Sunday, January 20, 2008

Not So Much Cake, But Very Much Cheese

Image lifted from the seller's site here.

In a former post, I wrote about the quest for cheesecake in Tokyo and how there are many varieties. At that time, I lamented that most cheesecake wasn't very tangy or strongly cream cheese-flavored. One of my husband's students graciously gave him a cheesecake which showed that you can indeed get cheesecake which is very satisfyingly tangy if you seek out the right kind at the right place though it is different in other ways.

For one thing, the presentation of the cheesecake is quite elegant and sophisticated (as you can see from the picture at the top, not my picture where it's been opened). The "cake" is wrapped in paper to absorb some of the moisture (and it gets moister the second and third day) then wrapped in plastic and put in a little basket. For reference, it's about 5 inches (12.7 cm) in diameter.

When you open it up, there is not so much a cake as a dollop of whipped cheesecake filling. I've heard that this is French-style cheesecake though I'm guessing this particular presentation is very Japanese. It just has a real feel of a Japanese aesthetic to it. It's more of a cream cheese and whipped cream mousse than an actual cheesecake so it lacks the dense, decadent texture Americans are accustomed to but it has all of the delicious bite and flavor you expect. Though it's incredibly light, it's not necessarily low calorie. The web site says that it has 865 calories. The caloric density probably comes from the copious use of full fat cream, though it's not too bad when you consider it should be divided up into 4 or 5 servings.

One thing I really liked about this besides the yummy cream cheese flavor was that the packaging was so unique and attractive that I'm unlikely to forget this gift or the experience of eating it for quite some time. I'm well aware that the Japanese emphasis on wrapping and elaborate packaging is a bad thing for the environment, but I don't know how much was really wasted above and beyond what was absolutely necessary in this case. Given the free-form, super soft "cake", it had to be put in a very supportive container and better that it be a reusable basket made of bamboo than a plastic shell that gets chucked into the bin.


John Milito said...

I'm with you on the cheesecake around here, its not the best. Seems to be mostly white jell-o with a cheesy tinge to it. I suppose that's why sometimes I have been seeing things labeled "real" cheese cake.

mike said...

So it is just a mass of cheesecake in paper? No crust or anything? Interesting. Looks delicious, IMHO. :)

I'm a big cheesecake fan. I can't remember last time I had a real, decent cheesecake. I agree with you about the "rare" cheesecakes, I like them better than the baked.

Mother makes cheesecakes on occasion, usually with some funky flavors added. (She has a tendency to want to edit EVERYTHING!) I asked for a plain cheesecake with strawberry jam and got a peanut butter cup cheesecake. So much for that.

She'll get a pre-made graham cracker crust, and pre-made cheesecake filling...which is actually really good.

The last one she made was great. She put drained, crushed pineapple on the bottom, put the cheesecake on top of it, then put shredded coconut and more pineapple on top. Absolutely delicious...for one of her edits... :)