Payard New York & Henri Carpentier

Francois Payard 
François Payard is a third generation French Pastry Chef born in Nice on July 16th, 1966. François cultivated his passion for the art of Pastry as a child in his grandfather’s acclaimed shop, Au Nid des Friandises on the Riviera. He grew up surrounded by the delicious classic French pastry in the tradition carried on by his parents and grandparents for over fifty years.
This is his only shop cum cafe in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. There are only about 10 seats available so most people would takeaway the cakes. The other one is in Yokohama.
In 1998, he was acknowledged for this by being awarded “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the Bon Appétit Food & Entertainment Awards and again in 2001 by the International Pastry Competition Committee-Beaver Creek. In July of 2004, François was honored with the prestigious Ordre du Mérite Agricole, Medal of Honor by the French Government. And in 2005, he received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for having one of the most outstanding wine lists in the world as well as being selected in 2006 as a member of Relais Desserts International a professional association of the 85 Best Pastry Chefs in the World.François was also honored with the Dom Pérignon Award Of Excellence for 2010. 
The Bar Seats with nice lightings
If you choose to dine in at the cafe, do try the signature chocolate ice cream. I saw many people ordering it though I haven't tried it yet.
Payard's Signature Lourve Cake
This cake really lives up to the name of Francois Payard as the quality of the chocolate is really good and stands out from the crowd.

Enrobed in a chocolate glaze is the dark chocolate mousse, centred with a hazelnut mousse accented with coffee, hazelnut dacquoise (white sponge looking layer) and hazelnut wafer)
This creation will not make you feel too sick of chocolate after having it. The texture of the mousse is also just right as compared to some that are too dense.

[Seasonal Item] Verrine Du Japonais (Hazelnut milk chocolate mousse, with Yuzu curd and topped with Marron Cream)
I guess the Japonais must have been inspired by the ingredient Yuzu. Somehow, it seems like anything that contains Yuzu implies something Japanese to the Westerners. Hmm, seems like the theory of Orientalism can apply to food as well. Well, this was delicious but not very exciting. It would be better if the components of the verrine are more varied as the dominant flavour was just simply the hazelnut mousse.

[Seasonal Limited Edition] Pumpkin Banana Walnut Mousse Tart
Those who do not like banana will find this acceptable as the amount of mash bananas is not too much and its better than eating slices of them. The combination of pumpkin+banana can be a little too sweet but the tart shell is definitely well executed.

Henri Carpentier is another very popular patisserie shop in Japan and can be found almost everywhere. However, the quality of the cakes remained very high and one would always find new items as usual on the shelves. Having tried their cakes on many different ocassions, it is still quite surprise to know that the shop is in fact, opened by a Japanese called 蟻田尚邦 and not a French man. The first shop was opened in 1969 in 阪神。Anyway, here are the two latest creations that were released in October. 
[seasonal] Mousse Rouge ala Patate Douce
sweet potato mousse, burnt sugar mousse.
since my photos of the cross section of cakes are always quite hideous, it is better to show the components using the photos from the official website.
(from top to bottom: sweet potato mousse, cream cheese blancmange, sweet potato paste and sponge layer)
香糖 actually translates into burnt sugar. 紅芋 is equivalent to purple sweet potato. 
[seasonal] The Ultimate Black Tart (no chocolate at all)
Tarte Noire au Sesame et Banana
from top to down: Black sesame mousse, banana compote, almond cream that has been added with traditional japanese bean paste, black tart shell
Both the red cake (above) and this black tart stood out among the many cakes that I've tried because of they are made out of many different components and thus it must have taken the chefs quite an amount of time to assemble them. Furthermore, the core ingredients like sesame and sweet potato are seldom used in such a manner, which made them looked and tasted interesting.
For more information about Henri Carpentier:
Upcoming posts will feature halloween-themed pastries!