Posted in Sweets for the Sweet, The Flavors of Asia, The Grocery Shop-a-holic, The Joy of Snacks

In Which the Blogger Checks Out Treats from a Korean Bakery Franchise…

Dark choc crunchies, anyone?
Dark choc crunchies, anyone?

Despite its tres Francais-sounding name, the Tous les Jours chain of bakeries is actually from South Korea, though its chief stock in trade happens to be French-style breads, cakes, pastries, and snacks.  It’s another of those foreign franchise hybrids in the sense that it fuses western baking methods together with Asian ingredients and flavors; kind of along the lines of older, more established bakery franchises such as Singapore’s BreadTalk and the Filipino-Japanese JiPan bakeries.

Out of curiosity, I decided to sample a few of TLJ’s baked goods and pretty much had a mixed reaction to the lot.

A bag of crunchies from behind
A bag of crunchies from behind

The dark chocolate crunch (P 98.00 per bag) grabbed my attention from the get-go, seeing how I love anything with chocolate and nuts.

This snack features cocoa-flavored meringue with crushed peanuts and almonds mixed in before being piped into bite-sized kisses and baked.  The end result: crunchy, nutty little bites with a just bitter enough and just sweet enough chocolate flavor.

If you’re a fan of those crunchy little peanut kisses from Bohol or amaretti biscuits, you’ll love these wee crunchies.  I ought to warn you at this point that they can be pretty addictive.

Black rice...  Cream cheese...  Sounds like a plan...
Black rice… Cream cheese… Sounds like a plan…

Another surprisingly good choice: TLJ’s sweet black rice bread with cream cheese.  If you’re a fan of mochi and cheesecake, this bun can hit both of your cravings all at once.

The bun is made with flour ground out of what is known as forbidden rice – a type of rice that has naturally black grains and an almost honeyed sweet flavor when cooked.  (It is so named because the quality of its flavor and texture and its relative rarity once deemed it fit only for China’s emperors.)  As a result, the bun doesn’t look so pretty; indeed, it actually looks gray and uncooked.  But what it lacks in looks, it makes up for with regard to flavor: it is lightly sweet and the texture is appealingly unctuous and chewy.

The cream cheese is lightly sweetened and its tangy flavor goes well with the rice-flour bun.

TLJ also makes a black sesame sweet black rice bun with black-sesame-flavored cream cheese.  I can imagine how gloriously nutty that would taste.

If only it tasted better...
If only it tasted better…

Unfortunately, I wasn’t very happy with TLJ’s spin on classic French pain de Campagne.  

Pain de Campagne is, essentially, a naturally-leavened sourdough bread.  As such, it should have a fluffy crumb and a decidedly tangy flavor.  TLJ’s spin on this boulangerie classic is, alas, neither of these things.  The crumb is dense, almost caky-textured.  Likewise, the flavor was sweet bordering on bland – definitely not what I was expecting from a particularly handsome loaf.

Nevertheless, it’s the sort of bread that goes well with cheese and rich, thick soups.

TLJ also offers a wealth of other options: fresh cream cakes, Danish-style pastries, macarons, and cookies.  I’ll probably check them out some other time; they have sesame and almond kouign amann that are just begging to be sampled…

 

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Author:

Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended earlier this year. These days, she works for a corporate governance advocacy in Makati. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel.

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