Refined, delicate and a stimulus for the senses. Thus the Japanese pastry chef that, although it is not very well known in our country, in recent times has been experiencing great push. If this winter drives us crazy cotton cake, the cottony cheesecake, summer brings, in addition to heat, frozen desserts typical of Japanese food culture, such as kakigori.

Its origin dates back to the 11th century and because of their arduous workmanship (blocks of ice brought from the mountains were scraped off with a katana-type knife), they were the exclusive enjoyment of emperors and nobles. Its popularity in Japan came with the appearance of the first crank machines that allow you to obtain sheets as if it were fresh snow … And seven years ago this unique sweet arrived in Barcelona by the work and grace of an Austrian, who after a decade living in Japan and with a machine under his arm, opened – in the neighborhood of Gracia- Kakigori, a store specialized in l.

Now at last this snow ice -made with ice and syrups- has arrived in Madrid. This time it is not an Austrian, but the Extremaduran Borja Grace, soul of the izakaya Hattori Hanzo Y Panda Pastry, the pastry chef that this Japanese tavern has inside. A lover of the land of the Rising Sun, the chef is determined to spread the Japanese culture and bring new things “just as they are being done there”, he adds.

Kakigori de fresa, en Panda Patisserie.

Thus, in this house (Mesonero Romanos, 17. Telf .: 91 786 57 80) they bet on a “kakigori a little XXI century, as they say in Japan, because we use a machine automatic with special blades that we have imported. With it, we obtain very thin flakes of tempered ice between -5 and 0 degrees and an even more special texture “, explains Gracia. And continues:” The sensation is very similar to when you drop virgin snow in hand. It has nothing to do with ice, and it is not that cold either. It is something very ephemeral and must be consumed quickly. “

How does something so ethereal a priori not collapse? That is the million dollar question. “We work in layers, we try to play with ingredients of little weight. We use powder, for example, from green tea, cocoa, roasted soy flour (kinako) that gives ice flavor. The syrups, which we make with natural products, we texturize so they have more air and weigh less. All of them hydrate the ice, which is soaked in its flavors “, adds Gracia. The final touch comes with the last layers, which give eye-catching ice cream, where “we use a kind of condensed milk, normal or vegan that we prepare with a reduction of coconut milk”.

Kakigori de temporadas pasadas, en Takashi Ochiai.
Kakigori de temporadas pasadas, en Takashi Ochiai.

In this way and with a lot of art, that montaa helada It is taken with a spoon and conveys the sensation of eating “a fresh bite of snow,” Gracia points out. Its flavor palette reaches ten (strawberry, yuzu, salted caramel and kinoko, matcha and azuki …). Can be ordered to go (4 euros) and to take inside the restaurant, where they are served in a set format (from 6.50 euros); that is, ice cream accompanied by a drink. “Above all, hot or warm t, which is how it is taken in Japan. It is the best way to live the experience and it helps reset the palate“explains Borja Gracia amused.

In the capital, it has also joined the kakigori fever Sufu Cake (Lope de Vega, 4), a small shop in the Barrio de las Letras. In Barcelona, ​​the well-known pastry chef Takashi Ochiai An updated and creamy version of this sweet is usually served every summer in its homonymous pastry (Comte d’Urgell, 110) and in the Kurimu refrigerator (Comte d’Urgell, 116), although for the moment they have not gotten to work.

Mochis, in Panda Patisserie.
Mochis, in Panda Patisserie.

By these dates, the mochis -that little rice cake, filled with a soft dough of different textures and flavors, which is the star dessert of Japanese meals- they dress for summer and offer their let it be in the toilet.

On Panda Pastry They are made in a traditional, homemade way. “We prepare the dough on one side and on the other, the filling. They all have a first fill then a core. We use mousses and, as we have a lot of rotation, it is a product that works very well. “The varieties? Of anko and strawberries; of matcha green tea and anko; of dark chocolate and Valrhona; of yuzu and salted caramel; of macerated natural strawberries ; the sakura mochi, inspired by cherry blossoms… (Price: from 3.50 euros per unit).

We close with taiyaki, that ice cream where the traditional cornet takes the shape of a fish and has a waffle texture and flavor. They arrived at the Forum four years ago and today they remain at the top of the favorite Japanese sweets of Madrid. This ice cream concept traveled from Japan to the United States and, right from there, the owners of Fishbowl, who opened the first store in Malasaa (Velarde, 2). For a couple of months they have had a new store a step away from the Las Letras neighborhood (Cdiz, 10).

Greek yogurt taiyaki, at La Pecera.
Greek yogurt taiyaki, at La Pecera.

Crispy on the outside and fluffy inside, the fish can be vanilla or chocolate and has a creamy inside soft ice cream, for whose production is based on seasonal products. And, precisely, there is the key that your letter is not fixed, as flavors (always with a daring touch) and toppings (from Cola-Cao lumps to clouds and cookies) and, they even throw limited editions. Chocolate with hazelnuts, pumpkin, matcha tea and salted caramel are some of the ice cream hits that have passed through La Pecera, where now the plain greek yogurt and that of Nocilla. Price: from 3.70 euros

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