Sunday, 8 March 2015

Totoro Cream Puffs - Shirohige's Cream Puff Factory, Tokyo

IMG_8408
Totoro Cream Puffs

I've always loved the Studio Ghibli film My Neighbour Totoro and now that I have a two year old daughter, I love it even more since we watch it together.

So when we went on holiday to Japan last month, I made it my mission to take her to Totoro's Bakery.

IMG_1474
Weemalee finds Totoro's Bakery
IMG_8407

What my daughter calls Totoro's Bakery is actually known as Shirohige Cream Puff Factory. It was set up in 2008 by a baker whose nickname is Shiro Hige ie White Beard.

Hayao Miyazaki, the founder of Studio Ghibli and the director of My Neighbour Totoro even created a pig-nosed character for Shirohige which appears in various guises throughout the bakery.

shirohigelogo
Shirohige or Shiro-Hige

I've read that Miyazaki's family actually own the bakery, and indeed the "About Us" page on their website states that the President is Kyoko Miyazaki so this may well be the case.

IMG_8437
The shop
IMG_8426


The bakery recently moved to new premises in Setagayadaita and so we trekked out using trusty Google maps.

It's tucked away in a quiet, residential street and at first we thought we'd taken a wrong turning, but soon we were rewarded with this adorable sign with its fat little Totoros.

IMG_8384


The entrance is decorated with cute pictures of Shirohige the baker, as well as other Totoro ornaments.

IMG_8429
Shirohige's adventures
IMG_8431
Totoro building blocks
IMG_8430
Totoro jigsaw and Catbus


DSC01282
Peering in at my husband and daughter

IMG_8441


Once you're inside the tiny shop, there are more Ghibli artefacts which are worth having a look at before you turn to the fabled Totoro Cream Puffs themselves.

Cream puffs are basically choux buns filled with custard or fresh cream - like profiteroles without the chocolate sauce.

DSC01305

IMG_8393
Cuddly Shirohige

DSC01284
DSC01286
These are called Tsumu Tsumu - they're stackable balance toys

DSC01304
Fluffy Totoros
DSC01307
It's Totoro waiting at the bus stop

I spotted one of the bakers in the room at the back, carefully adding the chocolate eyes and noses to the cream puffs.

DSC01308

IMG_8386

DSC01301
Seasonal special - Caramel Banana

DSC01311
Seasonal special - Strawberry Cream

DSC01299
Classic Vanilla Cream

IMG_8442
Chocolate Cream

Before getting down to the important business of choosing what to buy, I noticed a few sketches dotted around the walls which I'm assuming were drawn by Miyazaki-san for Shirohige-san.

I particularly like the angry Totoro eating noodles.

IMG_8448

IMG_8447
It's Kamaji from Spirited Away
IMG_8446
Totoro watering can

The bakery started off just making the Totoro cream puffs, but they  soon branched out into making biscuits shaped like acorns, mushrooms, leaves and of course Totoro.

DSC01295

DSC01287
Valentine's  special

DSC01289
Mushroom biscuits

DSC01291
Acorn biscuits

DSC01292
Clover biscuits
DSC01290
Leaf biscuits
DSC01306

IMG_8440

IMG_8387
Eat me

I bought some biscuits to take home as presents and they wrapped them all beautifully.

I asked for extra stickers for my daughter to stick in her logbook and they obliged (at least one of the members of staff speaks English fluently).

DSC01315


They placed my cream puffs in a cardboard box, again sealed with a Totoro sticker.

You can also buy an insulated bag to keep the box cool (the puffs are filled with cream after all), but the bags are quite flimsy and to be honest, you won't be able to wait.

The classic flavours are 400 Yen, the seasonal specials are 440 Yen. At the time I went, the exchange rate was 175 Yen to the pound, so this was the equivalent of £2.30 and £2.50.

IMG_8401
What's inside?
IMG_8402
Oh hello!

IMG_8404
Clockwise from top left - Vanilla Cream, Caramel Banana, Strawberry Cream, Chocolate Cream

They have seasonal variations, but the cream puffs we bought were vanilla cream (the green leaf), chocolate cream (the blue ribbon hat), strawberry cream (the pink flower) and caramel banana (the yellow ribbon hat).

I've seen an Autumn special which is chestnut cream (a brown leaf) - I'll have to come back in October!

The wonderful thing is that not only are they beautiful, the puffs are genuinely delicious.

IMG_8414
Strawberry Cream

The strawberry cream is a stunning seasonal special - it's actually got teeny chopped-up strawberries  and strawberry puree rippled through the cream.

IMG_8415
Caramel Banana

The caramel banana is another seasonal special and was my favourite.

Caramel sauce and banana puree is swirled through cream with chopped-up banana chunks.

IMG_8416
Vanilla Cream

The vanilla cream is the original flavour and you can see and taste the vanilla - the cream is dotted with black flecks.

IMG_8412
Gimme

The chocolate cream was actually my least favourite, as it just tasted like a chocolate mousse. Tasty enough, but not nearly as good as the others.

Weemalee thoroughly enjoyed it though, as you can see above.

DSC01321

IMG_8418
Ex-Totoro

IMG_8417
And then there were three


There is a little café upstairs called TOLO which serves the Totoro cream puffs, as well as other sweets and savoury snacks.

We didn't go, as we ate our puffs at the tables outside.

I did use the facilities though, which are as adorable as the rest of the place.


IMG_8432

IMG_8433

IMG_8434



Below is the sign for the TOLO Café upstairs.

As you approach, it's the first thing you see, which is why we thought we were lost as it has no mention of the Shirohige Cream Puff Factory downstairs.

IMG_8436
 


DSC01329
Shirohige Cream Puff Factory Window

shirohigelogo2

Shirohige's Cream Puff Factory
www.shiro-hige.com
Setagaya-ku 5-3-1 (東京都世田谷区代田 5-3-1)
Tokyo Prefecture
Telephone: 03-5787-6221

Open everyday except Tuesdays, unless Tuesday is a holiday, when it will open, but will close Wednesday instead

Opening Hours 10:30 to 19:00

(though I'd go in the morning just in case the Totoro cream puffs run out!)


GOOGLEMAP

3 minute walk from Setagayadaita Station (Odakyu Odawara line)
7 minute walk from Shimokitazawa Station (Keio Inokashira line)
7 minute walk from Shindaita Station (Keio Inokashira line)

shirohigemap