BOSTON – Bake it. Fill it. Frost it. Enjoy each and every bite of it. There’s a brand new baked good taking Boston by storm, and its name is Beard Papa.
Beard Papa’s is an international chain that started in Osaka, Japan in 1999, and expanded to hundreds of stores in 15 countries around the globe. With its quirky bearded mascot and massive cult following, their newest store in Boston’s Chinatown has solidified their reputation for making the world’s finest cream puffs.
“We didn’t realize until we opened a store, and then all the Japanese people around Massachusetts area just [came] swarming to the store. It’s like a Dunkin’ Donuts in Japan so basically, before people get on train, they just grab a few to go. Many of our customers come back every day, getting a whole box for the family and for friends.”
So why exactly have these cute, creamy treats turned into such a food phenomenon? Perhaps it’s because they use nothing but all natural ingredients, including locally-sourced milk, heavy cream, and butter. Or maybe it’s because everything is always made on site; or that they’re easy to eat, and not too sweet. But the real key is that every single cream puff is filled fresh to order, so the outside stays nice and toasty, while their signature custard filling stays cool and creamy on the inside.
“The fillings are chilled in the fridge before serving so that creates a really unique taste and experience, because the shells are baked fresh and it’s warm and crispy and then the fillings are cold and fresh.”
Now, let’s talk flavors. The original Beard Papa Cream Puff is pumped with a smooth Madagascar vanilla bean filling and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Or, you can get it stuffed with a traditional Japanese green tea filling. There’s the silky, smooth Dulce De Leche if you want something a bit naughty; Caramel Pumpkin if you come when it’s in season; or you can get your cream puff dipped in chocolate, get a whole shell that’s actually made out of chocolate, or even order one of their unique French-inspired pastries that’s like a cross between a Spanish churro and an American donut, then dipped in chocolate and stuffed with cream.
Everybody has a favorite, and every one of these treats is a bargain. The original cream puff costs less than three dollars, and an order of five minis is only five bucks. In terms of quality to cost ratio, it just doesn’t get much better. And in terms of flavor, it can’t be any fresher.
The standout item at Beard Papa’s, at least in terms of value, isn’t a cream puff at all. It’s what they call a Fondant, or as you might know it, a molten chocolate lava cake. It’s incredibly rich, smooth, and decadent, with the liquefied chocolate center, a cookie crust on the bottom and crispy cake around the edges. A dessert like this can easily run you about $15 at a fancy Boston restaurant, but at Beard Papa’s, they charge less than $3.50.
Even better, it’s also available in a macha green tea flavor. What it may lack in eye-appeal, it more than makes up for in flavor and aroma.
“Green tea in Asian culture is more like coffee in the Western culture. So it does have a certain degree of bitterness, but mostly it’s the green tea aroma. So you can taste the tea leaves. And it’s also very healthy.”
You can find Beard Papa’s at 31 Harrison Avenue in Boston, a new location at 145 Brighton Ave. in Allston, and online at beardpapa.com.
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