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The Sweet Life: Japanese Pastry Chefs Are Making Waves in Paris

Japanese Pastries, MORI YOSHIDA, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Mori Yoshida

Walking through the streets of Paris, past famous monuments and cult patisserie shops, it’s hard not to notice the lines filling up with tourists. The Japanese, in particular, have become huge fans of French sweets in recent years, thanks in part to the now-global reach of brands like Ladurée.

Japanese Pastries, MORI YOSHIDA, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Mori Yoshida

The influence between the two cultures is far from one-sided, however. Asian ingredients and flavors are no longer rare on French menus, as French chefs and patissiers are won over by the restraint and precision that dominate Japanese cuisine – a refreshing alternative to over-the-top traditional fare.

Japanese Pastries, Ciel, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Ciel

This symbiotic relationship has not escaped the pastry arena in Paris. Among the most popular pastry shops in Paris today, you’ll find more than one Japanese star leaving its mark on French and international palates.

Japanese Pastries, Sadaharu Aoki, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Sadaharu Aoki

Sadaharu Aoki
Color is the first thing you notice upon entering one of Aoki’s boutiques in Paris. For a second, I thought I was looking at colorful Lego building blocks, perfectly arranged in the window display. The cakes were ordered by color shade and hues, and I was almost (almost.) tempted to walk out without my selection rather than see the perfect harmony of cakes disturbed.

Japanese Pastries, Sadaharu Aoki, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Sadaharu Aoki

Beside the chocolate, eclairs, and macarons, there is a great selection of mini patisseries cubes, each shaped like a special jewel. Be sure to check out Aoki’s special summer line, the ZEN Nouveauté D’été.

Japanese Pastries, Sadaharu Aoki, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Sadaharu Aoki

Aoki’s boutique are located throughout Paris in the 5th, 6th, 9th and 15th arrondissements. View all of their locations here.

35 Rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 45 44 48 90. Metro: Rennes

Japanese Pastries, Sadaharu Aoki, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Japanese Pastries, Sadaharu Aoki, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Sadaharu Aoki

Ciel
Ciel, which also has a location in the 5th, specializes in one kind of dessert: the angel cake, an airy, butter-free cake that always reminds me of the sand castles cakes I used to make at the beach as a child.

Japanese Pastries, Ciel, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo 6

Japanese Pastries, Ciel, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Ciel

Ciel’s circular creations come in a variety of flavors and colors (Vanilla, Chocolate, Caramel, Raspberry, Green Tea, Earl Grey and Orange Blossom), and be sure to check in regularly for seasonal specials (a cherry blossom cake with sour cherry jam at the moment). The boutique itself is quite small and simply designed, and there are only eight seats around the counter.

Japanese Pastries, Ciel, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Ciel

If you’re getting your treats to-go, the delicate sales lady will wrap the cake in a beautiful white box folded like an origami. The packaging alone almost warrants a visit…

Japanese Pastries, Ciel, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Ciel

Beside angel cakes, Ciel serves assorted Japanese teas. At lunch and in the evenings, savory cakes are also available, tapas-style, to enjoy alongside a selection of Japanese wine, sake, schochu and whiskey.

Japanese Pastries, Ciel, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Ciel

Ciel. 3 rue Monge, 75005 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)1 43 29 40 78. Metro: Maubert – Mutualité

Japanese Pastries, MORI YOSHIDA, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo 4

Japanese Pastries, MORI YOSHIDA, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Mori Yoshida

Mori Yoshida
Yoshida’s patisseries come closest to what I call perfection. Each one looks like a Japanese tree in a beautiful, colorful Bonsai garden. Yoshida, the young chef, varies his offerings from one season to another by pairing seasonal fruits with traditional flavors.

Japanese Pastries, MORI YOSHIDA, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Mori Yoshida

Alongside the artful patisseries, Yoshida also manufactures chocolate. He describes his role as curating the richness, perfume, acidity, and bitterness of chocolate in order to bring it to his eager customers.

Japanese Pastries, MORI YOSHIDA, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Mori Yoshida

I liked the simplicity of the design of this boutique — white walls, one long counter, and two big wooden displays. You don’t need much when the pastries themselves are so colorful and creative. When we visited the boutique, Yoshida himself peeked in from the kitchen to share a few tidbits of his inspiration with us.

Japanese Pastries, Sadaharu Aoki, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Sadaharu Aoki

Mori Yoshida. 65 avenue de Breteuil, 75007 Paris. Tel: +33 (0)6 47 34 29 74. Metro: Ségur/Duroc

Japanese Pastries, Sadaharu Aoki, HiP Paris Blog, Photo by Sivan Askayo

Sadaharu Aoki

Related links:

Written by Sivan Askayo for the HiP Paris Blog. All photographs by Sivan Askayo. These images are part of the book Patisseries Guide to Paris by Sharon Heinrich, from Paris Chez Sharon. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

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Written by Sivan Askayo

Sivan AskayoSivan is a freelance Travel Photographer. She contributes to leading magazines such as Travel+Leisure, Conde Nast Traveller, Lonely Planet Traveller, Monocle and Elle Decor.  When she is not globe trotting on assignments, she splits her time between Tel Aviv and New York, where she has been living for the last 12 years. She will always find an opportunity to visit and shoot Paris, hoping a few times a year.  She loves coffee and will never be on a diet that would require her to give up chocolates and desserts. 

Website: Sivan Askayo

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