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スクリーンショット 2015-01-04 15.55.29
(2014年9月、Park Hyatt Tokyo)


Japan's patisserie chefs lead the world in all things sweet

James Campbell has the best job in the world – or the worst. The patisserie chef, currently masterminding a dessert revolution in the High Street, has tasted 140 Japanese desserts in one week, including 27 in a single day.

Mr Campbell is Marks & Spencer's dessert product developer – his team was responsible for the Jaffa Sphere sell-out success – and he is in Tokyo on a trip to find inspiration for this year's new range of puds and even "the next big trend for 2016". Japan may seem an unusual place to come to scout for new ideas, but the country's patisserie chefs are world leaders after learning their trade in Paris and bringing it home with their own twists.

"It's the absolute precision," explains Campbell. "There is a ridiculous amount of detail that goes into the products here. There's the real trend of French patisserie multiplied by the work ethic and precision of the Japanese which takes it to a whole new level."

European-style patisseries can be found almost everywhere in Japan. Isetan – one of Tokyo's most upmarket stores, has more than 30 patisserie concessions on one floor – far more than in top UK department stores.

M&S's team of developers travel the world searching for the next taste sensation. So, what can we expect to see in this year's range, after the Japan trip? Mr Campbell can't give away all his secrets, but there will almost certainly be yuzu and passion fruit flavours and a big focus on seasonality, which is key to Japanese cooking.

Osami Kubota, executive pastry chef at the Palace Hotel Tokyo, one of the city's finest, explains that using ingredients that are in season was vital in setting Japanese patisserie apart, as well as the "dexterity" and "very delicate craftsmanship"

Given that green tea is everywhere in Japan, including in ice-cream and even KitKat bars with pale green chocolate, I assumed we could expect green tea to crop up, but Mr Campbell says the British palette is not ready for this yet. Instead tea, whether it be green, earl grey, or various Chinese blends, will be used as perfume rather than flavour. This month, M&S is launching Matcha (green tea) and Earl Grey chocolates.


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