Fall’s Sweetest Flavors

Cover Story Features

October 28, 2012

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel

The countdown is on: three days to Halloween, 25 days to Thanksgiving and one patisserie to sweeten up the holiday season. Enter Patisserie La Palme D’or. Owner Hiromi Tanaka brought this Japanese pastry concept from Mie, Japan, to Ala Moana Center six years ago, and since then has been ushering in droves of patrons who have a soft spot for cakes, pastries, croissants, sandwiches and drinks, all of which emphasize a decadent blend of French flavor and Japanese craftsmanship.

Akiko Kimura serves as head chef at Patisserie La Palme D’or, and with more than 14 years of experience, Kimura has perfected the art of baking, oftentimes utilizing her own personal recipes to create exquisite masterpieces, which are a feast for the eyes and the palate.

“I’m always thinking of new ideas all the time, and I am inspired by so many things. It’s fun to create new flavors and play up the presentation,” she says.

For Kimura, the premise of her creations is based on quality as she only brings the best ingredients to the forefront. In fact, she imports green tea and flour directly from Japan to maintain continuity in her desserts, which live up to the highest of standards.

“I choose not to use a lot of butter, cream and sugar. My desserts are on the lighter side,” Kimura says, noting that she likes to incorporate fresh fruit (local when possible), a healthy alternative that brings a naturally sweet flavor and pop of color to her edible works of art.

With more than 30 sweet treats to tempt you, Kimura says signature items include Strawberry Shortcake, Framboise Fromage, Jelly Au Lait, Plantation Tea Jelly Drink and Baked Cheesecake, to name a few.

Priced at $4.50 per slice and $27 for the entire cake, Baked Cheesecake is a customer favorite featuring rich and soft baked cheesecake atop a cranberry and hazelnut crust, finished off with a dab of whipped cream.

“I had taken Baked Cheesecake off the menu for a bit, but customers asked for it again and again, so I decided to bring it back for fall,” Kimura states. “It’s a lighter item on our menu that isn’t too rich. We’ve been selling a lot.”

And while many retail shops are already in the spirit of Christmas, Patisserie La Palme D’or is falling in love with fall as it’s currently highlighting this season’s must-haves.

Pumpkin Cheesecake ($30 whole cake, $4.80 per slice) is captivating in every sense of the word, as La Palme’s famous cheesecake is kicked up a notch and blended with the most extravagant pumpkin puree and spices paired with an almond and hazelnut cookie crust. Lastly, it’s adorned with a cinnamon honey creme to accentuate the flavor. If you purchase Pumpkin Cheesecake Oct. 30 and 31 it will be hauntingly beautified with Halloween decorations. Thanksgiving decorations will soon follow, as you are able to pick up this sweet ending to your Thanksgiving feast Nov. 20 and 21 (Patisserie La Palme D’or will be closed Thanksgiving Day).

“Our Pumpkin Tarte ($20) also is available for pick up Nov. 20 and 21, and as with the Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cheesecake, we advise people to place their order for Pumpkin Tarte beforehand. We’re very busy during the days leading up to Thanksgiving,” Tanaka says, noting that this dessert made especially for Thanksgiving features creamy pumpkin custard with coffee creme baked in a homemade flaky tarte. Delicious!

Now, if you’re in pursuit of yet another of Kimura’s holiday specialties, Pumpkin Pudding ($3.70) is the perfect choice. Get ready to devour spoonfuls of pumpkin custard pudding, topped with original whipped cream, a hint of caramel and pumpkin seeds.

And nothing says autumn more than chestnuts, thus making Mont Blanc ($5) a most-desired delight. It consists of smooth, rich chestnut cream with a hint of rum piped over a dollop of fresh whipped cream and almond cake, baked with chunks of chestnuts and tart cassis (gooseberry).

Patisserie La Palme D’or also hosts an array of desserts that are either low in gluten or gluten-free. Low-gluten creations are Palme Chocolat and Cheese D’or, while gluten-free desserts include Pave Chocolate and Rocky Chocolate.

“Rocky Chocolate ($4.60) is popular at the moment,” Kimura says of this chocolate lover’s fantasy complete with chocolate sponge cake double layered with milk chocolate cream, and finally topped with hazelnut chocolate-coated hazel nuts and macadamia nuts.

According to Tanaka, a great product, not to mention unbeatable customer service and an undeniable passion for the craft, are the prime ingredients for success. And here at Patisserie La Palme D’or, nothing is sweeter than this!

Patisserie La Palme D’or

Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sunday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96814

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Hawaii's Best