Friday, September 26, 2008

french fair

Thursday was the start of the French fair at Takashimaya Osaka, which I read about in a magazine. (About this time last year, I was checking out their Spain fair.)

The fair was featuring Fauchon eclairs for the first time in Kansai, macaron and chocolates by Michel Belin and a father-son MOF (which is the highest distinction in France)--bakers of Art de pain, as well as other condiments like Maille mustards, wines from France and knick knacks like postcards and accessories.

I got to Takashimaya at 10 to 10 a.m and noticed there was a line for a direct elevator to the 7th floor (the event floor), so without thinking, I jumped in line.

Looking around at the people in line though, I noticed that they were mostly elderly women. I turned and asked the lady next to me what she was standing in line for, she said that she was part of a fan club and was waiting to buy tickets to a Kabuki production.

She asked me what I was standing in line for, I said, "eclairs". Her face turned puzzled and then I told her that Takashimaya was having a French fair. She said, "oh". I asked the man lining people up what the line was for, he said, "tickets for the Kabuki production".

The lady looked at me again after hearing what the man said and told me in a whisper to just stay in line and ride the elevator up.

When we got to the 7th floor, everyone on the elevator was shuttled to the ticket counter, I on the other hand, walked in the opposite direction.

Have you ever entered a Japanese department store when it first opens? Everyone and I mean, EVERYONE, bows and says Ohayoo gozaimasu (good morning) or Irrashaimase (welcome) to you, like you are royalty or famous. Anyway, since I was the first one on the floor (because I took the direct elevator), there was this odd silence and as I passed the different areas of the fair, everyone bowed and said "good morning" to me (very embarrassing, actually!)

It was a L-O-N-G walk through the greetings and bowing, but I finally made it to the food area and found Fauchon. (Did you know they make, fill and decorate each one by hand? I saw a mini documentary of the factory in Japan which makes these eclairs.)

They had regular sized eclairs running 473 yen to 578 yen a piece (about US$4.73-5.78) and a mini set for 1260 yen (about US$12.60). I decided to buy the mini set because it was the best way to taste several.

In the mini set there were 5 mini eclairs:
bleu blanc rouge (blue white red) specially made for the fair--vanilla custard with bits of fresh strawberries

au chocolat--rich chocolate ganache (no photo as it found its way to mouth before I could take a photo of it)

au the a la pomme (red with yellow dots)--filled with Fauchon apple tea flavored cream

leopard cafe--filled with chantilly & coffee cream topped with white chocolate and a thin leopard print chocolate

eclair kokushifururu (didn't know how to translate this)--the regular sized one has 3 different creams inside (orange, violet & rose), but the mini only had one cream--orange.

Isn't the chocolate ladybug on top, cute??

My favorite would be the kokushifururu because the cream tasted like earl grey more than orange and the cream of the bleu blanc rouge because the fresh strawberries was a nice addition.

Next to the eclairs were macaron! I decided to get the box of 5 also 1260 yen (about US$12.60)--(they didn't have a handout list of what these were, and I didn't have time to write them down, so I am listing them as what I thought they were)

hazelnut (beige)--hazelnut cream
choclat (dark brown)--ganache
framboise/amande (red/white)--raspberry gel filling
citron (yello)--lemon cream
pistache (green)--pistachio/coconut cream

A couple of counters away from Fauchon was Michel Belin. He is a chocolatier in Southern France and has 3 shops (2 in Albi & 1 in Toulouse). He was mostly selling chocolates but he also had macaron. I got 3 at 241 yen a piece (about US$2.41 each).

violette--this one was filled with griotte (morello cherry) and pear puree made into a gel

rose--loved this one the rose flavor from the cream filled my mouth as soon as I bit into it. It was fragrant like bulgarian rose, but not overpowering or perfumy.

salted caramel--this one surprised me because there was actually gooey salted caramel as the filling!

As I made my way out of the fair, I stopped at the Art de Pain counter. This father & son team of bakers have a shop in Strasbourg, Alsace and both were named MOF. Their breads are the hard type. I picked up a sesame loaf, 525 yen (about US$5.25). This loaf was huge! (I couldn't pick it up with the flimsy plastic thongs they had and needed assistance from a worker at the counter) The thing I like about it is that there are 3 corners which means you get 3 "ends".

We had part of this for breakfast today, the bread was thick, chewy and filled with sesame seeds. With a smudge of cream cheese and some fig was delicious way to start the day.

Even with the delicious start, the weather is dreary today--rainy with some thunder and lightning...think I'll curl up with a book.

Have a great weekend.


Anonymous said...

my names jenni and i have been reading all yur entires for about a year now and i have to say i love everything about your blog it makes me smile and giggle looking at ever cute and delious picture
i always wanted to live in japan but sadly my japanese would make my boyfriend cry(he's from Kyoto)

Jenster said...

I love eclairs. The ones you featured didn't even look real -- They were so perfect and shiny!

Wish I could have attended this with you, but I probably would have purchased the entire floor's worth of goods. And eaten all of them!

K and S said...

thanks Jenni! maybe you could visit Japan?!

I think if I looked at the savory items I would have bought more, Jenster :)

Take care you two.

Anonymous said...

Hi kat, tres chic :)

bet you could eat those minis like a sushi :)

K and S said...

Shar...just pop them in your mouth :o

Take care.

Tamakikat said...

Hi there,

I saw a wee spot on 'Chinchinpuipui' about Fauchon eclairs yesterday. The darjeeling and the coffee cream ones looked and sounded especially good. Bit surprised to see just how hands on making eclairs is. The prices seemed a bit steep too. Glad to hear there's a mini set for 1260 yen-that's totally me.

I did the french thing myself today buying a 'benie' and 'croissant au chocolat' at Le Petit Mec (near Oike Karasuma) in Kyoto-both delicious.

Look forward to visiting the French Fair coming to Kyoto on Monday.


Phoebe said...

wow it had a french corner!! neat! Apologise for the spam comments, my blogger account wasn't working so I kept on typing my password...turns out that it did work...^_^""

-annabanana- said...

I'm super green with envy over those eclairs!!! huk~

K and S said...

Not sure if all eclair makers do everything by hand, but Fauchon apparently does, Tamakikat :) Will be interesting to see what you try next week!

Glad you were able to comment, Phoebe :)

Thanks Annabanana!

Take care everyone.

Deb in Hawaii said...

What beautiful eclairs--I love all the bright colors. Everything you bought looks incredible--I would have gone nuts there I think!

K and S said...

Thanks Deb, like I mentioned to Jenster, if I looked at the savory stuff I probably would have bought more :0

Take care.

Barbara said...

Kat the fair looks fun. Fabulous pastries. Loved your fish story on previous post. Enjoy your weekend.

K and S said...

Thanks Barbara, it was nice and the pastries delicious :) Glad to bring a smile your way with the fish story!

Take care.

Rowena said...

I'm drooling over all of these treats but that eclair with the ladybug...TOO CUTE!

And since I'm here (internet still sucky), better get in a comment on the previous post on the tricolor tapioca. Looks delicious and so pretty!

Anita said...

How fun! The eclairs look out of this world. I wish they loved French pastries in the US as much as you guys do and had fairs like this!

bourgogne said...

everything looks yum. i wish we got a japan fest in france, like you get a france fest in japan!

K and S said...

I'm glad you internet service is somewhat working, Rowena :)

I hope the US will catch onto French pastry soon, Anita :)

I hope France will bring a Japan festival there soon, Bourgogne :)

Take care everyone.

genkitummy said...

Wow! What a fun day! All the treats look delicious! I cannot believe they decorate those eclairs by hand!

Cakespy said...

Oh my goodness--those eclairs are AMAZING. And everything else looks so delicious too!!!

K and S said...

I couldn't believe it either, Genki, makes you understand why they charge such high prices for them.

Thanks Cakespy, they were indeed amazing!

Take care you two.