By Kumi Matsumaru/Japan News Staff WriterStrawberry season is here, bringing a delicious taste of early spring to our local grocery stores. These luscious fruits are great on their own or blended with yogurt, but indulging in a wide variety of strawberry sweets in a relaxed, sophisticated setting may be an even better way to mark the end of winter.
Under the banner of “Strawberry Sensations,” ANA InterContinental Tokyo in Akasaka, Tokyo, is offering strawberry enthusiasts the chance to enjoy numerous dishes throughout the hotel through March 31.
At the Atrium Lounge on the second floor, for example, where a soaring “macaron tower” greets visitors, an afternoon tea set is served for ¥4,900 per person, excluding tax. Besides the standard fare of sandwiches and scones, the set includes strawberry tarts and cream puffs.
There are also about 22 drinks to choose from, and drinks prepared with strawberries can be ordered for an extra fee.
Among the sweets is French confectioner Laduree’s strawberry macaron, which offers a lovely harmony between the crisp, sweet shells — with a faint hint of sourness — and the fluffy, rich cream inside. Laduree was the first company to make macarons, and Laduree Japon Chief Company Officer Masaru Watanabe said it was an honor for the company to help create the 4.5-meter-tall tower prepared with about 6,500 macarons.
For the height of luxury, visit the Club InterContinental Lounge on the 35th floor for a ¥50,000 (for two people) combination of a bottle of champagne and a variety of desserts made using rare white strawberries. The lounge is normally for guests only, but it is open to visitors during the event.
The white strawberry desserts, which range from compote to candy coated strawberries, look elegant and sophisticated. The grand view of central Tokyo from above only adds to the treat.
For those who want to enjoy champagne and strawberries in a more casual setting, a 20-item “Strawberry Picnic Buffet” for ¥4,600 per person at the Champagne Bar on the third floor may prove an ideal option.
I enjoyed a surprising yet tasty new flavor combination of strawberries and uncured ham pizza cooked with balsamic vinegar. Rolled crab and broccoli sandwiches, with bread made by adding strawberry paste to the dough, are another wonderful twist on the strawberry theme. The set menu comes with coffee and tea. A glass of champagne starts at ¥1,500.
You also can buy tarts, eclairs, muffins and other pastries to take home at Pierre Gagnaire Pains at Gateaux on the second floor. A strawberry and vanilla martini and nonalcoholic strawberry drinks are available at the Mixx Bar & Lounge on the 36th floor.
There are more than 100 kinds of strawberry treats available during the campaign, according to the hotel.
ANA InterContinental Tokyo
Opening times vary. Visit the hotel’s website for information about dates and hours of operation during the campaign.
Address: 1-12-33 Akasaka, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Phone: (03) 3505-1111
Credit cards accepted
English menus available
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