You thought you weren’t going to hear anything on Pierre Herme until I’m back in Tokyo, didn’t you? (Whoever this hypothetical “you” that is holding your breath waiting for the next edition of the PH series is.) Did you think I’d abandon you like that? Oh no, I’m way ahead of you! The week before I flew back to the States, knowing that my only choice of store bought dessert would be Dunkin donuts and Cheesecake factory cheesecakes for the next month, I treated myself to, not one, but two PH creations. Watch and weep, my friends, watch and weep.
The first item that caught my eye was Emotion Ludic. It must be a new spring release item as this was the first time I have seen it. Like everything in the Emotion range, Ludic is a study of layered flavors. While I still remember, here are the layers from top to bottom: strawberry marshmallows, strawberry mousse with mascarpone cheese and poppy syrup, strawberry and beets cooked in strawberry juice, and finally, strawberry compote. Did you notice the beets? Yes, beets with strawberries. Besides the color, I never would’ve thought these two could go together, but went they did. It broke the monotony of a pure strawberry dessert, which would’ve been perfectly fine, but the beets brought it to a whole different level. Playful? Definitely!
The next item I chose was quite unusual. I was trying to decide whether or not to get the millefeuille, but you know how millefeuilles are: a pleasure to behold, but a pain to eat. (What is the best way to eat one anyway, without completely butchering the delicate layers that someone so tenderly positioned and aligned into perfection?) At that moment, I noticed a little dome pale yellow in color, encircled in a thin wall of white chocolate, with a curl of dark chocolate perched crookedly on top.
Its name is Inca. Why Inca, I wonder. Did PH conceptualize the shape based on an Incan fortress? It takes some leaps of imagination, but what other reasons to name a dessert after an ancient civilization? Certainly the ingredients don’t seem to have any relationship to the Incans. To provide you with a better idea, here is a cross section: hazelnut pastry and a thin layer of chocolate ganache provides the base for this dome of avocado and banana cream topped with grapefruit confit.
The shop girl assured me that the taste is very “grown-up” when I asked her to confirm the presence of avocado. Hmmm, my taste buds must be lagging behind in aging then, as I didn’t quite enjoy this combo. Jason said he tasted something metallic, but I was more bothered by the slightly bitter after taste. But look at how cute it is!
Urrrgh, I wasn’t going to say anything, I really wasn’t. I know this entry is about food, pastry to be exact, but would you look at the pictures? Look at how dull they seem, and believe you me, the Inca is not this shade of unhealthy grayish jaundiced yellow. Did you think I would have picked it out of the line-up over PH’s famous millefeuilles if this was the real color? And Emotion Ludic! Can you even tell the strawberries and beets apart? I wish I had my Nikon D70 to take these pictures. Now that I am used to the depth and range of colors the D70 produces, I can never look back on my Olympus 3040 or Sony T1. Here’s an analogy: the images produced by the D70 are like Hermes screened silk scarves, and the ones that came out of the T1 are like Salvatore Ferragamo scarves. If you’d never seen an Hermes scarf, you might think the Ferragamo ones are pretty good. Once you've laid eyes on a square of silk that underwent Hermes’ painstaking process of weaving, engraving (as many as 36 screens for one scarf), printing, cutting, and hand-stitching, however, you will never want to look at another Ferragamo scarf, ever. There aren’t enough colors to start with, and whatever there is, all seem so dull when compared to Hermes. The camera is the same. I won’t bore you with the technical details of why D70 produces much more vibrant colors, lest I be taken as a geek, but suffice it to say that I do have scientific evidence.
Sorry, now that I got that off my chest, back to Pierre Herme. As I said, we didn’t like the Inca too much, but Emotion Ludic we loved. Jason was wowed for the first time by “those over-priced cakes that even you could make” (his words). After we almost licked the glass of the Emotion Ludic, I asked how my strawberry mousse cake measures up. “Oh, there’s no comparison. This is sooo much better, not in the same league,” he said without hesitation. For once I am not the least bit insulted.
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