Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Tokyo] Toraya 虎屋

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Toraya 虎屋

Add*: Galleria B1F, Tokyo Midtown, D-B117, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Tel: 03-5413-3541
Hours: 11:00am-9:00pm

Tokyo Midtown Galleria B1F is a foodie wonderland. Sleek and stylish shops of Sadaharu Aoki, Henri Le Roux, Jean-Paul Hévin, and Maison Kayser bewitch passerby with their alluring display of bright colors and fancy garnishes. Admist all the hustle and bustle, the understated elegance of Toraya is in a class of its own. One of the oldest makers of traditional Japanese sweets, Toraya has been supplying confectionery to the Imperial Family since the 16th century. For those with an appreciation for the subtle sensibilities of wagashi (和菓子), Toraya is a must-visit.

*Various locations in Japan and France. Check website for details.

The sweets at Toraya appeal to much more than just the sense of taste. Rather, they engage all fives senses of appearance, taste, texture, scent, and sound. Appearance: the beautiful combination of shapes, colors, and designs, inspired by both natural and cultural images, is a feast for the eyes.Texture: soft or crisp, moist or dry, the texture one feels when handling, cutting, and tasting the sweets reveal the quality of ingredients and superior craftsmanship. Taste: the natural, distinctive flavors of ingredients are showcased through careful preparation. Scent: delicate fragrances enhance the taste without overwhelming the subtleties. Sound: lyrical names from classical prose or poetry, often suggestive of a particular season, are a pleasure to the ears.

As a gift, I received a box of monaka (最中), confectionary made of azuki bean filling sandwiched between two thin crisp wafers made from sticky-rice. The package includes two varieties of monaka: cherry blossom shape with soy bean paste (白餡), and plum blossom shape with red kidney bean paste (こし餡). Like most wagashi, monaka are quite sweet and are best  when enjoyed with a cup of green tea.

Other than monaka, Toraya also makes beautiful renditions of namagashi 生菓子 (seasonal cakes in the forms of flowers and leaves), yokan 羊羹 (thick jellied sweet made of azuki bean paste, kanten and sugar), higashi 干菓子 (a dry sweets made with glutinous rice flour, sugar and starch), and much  more. Next time in Japan, make sure to visit a Toraya branch and try some of their exquisitely crafted Japanese traditional sweets.

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Written by sugarednspiced

May 11th, 2011 at 5:40 am

Posted in tokyo

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