Japanese cuisine is mostly known for its raw fish and tempura, but I have a sneaky suspicion that, should you ask most Japanese what their favorite dish is, it’ll end up being a dessert of some kind. From local delicacies such as manju and mochi to imported sweets like cheesecake and mont blanc, there can be no doubt that Japan has its fair share of dessert lovers.
And of course, this is great news for those of you who were under the impression that living in Japan meant foregoing getting your sticky mitts on something sugary and sweet because finding a wonderful dessert in Nagoya really is a piece of… Okay, it’s a hoary old cliche, but it’s nonetheless true for it.
Perhaps unsurprising considering its name, Chez Shibata is a Japanese chocolatier with a considerable French influence. Originating in Tajimi before spreading to Nagoya, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, Chez Shibata is known for its French desserts, taking innovative bents on classics such as chocolate fondant flavored with matcha [green tea] from Aichi’s Nishio City.
Shibata-san’s specialty is his Visitantine, simple almond and butter cakes, baked to exquisite perfection.
In fact, France-inspired desserts are very much the rage in Japan, as Kuririn in Osu shows. Named after the Japanese word for chestnut, kuri, Kuririn is famed for its amazing Mont Blanc. Though the store itself is small, with just a hand full of counter seats and a pair of tables in the simple Japanese style, the servings are otherwise. They use only Japanese chestnuts, kuma chestnuts for their strong flavor, and shimanto chestnuts for their rich aroma, freshly pureed on the spot and covered in lashings of whipped cream: pure heaven, particularly when paired with fresh strawberries and matcha green tea.
Where: 3-37-40 Osu, Naka-ku (map)
Benzaiten stuffs their daifuku – sweet glutenous mochi rice cakes – with the most delicious, sumptuous seasonal fruit, delivered daily directly from the market, ensuring an unrivaled freshness.
Depending on the time of year, you can choose from a wide array of fantastic fruity fillings, from classics such as strawberry and grape to more uncommon centers such as persimmon, watermelon, and mango.
There are a few fantastic cheesecake stores in Nagoya, Pablo in Takashimaya being another, but the Tretorte really takes the (not literal) biscuit. Here, the combination of rich Danish cream cheese and Japanese butter makes for a luxurious taste that you want to roll around your mouth. Though they ripen the cheese thoroughly, they suggest that you eat your cake over a number of days as the flavor intensifies with time, leading to a sharper and more umami experience.
Tucked away in a Meieki area backstreet, Paff is a dessert cafe frequented by the students of the nearby wedding, cosmetics, and childcare technical colleges, and those girls (without being sexist, just factual) know what they are talking about.
Serving lunch from 11:00 until 14:30, dinner from 18:00 to 21:30, and only dessert in-between, Paff has a broad array of elegant sweets to choose from. Perhaps the most popular are the ice cream pancakes, but by far, the best are their stacked cookies (above). To absolutely die for.