Monday, May 12, 2014

Bourbon Petit Strawberry Langue du Chat

Since returning to the U.S., I have seen a pastry called a "bear claw/paw" many times. I've never actually consumed one, because they are huge and have almonds and my husband doesn't eat nuts and I don't want to be responsible for the full calorie load on my own. The reason that I've seen so many of them is that my husband has a fondness for donuts so I've seen a lot of different donut shops and their various takes on the "bear paw".

Sometimes, these specimens actually resemble the paws and claws of a bear in their shape and they definitely have verisimilitude when it comes to size. At others, it's just a rectangular dough concoction which someone has haphazardly snipped the edges of in a weak attempt to make it look like it could be a paw in an abstract or cubist representation. In other cases, it's just an almond pastry that is square or rectangular and has the same components as the traditional bear paw, but doesn't look like one at all. In one case, it looks like a bear paw only if your bear is a mutant with a lot more toes than usual.

The idea of how foods drift in appearance from the name they have been given was brought to mind because "langue du chat" means "cat's tongue". The original is a long, stretched shape with has two somewhat spoon-shaped ends. Though this is called "langue du chat", you'd have to have a pretty weird cat to have a tongue shaped like these nearly perfectly round little cookies. Clearly, like the bear paw, the composition appears to be the reason for the name. That being said, I've read that it's supposed to be a chocolate, not a cookie, but then I never encountered the name at all until I moved to Japan. There, langue du chat tends to refer to two crispy butter-cookie-like wafers with a  modest amount of sweet chocolate filling some sort. These cookies definitely fit the description in terms of content, if not in appearance, of the langue du chat that I experienced in Japan.

A quick whiff reveals a pretty potent strawberry chocolate smell. The first sensation is largely textural rather than about flavor. The outside cookie, rather disappointingly, doesn't have much flavor at all. It does have a slightly melt-in-your-mouth and somewhat crispy at the same time texture. Most of the flavor comes from the rather sweet strawberry filling, but there is little enough filling that you don't get overwhelmed by the sweetness. The punchy strawberry flavor that is carried by the acids in them doesn't come through until you have a second cookie, which at 12.5 calories per cookie, you can certainly justify doing.

I paid a dollar for these at Marukai Japanese market and I find myself torn about how I regard them. They are certainly decent little cookies. The texture of the cookie itself is excellent, but I also wish it carried some margarine or flour flavor to create greater depth. I'm absolutely in low with the texture and the tiny size (each is about the size of your thumbnail), but I'm not an enormous fan of strawberry. The bottom line is that I'm happy that I bought these, but I don't think I'd get them again. I am inspired to try a chocolate version in the future. Because of that, I'll settle on a "happy" rating rather than "indifferent".

1 comment:

Linh Do said...

Wow!! I just stumbled across your blog.. I am inspired by all your posts of Japanese snacks!! love reading them. I have just started uploading some myself that I purchased on my recent trip to Japan.