People are used to having and seeing round-shaped cream puffs. The cute pastries are perfect for sharing on Instagram with their adorable appearance and their delicious taste. They’re a crowd favorite in Japan as well with many pastry shops selling them as one of their most popular desserts. Now, while cream puffs are seen all over social media and a crowd favorite, why not switch up your Instagram game while in Japan?
Atami Square Chou à la crème (熱海スクエアシュークリーム) is a cream puff specialty store located in Atami, in Shizuoka Prefecture that is known for their, not round, but square cream puffs. Now if that doesn’t catch the attention of your social media followers and fellow sugar lovers, I don’t know what will.
Shizuoka Prefecture’s Atami Hot Springs area is known for its nostalgic cafes and stores, but Atami Square Chou à la crème brings a fresh new burst of air into the otherwise older area. This shop opened in February of this year, and ever since, its delicious and unique cream puffs have been taking social media platforms by storm, and are especially popular among young women.
Atami Square Chou was made as an attempt to create a new souvenir for the Atami area that tourists could buy that also had a sense of luxury and would have the potential to become the face of Atami.
Atami Square Chou à la crème is a three minute walk from Atami Station, and is a take-out only store. Please note that there is no eat-in space in the shop, except for a few benches located outside. The cream puffs here are baked in-house every morning, meaning that they are extremely fresh with adds to their taste and texture. The puffs are made in the shop’s oven every morning and on some days the shop bakes up to 1,000 puffs.
The cream that goes inside is also made in-house (of course), and comes in 6 unique flavors that are native to the Atami area. The unique square shape, is not only visually interesting, but makes it easier for the cream puffs to be carried home. The number of times I have brought home a cream puff or an eclair in a box only to find it pretty much destroyed by the time I opened the box are way too many to count.
That is not a worry with these square cream puffs as they are one pastry instead of something that is split into a top and bottom. Instead of having cream puffs that manage to explode, I honestly don’t know how or why they do, I suggest trying these square shaped ones! The square shape also represents the four seasons of Atami, and because the shop values the various faces nature shows throughout the seasons, Atami Square Chou is thinking of creating new cream puff flavors that feature seasonal ingredients.
The various flavors available at Atami Square Chou à la crème feature ingredients that are made locally and carry a tradition in the Atami area.
The custard cream puffs feature custard made from Tanna Milk, a brand of milk that originates in the Tanna Basin in Shizuoka Prefecture, known for its freshness. The milk allows the cream to be thick and extremely rich. The custard puffs are mellow and not too overbearing, making them the choice flavor for many people no matter their age or preference.
As Japan’s leading producer of green tea, the matcha made in Shizuoka is something else. The cream in the matcha puffs are made from the highest quality matcha, and also mixed with another type of green tea, adding an extra layer of depth to the flavor.
The strawberry cream puffs are made from Japanese strawberries, resulting in an extremely fragrant yet gentle cream puff. The harmonious relationship between the cream and the puff pastry is one that was made possible after experimenting with various types of strawberries.
The salt caramel cream puffs at Atami Square Chou feature Toda Salt, a brand of salt with 1500 years of history in Shizuoka. The salt from Toda Salt is a natural salt made by boiling sea water for over 13 hours over a firewood stove. The Toda Salt is joined by rum in order to make a more mature flavored cream puff that is extremely unique and provides a different flavor compared to ordinary cream puffs.
The parched barley, or known in Japanese as the “Mugi-Kogashi”, is based off of the summer festival, Kogashi-Matsuri, that takes place at Kinomiya Shrine in Atami. Kinomiya Shrine houses the god of landlords and is one of the most precious festivals in Atami. Parched barley, or Mugi-Kogashi, is considered to bring good fortune, and is incorporated into this cream puff in celebration of the summer festival and its heritage. This, along with the following dai-dai aren’t in the unique square shape that this shop is known for, but its original flavor makes up for its slightly more mundane shape.
The daidai is a type of citrus fruit grown in Japan, and Atami makes up a majority of the daidai’s production. The fragrant marmalade which is the main filling of this cream puff is 100% made of daidais, and its refreshing taste is extremely popular especially amongst the female customers.
It is also the recommended item of the shop’s chef.
If you are a pastry lover, like yours truly, and looking for a cute snap to add to your social media feeds, Atami Square Chou is the place for you. Not only can you find these unique cute cream puffs there, the entire city of Atami is a wonderful place to visit and a must-go for any visitors in the area.
Even if you aren’t staying for long, Atami is definitely worth visiting and what more could you want other than square shaped cream puffs? And cream puffs, at that, that won’t explode when you’re carrying them around or bringing them home as souvenirs?