now, back to the Kyoubaamu. Kyoubaamu has two distinct sections, green tea section, and soy milk section. Yes, soy milk. I was very surprised after finding out about this certain ingredient. Two years back, I was not able to read Japanese, thus did not have a single clue that this cake was made from soy milk, not from cow's milk. The baumkuchen is also coated with thin coat of sugar syrup. 

As for the taste.. I think that this cake is really good to eat alone, or with other beverages. The cake itself, is not too sweet like others that you can only take a few bites. I ate the whole thing in one go, by myself. You can barely, if ever, taste the soy milk. I think that it is worth a try for all of the matcha (green tea) lovers out there. 

I think Kyoubaamu is available in major stations around Kansai area, as well as many gift shops in Kyoto. Also, here is the link to the official website: http://www.otabe.jp/shop/c/cbaum/


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Yamasaki's Okonomiyaki style Yakisoba bread ヤマサキのお好み焼き風やきそばパン

I found this bread a couple of days back from the local MaxValu supermarket. I brought this bread because it reminds me of the anime, Yakitate!! Japan. To be honest, I didn't expect much from it. I thought it was going to be yucky, but it's something that you can only taste in Japan, so why not. :P


What caught my attention was definitely the package. It wasn't just a simple Yakisoba bread, but an Okonomiyaki style! Secondly, I spotted the Katsuobushi (鰹節), which I was thought was very intriguing. I mean, how good would a dried fish on top of the bread be? It also saids in the package that the bread can be heated up, which I found that it does enchant the flavors.

The toppings of the Okonomiyaki part is the Katsuobushi, dressings, and seaweed, just like it would be on a typical Okonomiyaki.


The inside part is also a typical Yakisoba, which are wheat flour noodles fried with the sauce. I felt that the noodles were pretty mushy, which can put off some.

However, overall, I thought it was a great combination, and an interesting product. Especially after heating it up in the microwave, I thought they were great. Definitely will repurchase if I ever see one again. Yakisoba bread (焼きそばパン) are pretty common in Japan, but I've never seen Okonomiyaki style Yakisoba bread that's for sure.

I couldn't find the information of this bread on Yamasaki's website, however, I brought this bread for 100 yen.

If you ever see one, give it a try! You won't be disappointed. :)


Sunday, April 28, 2013

KitKat Region Pack キットカット味遊記

It has been awhile since I've reviewed a product, but... Here we go. :)

I'm sure that most of you who has travelled to Japan would have seen, if not brought, variations of Kit Kat that are available in various regions of Japan. In many places of Japan, there is a regional/city/prefecture flavor for Kit Kat, which is available in most of the souvenir shops. Being the snack addicted that I am, I went a step further, and searched for a box set that would have most of the regional flavors in one. Even though I wasn't sure if 'KitKat box set' existed, but I went ahead to search for it anyway. Luckily, I found that there was indeed a KitKat Japan set, which I'm not too sure about its English name, but in Japanese it is キットカット味遊記. I'm not too sure how to read the kanji, but I think it's something along the line of Miyuki (??) Anyway, for the purpose of this blog, I will just call it, KitKat Region Pack +_+


I think the best thing about this product is its packaging, both on the outside and inside, making it a prefect souvenir to take home. However, be warn that the packaging is pretty big, but of course, it's not heavy.


The picture above is the back side of the box showing all the 15 flavors inside the box, which consists of:

1. Edomame - grounded green soybean with white chocolate from Tohoku region.
2. Black Honey - collaboration with Eitaro Satoshi with white chocolate from Tokyo.
3. Wasabi - collaboration from Tamaru-ya with white chocolate from Shizuoka prefecture and Kanto region.
4. Red Beans Sandwich - classic menu called 'Ogura Toast' with milk chocolate from Tokai and Hokuriku region.
5. Lemon, mandarin, Lime - a classic blend of the three with white chocolate from Shikoku and Chukoku region.
6. Benimo - popular dessert made from purple taro with white chocolate from Okinawa and South Kyushu region.
7. Amao Strawberry - one of the most famous strawberry in Japan 'Amao' with white chocolate from Fukuoka.
8. Uji Matcha - collaboration with Ito Kyuemon teahouse comes Kyoto's Uji Matcha with white chocolate from Kyoto.
9. Hoji Tea - collaboration with Ito Kyuemon teahouse comes Kyoto's Hoji Tea with white chocolate from Kyoto.
10. Cinnamon sable (Hachi tsu bashi) - collaboration with Shogoin, famous for Kyoto's traditional sweets, comes Cinnamon sable flavor with white chocolate from Kyoto.
11. Apple - apple with milk chocolate from Shinshu (now known as Nagano Prefecture).
12. Pepper - collaboration with Yawata-ya comes one flavor pepper with bitter chocolate from Shinshu. 
13. Blueberry Cheesecake - blueberry cheesecake flavor with white chocolate from Koushinetsu and Onshinetsu.
14. Strawberry Cheesecake - strawberry cheesecake Yokohama edition with white chocolate from Yokohama and Kanto region.
15. Le Lectier - A kind of pear known as 'Le Lectier' speciality of the region with white chocolate from Niigata Prefecture.

As for the tastes, I actually didn't like most of it, except for the Amao Strawberry, Strawberry Cheesecake, and the Blueberry cheesecake flavor. (I wouldn't buy it again for myself though) Most of their flavors are pretty strange, if not a bit fake AND very sweet. I thought I was going to enjoy the Uji Matcha flavor, but it turned out to be very sweet, and somewhat fake. I definitely prefer Nestle's new Otona Matcha Kitkat to this Uji Matcha one.

However, I do think it's a good souvenir for people who are interested in the different regional flavours  Trying all of these flavours was indeed very interesting. >.<


I brought this set from Nestle.co.jp online shop, and it costs 2,500 yen (exclude shipping) back in February. The good news is that in the last month or so, the price decreased to 2,000 yen. However, the bad news is... the KitKat Region Pack is no longer available through Nestle.co.jp online shop, but I do think that it will come back on sale soon, as it's a pretty good souvenir product, especially for international tourists.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Manneken Belgian Waffles

Finally, final exams are over, and it's holiday time!

In the past three to four months, I've been to kansai twice. Both times, I had to at least visit the Manneken Belgian Waffles shop. Manneken shop can be found all across the country. Surprisingly, there are around eleven Manneken shops in Osaka! The one I always visited was the one in Osaka Station. It's very close to the central entrance of the station, and you could never miss it with the constant long waiting line.



The waffles are freshly made, however, from observation, I think that the doughs are pre-made. These waffles smell heavenly, and I think that's one of the attractions of the Manneken. It's especially good in the winter when you crave for something to keep you warm.



Currently, there are: purple sweet potato (limited edition), plain, chocolate, maple, almond, and sweet potato flavor available. When I was in Osaka in January, there was vanilla custard available as well. I have to say that in my opinion, the plain flavor is the best. According to the description on the website, the plain flavor is the top seller. The waffle itself gives off a wonderful smell of butter, and after it has been cooked, is coated with honey. The waffle costs 147 yen each. Personally, I think it is quite pricy for a piece of waffle, but it's definitely worth it!


Sadly, Manneken isn't available where I live, however, if you are in Osaka, Tokyo Kobe... etc (you know, the bigger cities), it's definitely worth a try!

For more information, please visit: http://www.manneken.co.jp/index.html?f=1