I’ve never been a chocolate fan. If you slid a slice of black forest cake or a propped a stack of brownies in front of me, I might take a bite or two. I will, however, unabashedly face-plant into any dessert made with fresh, seasonal fruit. Add whipped cream or a fluffy mousse and I’m all yours.
Takano in Tokyo is the ultimate mecca for fruity dessert lovers. You may have seen the ridiculously pristine fruit wrapped in glamorous packaging that sells for an arm and a leg. Chances are, you were looking at Takano’s prized produce.
Unlike most commercial grocery stores that carry fruit with the longest shelf life, Takano never compromises flavour or quality. In truth, they take perfection so seriously that any fruit with blemish goes out the door. The fruit here is simply superior inside and out.
Of course, the issues of food waste and excessive packaging all came to mind. What visitors should bear in mind is these luxury fruits are usually gifted. They are saved for special occasions and it’s a part of the culture, if that’s any comfort. For me, Takano is more a gallery than store that uses fruit as an art medium.
There are branches throughout Tokyo but I recommend visiting the Shinjuku flagship location. The “fruit parlour” consists of a packaged fruit level and a bottom level dedicated to cakes, desserts, a juice bar, and a take-out counter.
I appreciate how dedicated they are to seasonality. In fact, the recipes in the cookbook I purchased from them is divided by season. I still need to have it translated :)
While you’re here, you absolutely must go to the café on the 5th floor. That afternoon, the spacious room was packed and buzzed with conversation. Listen carefully and one would only hear female voices. Not surprisingly, the whole café was filled with women and the odd boyfriend or husband that stuck out like sore thumbs. It felt surreal, but also amusing.
The menu was filled with stunningly, hyper photogenic desserts. During our visit, it was strawberry and mango season. After much contemplation, I decided on a delightful strawberry parfait with strawberry sponge cake and jelly, pistachio cream, and fresh mango slices.
Call me crazy but I loved this place so much that I lined up for the buffet the morning before we left Tokyo. I then discovered where the blemished fruit went and it was fine with me, as long as I could eat as much as I wanted.
So there you are. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss this spot when you travel to Tokyo.
Takano Fruit Parlour