Kitakarou: Choux Cream

Yes, I miss eating out.

This lockdown has been rough for all. But I wanted to re-visit some of the things I love about Hokkaido.

One of these is Kitakarou, which is a Hokkaido company that makes some of the most delicious food on earth. The company mostly features sweets like cookies (for souvenirs) and some savory goods as well. You’ll see their products at all the souvenir stands you see in Hokkaido. They have a very brilliant orange plastic shopping bag. Here’s the link to their Japanese website if you’re interested at all.

The focus of this post is their cream puffs, though. Or the Japanese refer to them as choux (pronounced shoe) cream. I believe they took this from the French version of the name, choux pastry.

Anyways, I know them as the American version of cream puffs. Kitakarou sells frozen and non-frozen cream puffs at their stalls. The frozen ones are usually for out-of-towners who buy them for families when they go back home.

The best way to experience these goodies is to buy them when they are freshly made.

Display case at the ESTA Department store basement.

The stores usually have three kinds, depending on the consistency and the outer shell. I think the inside filling doesn’t really change much.

Here’s a couple pictures of the original version:

In the box

As you can see, these things are huge. They fit in the palm of my hand, but they are definitely bigger than my fist.

So the outer shell is nice and fluffy, but it’s not very sweet. They are also quite sturdy to hold all the filling inside. However, they never get soggy and always remain chewy.

The inside filling is really creamy custard. As you can see, they fill up the entirety of the pastry so these things can really fill you up. I’ve never weighed them, but they are quite heavy when you hold one in your hand.

The other version called Kita no Yume Dome (北の夢ドーム) is a little bit sweeter because the crust is crispier than the original. I like this version better, to be honest. The texture of it reminds me a little bit of the top layer of a melon pan here in Japan.

The outer pastry is a little more delicate and less sturdy than the original version, but it’s still strong enough to hold all the filling inside. Again, it doesn’t get soggy at all! They remain fresh and tasty as you savor your treat.

This time, the filling inside is made up of custard and whipped cream. So even though the outside is sweet, the inside filling is balanced out by the richness and blandness(?) of the whipped cream.

There is a third version called Biscotto (ビスコッと). Sorry, no actual photos but I stole one from the official website you can compare:

The color of the outside pastry is lighter as it is chewier than the other two. It’s not as crispy so the texture is more like the sticky rice, mochi. However, the filling inside is the same as the original. I’ve had them before but I’m not a fan of this, even though I love mochi. I think there’s something about the color that makes it less appealing and very anemic. To me, the texture makes me feel like the outer shell is soggy.

So there you have it–Kitakarou’s cream puffs. Again, I prefer the original or the domed versions. I usually try to buy these when I can. For less than two hundred yen, you can’t go wrong with the taste and the price. They are definitely worth a try if you’re in Hokkaido.

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