“Don’t let the creation kill the creativity,” writes Dominique Ansel on his bakery’s website. It’s the perfect sentiment for a chef who consistently pushes to stay ahead of the curve, inventing new and exciting hybrid desserts on a monthly basis. As a result, there is always a fresh surprise waiting at his bakeries; even the famed Cronut gets a new recipe every month.
Join the line that forms every afternoon outside his Tokyo store and the excitement is palpable. Each branch around the world boasts its own unique menu of treats, which means most of the desserts on offer here – and featured below – are only available in Japan. Still, Ansel never resorts to a cliché. You’ll find matcha on the menu, but it’ll be in the form of a green frog, for example. And he’ll take inspiration from Okinawa’s seasonal passion fruit, but you’ll find it transformed into a jam and used as a filling in June’s delicious Cronut.
We went along to taste the Cronut for ourselves, along with a host of other mouthwatering desserts on offer. Here are our top 10 favorite items on the menu…
The bakery’s signature dessert gets a fresh spin on the recipe every month, with June giving us a version filled with passion fruit jam, lavender garnish, and sugar sprinkles on the outside (above). Incredibly, it takes three days to make each batch, which is why they only sell 200 to 250 per day.
2. Frozen S’more
The Dominique Ansel team sources real wooden branches from Chiba for this one! Calling to mind nights spent around a campfire, it’s an indulgent combination of vanilla ice cream covered with chocolate flakes and then enrobed in honey marshmallow, which is torched to order.
3. Hot Choc Message Bottle
Ideal for a gift or just a takeaway treat for yourself, this glass bottle is filled with chocolate chunks and chocolate shells (because if this were a real message in a bottle, you’d be throwing it in the ocean, right?). All you have to do is add hot milk and stir.
4. Cookie Shot™
Reminisce about childhood days spent snacking on milk and cookies with this innovative take on the traditional combo. A soft cookie is shaped to look like a shot glass and served with fresh vanilla milk, so you can sip, bite and chew all at the same time.
5. Mr Roboto
Melonpan is a type of sweet bun popular in Japan, and Mr Roboto is Dominique Ansel’s very own version of the dessert. Only available in Tokyo, this quirky treat is filled with hojicha, which is sweet, roasted brown tea cream.
6. Croak Croak Frog
Released in mid-May, this religieuse (a traditional French pastry made with a double-decker cream puff) is as adorable as it is delicious. It’s filled with matcha cream and fresh white peach jam. An ideal treat for rainy season afternoons.
7. Paris Tokyo
As one of the Japan-only menu items, this is a must-try. It puts a twist on the French Paris Brest dessert, which is usually made of choux pastry and praline-flavored cream. This version consists of matcha ganache and soft passion fruit curd.
8. Jasmine Flower
Look closely and you’ll notice tiny droplets of “morning dew” on the white chocolate petals. It’s this kind of attention to detail that separates Dominique Ansel from the rest. This beautiful Jasmine Flower is made of mango, jasmine and lychee mousse, and almond biscuit.
9. Central Park Basket
Enjoy lobster rolls, watermelon gazpacho, fudge brownies, and apple cider doughnuts served on a red-and-white-checked tablecloth. They even let you borrow a pair of cute sunglasses to complete the look. The name is, of course, a nod to New York’s famous park.
10. Blossoming Hot Chocolate
This ingenious drink launched in spring, taking social media by storm and making us want to order it again and again just to watch as the flower-shaped marshmallow is delicately placed on the surface of the hot chocolate and slowly unfolds, revealing a tiny ball of cocoa in the middle.
Dominique Ansel Bakery Japan
Address: 6-7-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hours: Mon-Sun 10am-7pm
Phone: 03 3486 1329
Note: 1F menu is only sweets, 2F menu offers both savory snacks and sweets.
This sponsored post appears in the June 2016 issue of Tokyo Weekender magazine.