Mumbai Food: Say Konichiwa to cigare cookies
A Japanese make of cookies, launched to spread joy after the World War, debuts in Mumbai
Double Chocolate Blanc, Billet Au Amandes, Double Chocolate
It was a bad time; the world was reeling from the effects of World War II. Confectioner Noriichi Fujinawa, the founder of Yoku Moku, noticed that confectionery made people smile. While he struggled to find the right ingredients, he continued baking for he believed, "Confectionery and cookies are important to our lives."
To make his cookies stand out, he focused on striking a perfect balance using a high-grade Hokkaido butter, which is the central focus of the cookies. This, we learn when we walk into the 777-sq m store opposite the Town Hall at Horniman Circle. The cobalt blue board is visible from far, and we step into a constant temperature of 18 degrees, cooling us immediately. The cookies are displayed among tasteful tea cups, pots and vases that we assume are on sale too. But they aren't. In the left corner, is a dimly-lit area with a high table for tastings. The display cookies, by the way, come from Japan and are made of rubber. We are tempted to take a bite! The cookies have to be kept at a temperature of 18 to 22 degrees to retain their crisp freshness, the staffer explains.
Bateau De Pistachio
The team comprises people from different walks of life, including staff members who have earlier worked in retail sale, on cruise ships, as travel agents, and merchandise buyers, all of who throw in a phrase or two in Japanese starting with a 'Konichiwa' (hello: Japanese) when we enter.
A staff member demonstrates Furoshiki, a type of traditional Japanese wrapping
The store does not scream Japan but is an aesthetically designed space. The luxury products are steeply priced but it is the market they are aiming to crack.
Attention is given to the Japanese style of wrapping. The paper wrapping has a one-sticker fold, the scarf wrapping is a traditional furoshiki in which the scarf is meticulously tied in knots around a box. The ribbon on the boxes too is smartly tied requiring just one cut. While all the cookies are imported from a factory in Nikko, in the Tochigi prefecture, the first phase of the set-up has 12 product offerings.
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Our picks of butter bites:
CIGARE SINGLE: Cookies in the shape of slender cigars, they offer a buttery, dramatic experience in every bite. The classic vanilla-infused sticks come at R80 per piece.
DOUBLE CHOCOLAT BLANC SINGLE: Vanilla best accentuates the taste of their cookie batter. We love the subtle hint of the creamy smear. Rs 75
DOUBLE CHOCOLAT SINGLE: The French-style cookies have been designed to keep the cookie as the central experience with other secondary ingredients. The chocolate cookies are indulgent;there's no trace of the overpowering dark chocolate in any of the flavours. Rs 75
BILLET AU AMANDES SINGLE: The crunchy texture of the almond dusted cookies reminds us of a luxury version of Parsi nankhatai. Rs 75
BATEAU DE PISTACHIO SINGLE: This recipe was designed for the Arabic market. The nuts are infused in the shortbread cookie and is filled with a thin layer of chocolate. Rs 120
TIME: 10 am to 8 pm
AT: 12/14, ground floor, Rajgir Chamber, opposite Old Customs House, SBS Road, Colaba.
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