Friday, January 17, 2014

Jouvencelle Kyoto ジュヴァンセルの京洋菓子: Reinventing Wagashi

It bizzares me why Jouvencelle is seldom mentioned when it comes to Kyoto sweets. Perhaps it is seen as a Western patisserie and not as authentic as traditional Wagashi houses with a long historical legacy. Or perhaps people just head straight for the places that sell matcha parfaits.Established in Oike-dori 御池 in 1988, Jouvencelle is one of the few western pastry shops to incorporate western elements such as sponge cake and mousse into traditional Wagashi sweets. The green curtain that is hung at the entrance fondly reminds one of traditional tea houses. 
Jouvencelle not only serves matcha sweets and souvenirs but executes them very well. Take the first bite into this matcha pudding (420 yen) with an alluring dark sheen that is serve in a pretty porcelain cup. Instead of wobbling on the spoon, it stays very still as it is as rich as the creamy cheesecake and there was nothing else but a shallow pool of bitter black sugar syrup at the base. 
Fortunately, there was no azuki beans except for the few Tanba black beans scattered on top so one can fully enjoy the taste of Uji matcha without having to cope with the additional sweet ingredients.While matcha sweets are predictably one of the bestsellers on the menu, their signature item is none other than Saganoji 「さがの路」 (420 yen), a delicate square of pastry wrapped in Bamboo leaf, secured with a wooden stick and a tiny scroll scribbled with Japanese writings. 
This rather strange assembly of rare cheesecake made with Hokkaido cheese and a layer of mugwort mochi (not matcha) in the centre, is not as light nor creamy as most rare cheesecakes. Instead, the texture is similar to a French Guimauve without the airiness. The only sweet component was the outermost layer of matcha mochi. 

Most mochi are dense and filled with bean paste but not exactly for this 望月 (420 yen), a highly elastic glutinous floor sheet wrapped with kinako cream, black beans, white bean paste and sponge. 
It's intriguingly creamy and soft, with whiffs of toasted beans aroma from the kinako powder that settled on the elastic skin. Though many people prefer matcha sweets, I am sure many would be spellbounded by the brilliant taste of this kinako mochi.  Besides, how often can one find such kind of kinako sweets as compared to matcha sweets?

As a langue De chat lover, the matcha langue De chats are fashioned into delicate buttery cookies sandwiched with matcha chocolate that bursts with intense tea flavour. I was deliberating between this and the matcha crepe rolls, as both are equally competent to cope with a snack attack. 

Taketori-monogatari, a pound cake made with premium black beans and chesnuts, is another recommended item.
Perhaps one of the best thing about living in a capital city is that one gets to enjoy gourmet from all regions and thus the opportunity to gain access to these sweets without having to travel to Kyoto.But one will still be rewarded for making a trip to the shops where a wider variety of fresh cakes and baked goods await.  

Jouvencelle Kyoto ジュヴァンセル
Cafe and Restaurant Gion
Kyoto-shi Higashiyama-ku Yasakatoriimae Minami-iru
Kiyoi-cho 482, Kyoban Bldg 2F
10min walk from Gion Shijo Station or Kawaramachi Station
Daily 11am-7pm
京阪本線「祇園四条駅」から徒歩10分 阪急京都線 「河原町駅」から徒歩15分
Tel: 075-551-1511
For other outlets and map, visit official website here 
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  1. Went there last December for the Matcha Fondue!! Loveddddd it, wish they would give more of the matcha though hahaha. They'll add milk to your remaining matcha cup when you finish eating, but then it was like 99% milk 1% matcha~

    Jing Ting :D

    1. Oops btw I meant the Kyoto outlet, not sure if the Tokyo one has the fondue ah. Should definitely try if they have! ^_^

    2. Haha..actually it has no shop in Tokyo...this was during a Kyoto fair. but anyway, yes! i read about their signature matcha fondue!! definitely want to visit their cafe if i can visit Kyoto one day :D btw, i heard a hotel in Sg has introduced matcha fondue to their brunch but i forgot what name le.


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