Monday, October 28, 2013

Avril De Bergue ベルグの4月: Yokohama's Baukuchem Specialist

Since Halloween is coming in a few days, the patisserie feature of the week is ベルグの4月 Avril de Bergue (not the singer Avril Lavigne) The shop specialises in Baumkuchen, a type of German Pound Cake made layer by layer like our local Kueh Lapis. Unlike cupcakes that never rise to popularity here, Baumkuchem always attract long queues even though there is only a number of ways for variation.


The man behind this patisserie is Chef Tsugio Yamamoto 山本次夫
Born in Kumamoto in 1951. Entered Imperial Hotel Tokyo. Trained in Europe for 8 years. Helped launch Patisserie Kihachi, another very successful pastry shop with several franchises in Japan now. Opened Avril de Bergue in 1988.


Photo from Printed Brochure

Here, there are 3 flavours: Browned Butter (white) , Framboise (pink) and Yokohama's top vegetable produce Komatsuna (green, also known as Mustard Spinach/Chinese Kailan). The vegetable flavoured baumkuchen still tastes sweet but does not reek of any unpleasant leafy taste. Similarly, the Framboise is also not too dry. One single slice cost ¥210. However, they have yet to surpass Club Harie, which serves one of the better baumkuchen in my opinion. Theirs are very soft and fragrant.


However, his cakes were a joy to eat. Carmague (カマルグ)¥420, a milk chocolate mousse cake named after a remote wet island off the South of France. Sea salt was added to the chocolate that sits on a custard and a crunchy nut base.

The Ceremony テ・セレモニー¥451 is a matcha opera cake with a crispy marbled white chocolate, moist green tea sponge, green tea mousse and chocolate ganache that is generously filled stuffed with steamed large-sized beans (not red beans)


This does not look like a macaron but it is a caramel flavoured one ¥181. A rustic texture which may win the hearts of those who find usual macarons cloyingly sweet.


My favorite was the "Halloween" ハロウィン ¥481 because it is impossible to find a similar item like this one. Creamy pumpkin mousse is paired with Jasmine rice vanilla pudding and lovely sable cookie balls. I finished right to the end without getting bored of the flavours. He has another product called "Pumpkin Pudding" which is a more common version of pudding in a jar.


Besides his pastry shop in Yokohama, he has also opened a cafe called Cafe da Cote where you can sit in to enjoy his pastries. Highly recommended as such good quality cakes are reasonably priced below¥500 (around S$6.30). Two years ago, I did a Halloween pumpkin sweets series but this year I decided not to because they looked beautiful but the components are similar. So far, this is only pumpkin sweet I had after the pumpkin tart from Chaya Macrobiotics for 2013 but it's the best and most unforgettable one.

Avril De Bergue ベルグの4月
2-19-5 Utsukushi-gaoka, Aoba Ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa
Hours: 9.30am-7pm
Close on Monday
http://bergue.main.jp/index.html (this website is updated regularly so you can check the latest info before heading down)


*The cakes were purchased at Ma Patisserie Isetan, a weekly rotating space featuring patisseries from all over Japan

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