Today, Mr. Sato really lives up to his name, which has the same pronunciation, but different characters, as the Japanese word for “sugar”.

Despite big events like the Tokyo Olympics finally taking place, 2021 will always be the Year of the Maritozzo to our Japanese-language reporting ace Mr. Sato. This Italian dessert brioche bun filled with whipped cream swept Japan into a frenzy as one of the hottest food trends to hit the country last year. It seemed like everyone was lining up to grab a maritozzo at their local bakery and convenience store, and the treat even earned its place in the top five New Words of the Year list.

▼ A humble maritozzo, the source of Japan’s 2021 food boom

In contrast, a bombolone is an Italian donut-like pastry made with a healthy dollop of cream in the center, though the dough is thinner than that of a typical donut. Mr. Sato had heard some buzz that bomboloni were the next big thing to try, so that, coupled with the fact that beginning on July 21 the Starbucks Reserve Store in Tokyo’s Ginza district began selling them in a new lemon-ginger flavor, finally propelled him to try some for himself to decide if the word on the street was true.

▼ The Starbucks Reserve Store in the Ginza district of Tokyo

When he stepped foot in the store, four flavors of bomboloni greeted him in the case, beckoning like glittering gems waiting to be discovered in an RPG (his exact analogy). The pastries are provided to Starbucks by the Princi bakery chain.

Naturally, he had to buy one of each to take home. We’ll next introduce them one by one, but you may want to grab a tissue first in case you start drooling over your screen.

First up is the crema (custard) flavor for 364 yen/US$2.74 per pastry. It’s a true classic where you can’t go wrong.

Second is the new limone (lemon) ginger flavor for 446 yen per pastry. The tartness of the lemon is sure to pack a refreshing punch in the summer heat.

Third is the lampone (raspberry) and white cioccolato (chocolate) flavor for 391 yen per pastry. The inclusion of raspberries also makes for a perfect summery snack.

Finally, fourth is the tiramisu flavor for 446 yen per pastry. This one is a great choice for those who want to get more bang for their yen and essentially sample two Italian desserts in one.

After surveying his gems, Mr. Sato proceeded to sample each one of them. Every bite he took was immensely satisfying as the soft cream flooded his mouth.

So does Mr. Sato think that the bombolone has the potential to become the “next maritozzo”? Actually, no. At the end of the day, he thinks that a bombolone is too close to the kind of donut that you’d find at a typical donut chain like Mister Donut in Japan. In other words, there’s not enough originality injected as was the case with the maritozzo. However, even if it doesn’t have the potential to eclipse its predecessor, that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed as a tasty treat in its own right! After all, there are never too many times that you can ascend to carb heaven in his book.

Store information
Starbucks Reserve Store Ginza Marronnier Street / スターバックス リザーブ ストア 銀座マロニエ通り
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 3-7-3 Ginza Ohmi Building
東京都中央区銀座3-7-3 銀座オーミビル
Open: 7 a.m.-9 p.m.

Reference: Starbucks Japan
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