Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Tokyo] Fukusaya 福砂屋

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Fukusaya 福砂屋 is a historical cake shop famous for its Castella (カステラ), a simple Japanese sponge cake made with sugar, flour, eggs, and syrup. Though it is now a specialty of Nagasaki, Castella originally came from Castile of Portugal, and was brought to Japan in the 16th century. Fukusaya has been baking these divinely fluffy and moist Castella cakes since 1624, and their website quite clearly explains the process. As impressive as the taste, on the other hand, is the packaging. Let’s go layer by layer…

First, a yellow wrapping paper that depicts the founding date of Fukusaya, the shop’s various locations, and its signature bat-shaped logo. In Chinese (which the Japanese also use in the form of Kanji), “bat (蝠)” has the same pronunciation as “happiness/luck (福)” , which is why Fukusaya chose the bat as its store logo.

Inside the yellow wrapping paper is a thin but sturdy yellow paper box, again with the bat logo.

Opening the paper box reveals a sealed washi paper-textured spun polyester sleeve.

Opening the spun polyester wrap reveals a white waxed paper sleeve.

A sweet fragrance fills the air as the wax paper sleeve is lifted, and voila! a beautiful cut of Castella is finally revealed.

There are light indentations on the waxed paper sleeve, which are used as a cutting guide for portioning individual servings. This is just a guide, of course, and I happily ignored it as I sliced myself a huge cut.

Fukusaya Castella is moist, fluffy, completely oil-free and perfectly sweet. With a cup of tea, this would make my perfect afternoon.

If you visit Japan, bring back a box or two for your own enjoyment or as gifts for family and friends. Check out their website for additional information on where the cakes can be purchased and the exact price for different cuts.

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Written by sugarednspiced

January 29th, 2011 at 2:44 am