Pull up a creamy cushion and take a load off.

There certainly are a lot of cake shops around Japan with a wide range of flavors and styles, so much so that it can be really hard to stand out among the crowd. However, one patissier has done just that with a series of desserts that bear an eerie resemblance to knitted items like tote bags and baby booties.

These intricate works of sugary art are the creations of Masahiko Ozumi, an architecture graduate who transitioned to the confectionary field and studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris at the age of 22. From there he worked his way into some of the finest patisseries and chocolatiers in Paris, such as the popular A. Lacroix.

However, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Ozumi returned to Osaka and opened Masahiko Ozumi Paris in Chuo Ward. It’s an unassuming storefront with a showcase inside that’s sure to knock the socks off anyone who just happens to wander in.

The signature item of this patisserie is the Zabuton. A “zabuton” is a pillow-like cushion common in Japanese homes used by people sitting on the floor. This name is far from figurative as these little cakes look nearly identical to real pillows.

They’re based on the Mont Blanc, a French dessert that’s extremely popular in Japan, made of a mountainous pile of pureed chestnut that has been molded into the shape of noodles. It would seem that Ozumi got the idea that the shape also resembles yarn and could be woven into any number of knitted items.

And to give it that extra linty air of fabric they’re also dusted with a colorful and flavorful topping much like these bootie treats.

When I visited, Masahiko Ozumi Paris was having a Strawberry Fair and featured an array of highly original items based on the tangy fruit.

I was going to just post a picture of the display case but each one seemed deserving of its own loving closeup, starting with the Millefeuille Kotoka for 900 yen (US$6).

Gateau Pain De Mie Kotoka (900 yen)

Paris-Brest Kotoka (900 yen)

Coeur Kotoka (900 yen)

Fraisier Kotoka (1,200 yen)

Gateau Carre Kotoka (900 yen)

Baked Cheese Kotoka (900 yen)

Jardin Kotoka (900 yen)

Pistache Kotoka (900 yen)

Fondant Chocolat Kotoka (900 yen)

Roll Cake Kotoka (900 yen)

They offer a lot of other stuff as well, such as a range of cookies, some of which come in a zabuton-style tin.

It’s also possible to order full-sized cakes, but they need to be reserved in advance.

Everything looked fantastic, but since this was my first time, I decided to get two of their standard-style items: a ChouChou Fraise for 900 yen and a Sakura Mont Blanc for 950 yen.

I have to admit, at first, I wondered why they even bothered selling the cookies when they had all these other amazing-looking items. However, as I walked outside the reason dawned on me. I now had to ride my rusty old mama-chari through traffic and up and down the big slope of Osaka with these extremely delicate handcrafted cream desserts.

Luckily, they do have a bench outside if you’d prefer to eat yours on the spot.

In the end, I managed to get my desserts home safely, largely thanks to the very well-designed box they came in.

I decided to try the ChouChou Fraise strawberry booties first. Honestly, up until this point, I’d been so smitten by the way they looked, I didn’t really think about the taste that much. If this was just like a solid marshmallow Peep, I probably would have been happy.

But there is some serious stuff under the hood here. The little pools at the top are berry sauce and the shape of the booties are made from a mascarpone mousse.

Inside, there are layers of strawberry jam, white chocolate cookie, and almond cake.

I usually find strawberries and strawberry jam to be overpowering in desserts like this but there was a really good sense of balance in everything. It’s sweeter than a lot of cakes in Japan but manages to stop short of being too sweet. Everything about it felt very light and comfortable to eat.

Much like with the booties, I had a hard time willing myself to cut into the zabuton Mont Blanc and wanted to admire it a little while longer.

This had a similar structure to the ChouChou but rather than mascarpone, the main cream was made from carefully selected chestnuts. The little balls on top are also made of a white chocolate mousse.

I liked this one even better than the ChouChou. The richness of the chestnuts and the sharpness of the almond balanced out the powerful sweetness with even more complexity that was benefitted even more by the floral aroma of sakura. I think I detected some cinnamon in there too, but I could be mistaken. Either way, it’s hands down the best Mont Blanc I’ve ever eaten and I was even more impressed by the taste than how it looked.

In the end, I’m happy to report that the desserts at Masahiko Ozumi Paris are far more than a pretty face. Clearly, a great deal of thought went into every aspect, from the look to the flavor combinations and even the design of the take-out boxes. I’d highly recommend their Sakura Mont Blanc, but those are in all likelihood limited-time items so get there soon if you can!

Store information
Masahiko Ozumi Paris
Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Otedori 2-4-8 1F
大阪府大阪市中央区大手通2-4-8 1F
Hours: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Closed on Wednesdays unless a public holiday

Photos © SoraNews24
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