Hideko Kawa presents her Chocolate Bonsai

Hideko Kawa’s creativity has no limits. Her love for pastry started many years ago when Hideko was growing up in Japan. Using her art and culinary skills Hideko began creating pastry items that looked truly genuine, and tasted fabulous as well - flavour is always her number one priority. Her love for culinary arts took her to some of London’s most prestigious and creative kitchens including Heston Blumenthal’s (she was Head Development Pastry Chef). Since Hideko set up her own business called SweetArt Laboratory, she has created many delicious, beautiful and fun items such as guitar cakes, edible picture frames, sugar champagne flutes and her famous chocolate mini-burger. She recently launched a range of confitures, including an awarded marmalade. Hideko is one of the most exciting pastry chefs in the UK, so we were very excited to get to know her favourite dessert created within last twelve months.

Chocolate Bonsai by Hideko Kawa

Which of the chocolate desserts that you created in the last 12 months is your favorite and why?

My recent favourite chocolate dessert is Chocolate Bonsai. It represents one of the elements of my Japanese Zen garden dessert plate accompanied by Matcha green tea.
For me it has a special place within my creations because it expresses my history, background, spirit and philosophy, both visually and tastefully.

How would you describe your dessert?

The chocolate Bonsai is a beautiful marriage of Japanese flavours and chocolate, such as wasabi white chocolate ganache which has the perfect balance of sweetness and hot wasabi spiciness. A dark chocolate branch with hint of black sesame gives crunchiness and flaky texture as well as toasted nuttiness and cacao flavour. Additional components, which are soft and chewy Umesyu plum jam, crunchy Matcha crumble moss and candied Kuromame cooked with sake and soy sauce containing high level of umami, are highlighting the whole dessert’s flavours and texture.
A last minute sprinkling of grated fresh wasabi gives a hint of genuine wasabi flavour and a beautiful aroma - fabulous!

What inspired you to create it?

The Japanese Zen garden from my home country inspired my soul and its philosophy leads my creativity. I thought that it was a great dessert concept for paring chocolates with a cup of traditional Matcha green tea. The sleek geometrical form of the chocolate planter is a nice contrast to the organically designed chocolate branches.
I presented it on a lacquered wooden tray creating a white sand effect with black sesame sugar for the silent beauty, tranquility!

Did it require any special techniques?

Basic chocolate technics were required, such as tempering chocolate and moulding chocolate to make chocolate shells for the planter. Chocolate branches were crystalized in water with ice cubes. Emulsifying chocolate with the wasabi flavored liquid.
Also, traditional Japanese Kuromame cooking method was introduced, as it gives deep flavor with Umami and a beautiful shiny black colour. This is traditionally common for New Year food called Osechi cuisne which is meant to wish health and wellness.

What was the most challenging in creating this dessert?

Wasabi is a natural product, so the strength of the flavor varies depending on the quality, growing location, freshness of wasabi… It requires me to taste it each time to adjust the perfect balance. Otherwise, I enjoyed so much creating the Zen world in the form of a dessert.

Which Cacao Barry Chocolate was used in this dessert and why have you chosen that one?

Cacao Barry Alto el Sol was used for chocolate bonsai planter because of its long lasting fruity bitterness. Cacao Barry Zephyr was used for the wasabi ganache because of its delicate sweetness and richness of milk.

If you would have to promote this dessert to attract people to try it, what would you say?

I would say “Chocolate Bonsai de GOZAIMASU”, politely bowing in Kimono.