Even though it doesn’t have anything close to the number of sightseeing options in Tokyo or Kyoto, should you find yourself in Nagoya, consider yourself lucky. The city is one of Japan’s underappreciated gastronomic gems, and if you have the chance, you owe it to yourself to try the chicken wings made from the regional fowl, called kochin.
This being Japan, though, if there’s the opportunity to make food cute, someone’s going to do it, which is where this adorable chick-shaped custard pudding, made with kochin eggs, comes in.
Like a lot of major rail stations in Japan, Nagoya Station is encased in an array of shops and restaurants, one of which is Café Gentiane Leger.
Although the French name seems to translate as “Café of the Light Herbs,” the restaurants claim to fame is something far sweeter in taste and appearance, the custard pudding called purin in Japanese. Ordinary purin is tasty enough to win over plenty of fan in Japan, despite having a decidedly plain appearance in a country where presentation is often considered as important as flavor.
▼ Normal purin
The dessert is fairly ubiquitous in Japan, though, so Café Gentiane Leger does two things to set theirs apart. First, they incorporate highly-prized kochin eggs. Second, they add a topping of vanilla mousse, which is then styled into a tiny chick. Finally, they add a couple slivers of white chocolate for the wings and crown.
A cute dessert needs a cute name, and the café settled on Piyorin, a combination of “piyo piyo” (the sound of a chick chirping, in Japanese) and “purin.”
Like the animal donuts we recently tried in Kawasaki , each Piyorin is handmade, and fans say there’re subtle differences in their expressions.
With “cute” and “sweet” checked off, all Café Gentiane Leger needed to complete its Japanese snack bingo card was “seasonal,” which comes courtesy of a revolving lineup of limited-edition flavors and designs. With the current renaissance of green tea flavors, mattcha was a no-brainer.
Fukuoka amaou strawberry versions get their crown feathers redesigned to resemble a strawberry stem.
Here we see the special version for Hinamatsuri, the Girls’ Festival in April. Usually, families decorate their homes with dolls of an Emperor and Empress. Café Gentiane Leger’s pair is less traditional, but certainly better-tasting.
There’s also a special pair of Piyorin for celebrating Tanabata, the romantic Star Festival held in mid-summer.
And of course, with Japan’s strong association of sweets with Christmas Eve, you can also purchase these guys in December.
Christmas isn’t the only Western holiday represented, either. Each year Halloween becomes more and more popular in Japan, and costumers with a sweet tooth can enjoy this pumpkin-flavored Piyorin.
Even if you’re not planning to spend any extended amount of time in Nagoya, you can still get your Piyorin fix, since Café Gentiane Leger is located just one minute outside the Shinkansen gates of Nagoya Station. As long as you’re willing to add 30 minutes to your travel time on your trip across Japan, you can hop off one bullet train, pick up your dessert, and catch the next Shinkansen that comes through.
▼ They’ll be waiting.
Café Gentiane Leger /カフェ ジャンシアーヌ レジェ
Address: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi, Nakamura-ku, Meieki 1-1-4 Shinkansendori-uchi
Open 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
Source: Naver Matome
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