As I wandered around the depachika level of the Takashimaya at Futako-Tamagawa, I thought I should get some madeleines for someone I know who loves them. There are several choices of patisseries there, and they all looked pretty good, until I came upon Henri Charpentier. If you had to go by appearance, Henri Charpentier’s madeleines (and financier pastries, among other items) were as perfect as they get. With most of the other patisseries, I look at their madeleines and I might imagine a perfectly good version, but when I looked at the counter at Charpentier, I was feeling a strong sense of desire for it. Not only were these completely exquisite, that perfectly golden sheen was completely alluring. I needed to have it. I think even Proust’s sense of nostalgia would have turned to desire with these. I bought a gift box of madeleines and financiers, and also bought a few for myself.
I’ve been enjoying madeleines for a few decades, and I feel I’ve been transformed since my experience with these madeleines. I mentioned in an earlier post about how the mentaiko I had in Fukuoka provided me with a transformational experience, and I felt similarly after trying the madeleines at Henri Charpentier. If there’s perfection in a soft butter cookie, this was it. At least that I’ve discovered up till now.
Luckily, for Tokyo-ites, there are Charpentier shops all over at fine department stores (in Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa as well), and several shops in the Kansai, Hyogo, and Aichi regions as well. This will make a good omiyage for my relatives in Hiroshima/Yamaguchi, next time I go there from Tokyo.
Henri Charpentier website: http://www.henri-charpentier.com/