Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Art of Parfait

What Picasso and Matisse are to art, parfait are to ice cream. Japanese parfait are beautiful, delicious, magnificent layers of ice cream, fruit, candy, and treats. You really do eat with your eyes when it comes to this dessert, because the first thing you notice is the perfect arrangement of colors and textures. Almost too cute to eat, but you won’t be able to stop yourself after the first bite. I’ve been lucky enough to spend many summers in Japan, and always overindulge on self guided tours of parfait. 
But parfait eaters beware, once you taste one of these ice cream masterpieces, traditional, run-of-the-mill Baskin Robbin’s style ice cream sundaes will be ruined for you completely. 
White peach and coffee chocolate parfait from…Denny’s. DENNY’S!!!!! While American Denny’s are associated with cheap food that may lead to food poisoning, Japanese Denny’s have a completely different menu and is one of the more popular “family restaurant” franchises of Japan, consisting of delicious meals like seafood curry, donburi (rice bowls), western dishes, and of course, parfait. The white peach comprised of vanilla ice cream, peach sorbet, fresh white peach slices, peach sauce, and whipped cream. The coffee and chocolate included coffee and chocolate ice cream, cocoa puff cereal, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
A few of the parfait I enjoyed in Japan. From top to bottom: chocolate and coffee parfait complete with giant Pocky, crunchy corn flakes, and bitter coffee jelly, chocolate and vanilla parfait with almonds from the New Grand Hotel of Yokohama’s restaurant, and a tofu parfait with the extra deliciousness of red bean, green tea mochi, and fruit from a popular “tofu cafe”.
Parfait displays. Notice the adorable waffle sandwiches in the bottom photo. I know they aren’t parfait, but I felt they were too cute to be ignored. This really shows the differences Japan and America have when it comes to food appearance. Even in the cheapest, most basic restaurants of Japan, every display and dish is carefully thought out and treated as though it were in a 5 star restaurant. They really get that idea of what looks better, tastes better.
Perfect example of the insane detail put into parfait. My lucky little brother got to enjoy a strawberry parfait with strawberry pocky, berries, strawberry jelly, a white chocolate butterfly, corn flakes (popular component of many Japanese parfait. Great crunch!), and sponge cake! yumyum 
Little brother deep in concentration eating another strawberry parfait, this time from the famous Fujiya cafe. 
3 year old me posing with Peko Chan at Fujiya. Don’t remember what I ate here but there’s a good chance it was a parfait (sugar addict from birth)!

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