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Kyoto’s pistachio and cherry parfait in a nutshell

Kyoto’s pistachio and cherry parfait in a nutshell

The rainy season is in full swing but Kyoto City (京都市 Kyoto-shi) is already preparing for the coming summer. Located in a mountain basin, the old capital is famous for its sweltering climate and locals are always looking for ways to cool down. During the olden days, people believed that eating eel would cool down the body but that was slowly replaced with simply eating kakigori (かき氷 shaved ice) as a more budget-friendly option. In modern-day Japan, eating parfait is considered the most elegant way to refresh yourself while  indulging in sweet summer tastes. Having become more of an art than a delicacy, eateries are always looking to outdo competitors with carefully constructed desserts. Many of which are exclusive to the Kyoto area.

 

(Image credit: Ilse Montald)

 

Near the City Museum in a more traditional part of downtown Kyoto is renowned chocolatier Bel-Amer. More so than the taste, it’s the colourful decorations and the creativity of their desserts that rank them high on what Japanese call the Insuta-bae (インスタ映え Instagram-worthy)  scale. This year’s trend seems to be pistachios and they have appeared inside convenience store snacks and as a flavouring for tapioca drinks. So it only makes sense to create a parfait based around them.

 

 

(Image credit: Ilse Montald)

 

The theme of Bel-Amer is “chocolates that suit Japan”. Entering the shop, this philosophy shines through as traditional patterns on chocolate bars and intricate seasonal decorations on their single chocolate circles. The selection changes almost every month and dedicated chocolate fans come to buy the latest creations on a regular basis. The cafe on the second floor not only serves desserts but also savoury meals with hints of chocolate, such as chocolate curry and pasta with cacao nibs.

 

(Image credit: Ilse Montald)

 

The stars of this season are their new matcha parfait and the pistachio parfait. To keep up with the latest trends, I chose the summer-themed pistachio parfait which was beautifully-topped with “fireworks”. Officially called the “Pistachio and Cherry Parfait”, the top is decorated with printed white chocolate, edible flower petals and pistachios. The acidity of the cherries matches perfectly with the pistachio ice cream on top and pistachio cream underneath. Looking at this parfait as a whole, the colour balance is perfect with cherry cream locked between custard cream and vanilla ice cream. The bottom is transparent with light cherry-flavoured jelly cubes. Truly a photogenic dish. The flavours are not very strong but this matches with the nature of Japanese cuisine, where each ingredient is supposed to be tasted in their purest forms. 

 

(Image credit: Ilse Montald)

 

Since the Pistachio and Cherry Parfait is available from 1st July until an unspecified  date in summer, it is bound to become more popular. After all, Kyoto is a city that loves beauty and delicacy in traditional arts, making this parfait a perfect addition to the current and yet-to-come summer menu of the city.

 

BEL AMER Kyoto Villa (ショコラ ベル アメール)
Address: 66 Sanjo-Sakaimachi Higashi-iru, Masuya-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 604-8111
Opening hours: 10am–8pm (last order at 7:30pm)
Tel: +81 75-221-7025
*Irregular holidays, please call in advance if you’re visiting

 

Header image credit: Ilse Montald

 

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