Imagine opening a box to find 5 little Totoro cream puffs staring up at you with their curious little chocolate eyes like in the picture above.
Even if you managed to catch your breath from the world’s longest “d’awwwww,” would you have the heart to eat these guys? I mean look at them. It’d be like eating a box of kittens. Flaky, cream-filled kittens….
These Totoro cream puffs can be found only at Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory, a tiny bakery in Tokyo so quaint that it looks like something straight out of a Ghibli movie itself.
The plane white walls are decorated with Ghibli posters and stuffed animals of Ponyo, Totoro and other Ghibli characters sit on rustic pieces of furniture. And then there’s Shiro-Hige himself, the white-mustached pig patisserie who acts as the store’s mascot. While Shiro-Hige was created by the bakery’s owner and is unaffiliated with Studio Ghibli, he certainly looks like he would fit right in.
The adorable decorations you see on the heads of the Totoro cream puffs actually marks their flavor.
Below, you can see custard & whipped cream on the left, chocolate cream in the middle, and the summer-only peach cream on the right. Two more seasonal flavors, strawberry cream and (of course) chestnut cream are available in the spring and fall respectively.
Resisting the temptation to take them home and put them on our nightstand, we instead took fork in hand and dissected the poor little Totoro cream puffs to pass around for taste testing.
Their sacrifice was not in vein as the cream puffs were just delicious as they look. The custard & whipped cream was your standard creme puff fare with a pleasing hint of vanilla bean. The chocolate cream was mild in sweetness but rich in flavor and the peach cream had little chunks of peach in it that made it taste like summer itself. All were wrapped in flaky crust and after that first bite we were convinced we could consume an entire forest full of adorable Totoro cream puffs without remorse.
The cream puffs are made fresh every day and quantities are limited, so you might want to call ahead in advance before visiting.
■Shiro-Hige’s Cream Puff Factory
Address: 3-21-21 Takaidohigashi, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
Business Hours: 10:30-19:30 (Close Mondays)
Photos: Yayoi Saginomiya
▼The little guys are about 10cm tall and cost 390-430yen each
▼Ghibli and Shiro-Hige goods decorate the walls
▼Totoro-inspired cookies, shaped like leaves, mushrooms and chestnuts, are also on sale
[ Read in Japanese ]