(Beniimo No Taruto & Itaria Kuri No Mon Bran | Purple Yam Tart & Italian Chestnut Mont Blanc)
I've talked a lot about seasonal chestnut and sweet potato/yam desserts separately, but what about both at once? Lucky me, this is a 2 in 1 deal!
The brand "Uchi Cafe" is actually a dessert line by Lawson. Lawson is one of the 3 major convenience store chains in Japan. Lawson is a bit unique from the others in that it has other "types" of Lawson stores. Namely, there is Natural Lawson, a healthy and slightly more expensive chain that has a variety of foods and desserts, and Lawson Store 100, a sort of 100 yen (~$1) chain that sells convenience store products. However, you'll mostly see the regular Lawson stores.
I think it's interesting that Lawson uses a completely different name for Uchi Cafe, unlike Famima Sweets. Looking at the package, you wouldn't assume that it's a Lawson product. I think it makes it seem more high quality instead of "convenience store food", although convenience store food is far from bad here in Japan!
[Cultural Note] Seasonal Flavours
Perhaps because Japan is an island country that shares no borders with other countries, the foods and flavours that are “in” change with the seasons.
While you can find some seasonal flavours all year round at certain stores, you’ll see cafés and restaurants advertising specialty drinks and desserts and stores selling unique snacks depending on the time of year.
Some notable seasonal flavours are:
- Strawberries (mid/late winter)
- Cherry Blossom (early spring)
- Maccha (spring)
- Mint (early summer)
- Pineapple, Lychee, Lemon, Watermelon (summer)
- Sweet potato (fall) Chestnut (fall)
[For more cultural notes, check this page.]
421 JPY (1 cake & 1 tart)
Let's start with the Mont Blanc cake since I ate that first.
The chocolate on top was dark and bitter (which I like). The inside icing is sweet and has a slight chestnut taste. The other icing has a stronger chestnut taste.
The cake doesn't have a strong taste, but the icings cover it. In the center of the slice, there are some soft chestnuts. They add a little more flavour, but you'll only get them for a few bites.
Overall it tastes good, but very light.
Now for the purple yam tart.
The darker purple icing has a sweet but strong yam taste. Same for the lighter purple icing.
The "tart" itself has a buttery taste. It tastes almost like a butter cookie. I put tart in quotation marks because the actual tart is at the very bottom. It doesn't really stand out.
It tastes really nice all together. The icings have a really strong flavour, so the cake and tart balance it out while also adding a bit of flavour.
Everything with the Mont Blanc is light. The main icing is light. The other icing is a bit thicker but still light. It's also a bit coarse. There's nothing in it, but it feels kind of grainy against your tongue. The cake is extremely light and fluffy. The chestnuts, while soft, add something to bite into. If you don't get any chestnuts, it's almost like eating a cloud.
As for the purple yam tart, the purple icing is more coarse, just like the other icing on the Mont Blanc cake. The other icing is extremely light. The "tart" is actually more cake-like. It's pretty dense, but still soft and easy to eat. The actual tart crust is flaky and a bit dense. This one is more satisfying for me to bite into because you have both a fluffy and solid texture.
There's no strong smell
This one is helped by having 2 different desserts. They complement each other.
Personally, the Mont Blanc cake is just okay to me. I have a high "tolerance" for sweetness, so something that is very sweet for others is mild for me. I think your average person would enjoy it more. It's just so light, I could eat it all very quickly and have no memory or impression of it.
I like the purple yam tart more. At first I was put off by the cake layer, but once I tried it all together, it was really good. I like how it has a variety of flavours and textures. It's also more filling.
I think they're a nice set. I will say that after eating both (and leaving a bit for Yue), my stomach definitely had its fill of sweets for a while.
- Would I try again?
I think so, but maybe next year. It's not amazing enough to make me feel like I have to buy it again and eat more. It doesn't have that pull for me. But I think it's pretty reasonable if you want to eat some desserts. It's a decent price for 2 light, unique flavour desserts. It's great if you want to share with someone, want a little variety, or want a snack now and one for later.