Text: Reiko Matsuno
Photos: Noriko Carlow
When Futoshi Hashimoto opened his own pastry shop, he named it with a double or triple meaning. He coined a word, ‘acidracines’ for his place. Is it something to do with acid jazz? Correct. It is one of his favorite music styles, and he found out that the word ‘acid’ comes from ‘ACID’ in computer science, meaning ‘atomicity, consistency, isolation or durability’. These words very much inspired and encouraged him, who was about to take a new step forward.
Acid is also a word to describe taste, of course. ‘You close your eyes and take a bite of something without any preconceived idea or you always taste acidity, if not boldly. Acidity is not always pleasant and it can be disgusting sometime. However unpleasant the acidity is, it is what the ingredient naturally has and it’s absolutely necessary for its character. And every ingredient has some kind of acidity at the root (‘racine’ in French). I always think that way’, said Hashimoto, who opened his pastry shop in Osaka in 2013 at the age of 38.
Food cultures in Eastern Japan where Tokyo sits in the center and in Western Japan which accommodates the ancient capital, Kyoto and Osaka are quite different. In these 10 years or so, pastry shops in Western Japan have changed definitely. Cakes used to be bigger and more fancily decorated (than in Tokyo), but more French-style patisseries are found now. Hashimoto is one of many pastry chefs in Japan who respect French confectionery. In his shop, crowded with people on the way home from offices, mostly men in blue suits, the showcase was almost empty, in which you can find an array of his works in the morning including about 15 kinds of individual cakes and 5 kinds of entremets. It is obvious that he adores chocolate, as he demonstrated us in so good #14.
‘I think there are two major genres in the Japanese confectionery industry: the so-called Western confectionery, which has a longer history here, and the French confectionery, which I live with. The former has been offering everyone’s favorites like short cake or rolled cake which are basically made of a fluffy sponge and whipped cream. They are a ‘simpler-is-better’ type of confectionery. On the other hand, French confectionery is a matter of adding and layering, and I love it. This year, I hope to reconstruct the French classic confectionery as faithfully as I can”.
‘When I tried to make mousse lighter for a new product and subtracted some amount of fat from the recipe, I found out that flavor and aroma became more distinct.’ It led him to create ‘Sabatique’, which looks too simple, but tastes amazing with layers of chocolate mousse and biscuit sans farine (flourless sponge).
Usually raw marzipan is used for flourless chocolate sponge, but marzipan has a peculiar flavor similar to muscovado which seems unnecessary for him, so he used tant pour tant and cocoa powder instead. Even a dash of liquor was pushed away. No other flavor was necessary, but chocolate. ‘I wanted to present everything which the bitter chocolate has naturally in its flavor… not only sweet, fruity flavor, but also bitterness, astringency or other unpleasant flavors. It’s like perfume. An intense perfume often has different, unexpected, almost undesirable notes in the back and I believe it makes the perfume more irresistible.’
Another chocolate cake is ‘forêt-noire’, in which he reconstructs the original form in the least way. Light biscuit joconde au chocolat moistened with cocoa and kirsch syrup holds Griotte cherry jelly, Griotte compote in anis and lemon syrup, Griottes in kirsch and kirsch-flavored bavarois inside. ‘My focus was using bavarois instead of cream. It’s much lighter than cream and it’s better to convey flavor of kirsch.’
Enjoy the other creation, Lacté, and the complete recipe of Entremet Azteca at so good #14.