When I lived in Japan, I fell in love with Mont Blanc. Not of the French Alps variety, but a dish that was adapted from (still French) Mont-Blanc aux marrons, a dessert of puréed, sweetened chestnuts topped with whipped cream. A mound of pureed chestnuts covered with a blanket of cream does remind a snow-capped peak, but the Japanese made the dessert their own by inverting the structure. Typically, a Mont Blanc (monburan) has a sponge base with layers of cream, chestnut cream and finally, a luxurious mound of sweet chestnut ‘spaghetti’ on top. It is pure indulgence and my favourite dessert in the world.
To me, it looks as good as it tastes, so I could not resist snapping a couple of forbidden photos of Mont Blanc cakes in the Mitsukoshi’s food hall…
Finally, the time came to make my choice and take one home. I settled on this towering concoction from Giotto patisserie and was rewarded with layers of melting, eggy sponge, plain and chestnut-flavoured cream and a blanket of nutty, earthy chestnut puree. Heaven!
(Note the meticulous packing into a shopping bag, cake box, including a mini packet of ice, tiny cutlery, napkin etc. Normally, such elaborate packaging would elicit cries of ecological protest on my part, but watching a Japanese salesperson pack your goods is just mesmerising. I felt I would be committing a faux pas by interfering with that ritual!)
Finally, dear readers, I found a wonderful recipe online for those who would like to attempt to recreate this concoction at home.
I also found a somewhat close imitation of Mont Blanc in a Japanese patisserie in Sydney, and would be writing about it soon.
Mitsukoshi Department Store
4-6-16 Ginza, Chuo-ku
Opening Hours: 10:00am-8:00pm, year-round except 1 January