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Even under normal circumstances, we’ve got nothing against desserts, whether they be in parfait or donut form. So when we got off the train at Hiroshima Station, stepped through the ticket gates, and saw a newly opened pastry shop, we knew a detour was in order before we headed to our hotel.

Of course, we’d just spent two days biking the 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) across the Inland Sea on the Shimanami Kaido cycling course, and no dinky dessert was going to satisfy the appetite we’d built up. Thankfully, the shop had something special in its display case: cream puff custard cones.

Located on the first floor concourse connected to the south exit of Hiroshima Station, this second branch of Quatre Feuille just opened on May 19. Lined up in the chilled display case are several of the cakes that you can also find at Quatre Feuille’s original location several stops south on Hiroshima’s streetcar line.

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This new shop is located in the heart of the city though, with thousands of commuters and travelers passing through on the local, express, and high-speed Shinkansen trains that run through Hiroshima Station. And while the fatigue of a long day at work or the excitement of a pleasure trip can be enough to give anyone a craving for some sweets, not everyone can take time out of their busy schedule to stop and enjoy an indulgence.

To solve this problem, owner/chef Osamu Moriwaki created what he’s named the crème marche.

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The top section looks like an ordinary cream puff, but inside the wrapper is a cone filled with custard.

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We wouldn’t be surprised to see Quatre Feuille follow the standard Japanese dessert protocol and eventually expand the line with limited edition seasonal flavors, but for now, there are three types of crème marche to choose from, with all priced at 290 yen (US $2.90). There’s a standard cream flavor, as well as a cocoa powder-topped chocolate version. But since we were in Hiroshima Prefecture, one of Japan’s top citrus producers, we decided on the lemon flavor, which comes drizzled with lemon confiture preserves.

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As you can see, despite the ostensible promise of one-handed snacking, the crème marche comes with a spoon to help you get at the generous serving of cream. We suppose you could get away without it, provided you’re coordinated enough to eat the cream puff without snapping it off and dropping it, hungry enough to eat the whole thing in one bite, or unconcerned enough with your appearance to not care about getting it all over your face. For everyone else, though, the spoon comes in handy.

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The filling is a delicious gooey mess, especially once the cream starts mixing with the custard.

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After finishing off the top portion, even clumsier diners can forego the spoon and just start eating the treat directly. All of that custard keeps the dough moist and flavorful, but the cone itself is thick enough that it neither becomes soggy nor losses its integrity.

▼ Like sweetness, integrity is where the criteria for a complete, desirable dessert and a complete, desirable spouse converge.

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▼ I could see myself settling down for a long-term relationship with this dessert.

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We weren’t the only ones who came away impressed, as a steady stream of kids, students, and working professionals also stopped to purchase the eye-catching desserts.

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Quatre Feuille’s Hiroshima Station branch stays open until 9 p.m., but Moriwaki, who was personally on-hand to serve customers, says they occasionally run out before then.

▼ By 8:50, the display case was looking pretty bare.

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Hiroshima has a number of other mouth-watering foods, such as oysters and okonomiyaki crepes, so ordinarily we’d warn against possibly spoiling your appetite by having dessert before you sit down for dinner. For the crème marche, though, it’s definitely worth taking the risk.

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Shop information
Quatre Feuille / カトルフィユ
Address: Hiroshima-shi, Minami-ku, Matsubaracho 2-37, South Exit Concourse, 1st floor
広島市南区松原町2-37 南口コンコース1F

Photos: RocketNews24