The words “Un Grain” roughly translate to “one little grain”. The meaning behind these words is to use ingredients that were carefully made from little seeds and to create little cakes that are like little “grains”. This shop is presented by the famous cookie brand YOKU MOKU. The 45-year-old brand strives to present a new type of sweets that have not been seen before in Japan. These little, bite-size cakes are also known as Les Mignardises in French. The word mignardise holds the meaning of elegant and lovely.
Normally, in a French course meal, these cakes are presented at the end to finish the meal. At Un Grain, instead of having these little cakes at just the end of the meal, they want their customers to enjoy the cakes as they enjoy their time with their family and friends.
At Un Grain, all of the customers are allowed to choose from over 40 types of mignardises. People can choose from shopping bags or stylish boxes that come in six sizes to put their sweets in. One of the great things about the cakes at Un Grain is that you get to choose your own combination of sweets. Will you choose based on the appearance of these little gems? Or will you choose the familiar classic cakes? There are various cakes from mont blancs to strawberry tarts. This cake store has the atmosphere of a jewelry shop, with the little gem-like cakes in display cases.
These cakes would make perfect decorations and table toppers for Christmas parties or afternoon tea.
The chef in residence at Un Grain, Fumiyuki Kanai spent time apprenticing at the three-star restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris, France. Guy Savoy attracts many celebrities from around the globe and you can only imagine the extraordinary amount of skill this chef must have. After honing his patisserie skills at highly regarded restaurants such as Guy Savoy and Le Chiberta in Paris and the Alain Ducas-produced Benoit in Tokyo, chef Fumiyuki Kanai has gone solo with Un Grain, a shop in Tokyo’s Aoyama specializing in mignardises.
There are two types of confections available at Un Grain: gateaux / gateaux demi-secs (raw and half raw sweets) and gateaux secs / confiseries (baked sweets and candies).
These little confections that are smaller than 5 centimeters cubed contain a whole lot of meticulous planning on the chef’s behalf. Every aspect of it is the result of the art form that is cake making. To be honest, just writing up the descriptions for these cakes has my mouth watering and craving something sweet…
The Toutain Chocolat uses intensely flavored chocolate and is made up of multiple layers that are varied in the intensity of flavors. The base is made from chocolate crumble and on top of that, there is a layer of moi lou chocolat (a spongey chocolate cake) and milk chocolate ganache flavored with Armagnac liquor. The entirety of this little gem is covered in “melt-in-the-mouth” ganache. This specific confection goes great with dry champagne or hard liquor.
The Petillon is another one of the most popular staple favorites of Un Grain. This cake has layered bergamot mousse and earl grey tea brûlée as well as bits of bergamot confit (basically caramelized bergamot). The light bergamot mousse is made from bergamot found in Kochi prefecture which is extremely rare in Japan.