Friday, April 6, 2012

Choco Cro Strawberry Daifuku and Tiramisu

 From the top: strawberry daifuku, tiramisu, and chocolate (the basic croissant)

If something involves a lot of fat, there is a good chance that the French are doing it quite well, and if you know that the "cro" in "Choco Cro" means croissant, you'll know why I'm invoking the French. Sometimes, it means that the Japanese can do it even better and I've been told that is the case with these pain au chocolat. Since I've never been to France, however, I'll have to take the word of other people who type about their impressions in various blogs and forums. I'm sure they're just as great authorities on this matter as the likes of me.

One thing that both the French and the Japanese have is a fearlessness when it comes to fat consumption. You can order grilled chicken skin (no chicken, just the skin) in yakitori-ya (grilled meat on sticks joints). I also learned from long experience that the candy often has a higher fat content and that is what makes it so rich and decadent compared to American chocolate.

Americans jumped on a low-fat and non-fat bandwagon at some point in the 80's and have been suffering because of it ever since. They subbed sugar and chemicals for all of the fat they cut out, and lost texture and flavor. When it comes to "Choco Cro", a chain of cafes that sells tiny little croissants stuffed with rich fillings, "fat" is definitely where it's at. From the buttery pastry to the rich, creamy fillings, these are a lipid party for your body and every fat cell is invited.

For the time being, Choco Cro is selling a special "strawberry daifuku" version. It is meant to emulate the Japanese sweet which is composed of mochi (rice cake), red beans, and a real fresh strawberry. I've had the real deal and, while it can be very good if it is super fresh, it can also be a little weird if the berries have been inside for more than a day. Strawberries don't age well in the best of circumstances. When they are surrounded by a heavy wad of sweet red bean paste, they do even less well.

If you look at the picture above, you will see there are three fillings piped into the top one. One is the "mochi", the next is chocolate, and the last is strawberry. If there is actual sweet bean paste in there, it didn't really shine through in the flavor since my husband liked this and he hates anko. Mostly, I thought it had a pleasantly strong strawberry flavor coupled with a good chocolate taste and a weird textural element from the "mochi". I didn't hate this, but I wouldn't choose to get it again.

The tiramisu (center one) incorporated a cream cheese filling along with chocolate and the most marginal hint of coffee. The cream cheese is supposed to sub for the mascarpone and I thought it was delicious, but my husband didn't care for it at all. Again, that has to do with his general lack of affinity for cream cheese.

Like all Choco Cro croissants, the pastry was flaky, light, and had the perfect combination of crispy and moist dough. It's buttery and very satisfying both in terms of the texture and taste. The fillings are very much something the taster will respond to subjectively and I loved the tiramisu and my husband enjoyed the strawberry daifuku. Of course, we both remain great fans of the classic chocolate "choco cro". If you're in Japan and have a chance, a visit to "Choco Cro" is a must. You will not be disappointed, even with the smallish portions at slightly high prices (about 250-300 yen per or around $3 each). The only thing I'd recommend for non-smokers is to get one "to go" because they have the most pathetic partition between smoking and non-smoking that I have ever experienced.


Alicia Subirana Bruach said...

You know what? I don't care about the fat, if it looks great and the taste is AMAZING, I eat it! hahaha
No, really, they look fantastic :)

Sherry said...

My kids and I hate the regular ones, but adore the strawberry ones.

Georgiana said...

Hurrah! My husband and I are here in Japan for two weeks on honeymoon and have been to Choco Cro twice! I've lived in Paris and London and can hand-on-heart say Choco Cro do the nicest chocolate croissant I've ever eaten! Great review, well done :D

ethan said...

I tried a tea flavoured one last year, however I couldn't find it again this year when I returned to Japan. Do you know if it's a limited edition one just like the daifuku?

Orchid64 said...

Ethan: I'm sure it's a limited edition, but if it's green tea, it'll probably be back again during a particular season. Sometimes, these things come back around every year and sometimes every two or three years.

Nic said...

Actually, there is anko in the ichigo daifuku chococro. The brown paste that you identified as chocolate is actually anko! Trust me, I work at St Marc Cafe.