Many tourists who have traveled to Japan’s picturesque Hokkaido will have heard of the famous dessert brand LeTAO and most likely its headline dessert, the double fromage.
This much-coveted cake, like its name, is a marriage of two layers of cheese ― an initial bottom layer of more conventional cheesecake topped by an ultra-light layer of near whipping cream-like cheese.
Shaped like a round wheel of brie cheese, dusted in soft, fine crumbs of castella cake and cleverly packaged in a wooden cheese box, double fromage was generally a treat reserved for those who made the trip to Hokkaido and those lucky enough to receive one as a travel gift.
LeTAO’s famous double fromage, two layers of baked cheesecake and soft mascarpone and fresh cream usted in castella cake crumbs (LeTAO Korea)
Now one can enjoy LeTAO’s double fromage and the brand’s other desserts in Seoul at a newly-minted, three-level shop that opened near Garosugil on April 10.
“We are LeTAO’s flagship Apgujeong store,” said the shop’s project manager Ko Sung-ju at the store’s launch press conference on April 8.
Venezia Rendezvous, made with mascarpone cheese and fresh cream sourced from Hokkaido (LeTAO Korea)
Of the decision to open in Sinsa-dong, across the street from Shingu Elementary School, Ko, 30, said, “There are a lot of office workers in the area and this location is close to Apgujeong Subway Station. We also feel that we can bring in people from Garosugil.”
LeTAO could be facing stiff competition from Mon Chou Chou, another famous Japanese dessert brand that successfully launched in Korea nearly two years ago and opened its first Korean flagship store near Seoul’s Garosugil last year.
Of the overwhelming response to Mon Chou Chou’s launch, Ko said, “We hope to surpass that.”
Ko explained that the plans are to start off selling LeTAO’s famous double fromage and other sweets before introducing soft serve ice cream almost two weeks after the launch and then bringing in seasonal specials.
As befits a brand whose headline dessert is double-layered cheesecake, many of the desserts created by LeTAO feature cheese as the main ingredient.
According to the new shop’s brand marketing manager Park Hyun-ji, LeTAO blends cheeses and dairy products sourced from around the world to create their sumptuous desserts.
The parfait d’or fromage, Park, 30, explained, is crafted from Italian mascarpone cheese, camembert produced in Hokkaido and cream cheese.
Parfait d’or fromage is crafted from mascarpone, camembert and cream cheese. (LeTAO Korea)
A blend of mascarpone and fresh cream is used to create the creme brulee-like Venezia Rendezvous cake, Park continued to elaborate, recommending that one also try enjoying it cold.
Then there is the much-talked-about double fromage, which is crafted from a lower layer of baked cheesecake and an upper layer that features Italian mascarpone cheese and fresh cream sourced from Hokkaido, Park revealed.
The blend of dense, intense, baked cheesecake and mild, utterly creamy mascarpone on top is a winning combination, one that is elevated by the restrained use of sweet and savory, a move that amplifies the natural richness of all that dairy.
At the new store, customers can enjoy the decadent dessert with coffee or champagne, which will be sold by the glass.
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org)