If your initial response to the above headline was anything like mine, your heart would be racing, you'd be blinking in disbelief, and your already overactive salivary glands would really be working overtime.
But it's true. It's true. Beard Papa have finally opened in Chatswood. They've been open since the 27th of April. I know! I know! Why did noone tell me?
Were it not for Billy's photo, I would never have been the wiser. But as soon as we realised that our wildest dreams had come true, we were over the Bridge in a shot. Well, within four days. On Thursdays they open late. Woohoo.
We raced into Chatswood Westfield with adrenalin pumping. Shopping centres are always inpenetrable mazes, and we scanned the horizon, the map and the shopping directory with increasing urgency. Would it be sad to admit I may have said "This is like hunting for the clue box in the Amazing Race"?
"Wait!" I pointed excitedly. "That guy! Down there! He's carrying a box! A Beard Papa box! He came from that way!" We pelted down the escalators in search of Phil, I mean, Beard Papa, and then, there it was... I'm sure I heard a chorus of angels.
So what's the big deal? Beard Papa are cream puffs for the choux pastry connoisseur. Originally opened in Japan in 1997 (who else would have a pipe-smoking Santa-like figure as their mascot), there are now hundreds of Beard Papa stores all over Asia and the United States.
The allure of the Beard Papa cream puff lies in its freshness. The puffs are baked fresh every three hours and only at purchase are they filled with vanilla-bean-speckled dollops of whipped cream custard. I'm sure I spotted a leaflet in the Broadway store in New York that boasted that the secret to its crispy choux pastry lay in its unique two-layer shell. The inner sweet fluffiness comes from its core of choux pastry, the crisp outer layer is a piecrust shell.
Freshly baked cream puff shells
Filling each cream puff with custard to order
The girls welcomed us with traditional calls of "Irrashaimase" and their uniforms were so Japanese it made me smile. Samples of both vanilla and chocolate cream puffs were warmly dispensed and within minutes we were trotting away with this season's trendiest handbag.
The verdict? As good as ever. I had my first encounter with Beard Papa's in New York City (I know... I had walked past so many when in Japan but for some reason never actually ate one... argh, the agony when I got back and realised my fatal error!). So I feel as if I need to pay penance for my Japan non-consumption sins. Well, that's the excuse I'm using.
The Sydney version, I'm glad to say, lives up to that revelatory New York memory. Pastry that crunches as you bite into it, soft fluffy innards and a burst of smooth silky custard that makes your toes curl with glee.
But now Sydneysiders don't need to travel to Japan. Or the States. Or the Philippines. Or Singapore. Just Chatswood.
So go. Now. Choux won't regret it =)
Beard Papa's Sweets
K353a Chatswood Westfield
(near General Pants)
1 Anderson Street, Chatswood, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9412 2214
Monday-Wednesday and Friday: 9am-6pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9am-5pm
1 puff: $2.50
6 puffs: $12.00
12 puffs: $20.00
Related GrabYourForks posts:
Beard Papa's Sweets, March 2007
Beard Papa's Sweets, October 2006
Puffy at Market City, Haymarket Chinatown, July 2007
Puffy at World Square, City, September 2006
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6/05/2006 11:56:00 pm