Saturday, March 05, 2005
I Eat Pierre Herme: Emotion Ispahan
Ever since I spotted the new Pierre Herme store on Aoyama-dori in its pre-opening days, I've been meaning to go for a visit, but somehow, even though it's only a 15-minute walk from my house, I never found the time. Then last week one day, walking back from Shibuya with a bamboo stick that’s too long to carry onto the train (more on that later) I passed it again. I wasn’t going to go in, what with the shopping bags and the 2m stick, but the displays in the windows were just too attractive to ignore and I found myself stepping into the bright and airy space.
It’s a room about the size of a small café. In the part facing the street were rows of Lucite pedestals showcasing jams and loaf cakes, but the real jewels were kept in the glass counters: macaroons, Plaisirs Sucres, Ispahans of different sizes and shapes… There were so many of them that I lost count. What to do? How does one choose just one? Then it dawned on me. With the store so close to my house, I can take my time and go through them one by one. When else will I ever find myself in such ideal circumstances that allow me to sample the creations of the Picasso of French pastry so easily? I mean, I could come everyday if I choose to: walking Libby, on the way to my cooking lessons, or just out for errands (never mind it took me almost a whole month to make it here). So it was decided then and there that I would eat everything in the store, one at a time. See, doing things systematically has a lot of merits. One, decision making is so much easier because you don’t feel like you are leaving anything out. You know you will get to it later. Two, instead of wolfing down two or three things at a sitting and having trouble remember any one of them later, by spacing them out, I am sure every item will have my full attention.
There was no question about what my first picking was going to be though: Emotion Ispahan, pleasing to the eye and contains one of my all-time favorite fruit, lychee. To be exact, a refreshing lychee julep jelly lines the bottom of the glass, followed by a layer of punchy raspberry compote, then a layer of rose infused cream. A delicate piece of rose macaroon is laid on top of the glass, with a deep crimson rose petal perched on top as a final touch. Perfection!
Now let’s talk about the taste. The shop girl wanted to make sure that I use a long spoon to scoop up the three layers so I taste all the flavors in one bite. I just want to say that I don’t know why nobody else thought of putting lychee and raspberry together before. Lychee on its own is sometimes almost too sweet, and raspberry too sour, but the blending of the two complimented each other so well that it could only be described as divine. The genius of this dessert however, lies in the rose cream layer, which reigns in the two strong yet distinct flavors in a subtle finish that leaves you yearning for more. I am speechless with glee. Jason, on the other hand, thought it was just *average* and nothing *special*. Now do you believe me when I say he’s one picky customer?!