I visited the most amazing patisserie in Zurich yesterday – the famous Les Gourmandises de Miyuko. I’d been in Freiburg (a city in Southern Germany, close to the Swiss border) and was travelling back to Berlin.
Freiburg doesn’t have an airport and Berlin is up in Eastern Germany (the travel time between the two cities is around 6 ½ hours by train) so it was actually cheaper and faster to fly to Zurich and then take the train across the border.
And a stop-over in Zurich is always a bonus! I had booked my return train and flight so I’d have a free afternoon in the city and after a quick visit to Kunsthaus museum to check out the new exhibition “Europa: The Future of History” (interesting!) I walked over to Kreis 6 district to visit Miyuko.
Les Gourmandises de Miyuko is a beautiful patisserie, tea room and boutique run by Swiss graphic designer Sara Hochuli and her business partner Dominik Grenzler. Miyuko is a manga-inspired character that Sara created in 2005 and which has been featured in a number of her art and design projects. In 2011, Sara and Dominik decided to open a Miyuko-themed café which immediately became a big success.
Miyuko is located in a quieter area of Zurich’s city centre but it’s still very central – trams # 14, 11, 7 and 10 run very close to the corner of Beckenhofstrasse. The café and store area is furnished in a beautiful mélange of Japanese kawaii (cuteness) elements and stylish French design. And the cakes, petit fours, tartes and pralines are equally impressive: colourful, luscious and opulent – check out the pics!
The menu also offers a proper British High Tea (served on a three-tiered cake stand) which includes scones with jam and clotted cream and – of course – cake! There are sandwiches and smaller dishes, coffee and tea beverages, soft drinks and home-made ice cream lollies. Everything is hand-crafted, many of the dishes and cakes are vegan and/or gluten or lactose-free, and the ingredients are sourced from small, regional manufacturers in the Zurich area.
Last year, Miyuko began to launch patisserie collections. The first collection, from autumn 2014, was called “Les Rèves d’Obscurité”, followed by “Usagi” in early 2015. Each collection is designed around one theme which usually reflects seasonal influences, impressions or particular ingredients, and includes around 30 different cakes, petits fours, chocolate bars and pralines.
The current edition is called “Rockin’ Sugar” and, amongst others, features Dream Cake (chocolate, maracuja and mango), Miyuko Kids (vanilla sponge cake combined with chocolate mousse), The Cherry Banana Bomb (vanilla sponge, cherry mousse and bananas), Peanut Butter & Caramel Madness (chocolate sponge, peanut mousse & caramel cream), Watermelon Ice Tea Splash (jasmine sponge cake, iced tea mousse and watermelon), Matcha Cola Sparkles (matcha tea sponge & cola mousse) and Chocolate Matcha Cubes – I had those and they were divine!
Sara uses a lot of Japanese ingredients in her creations and combines these with traditional French and Swiss patisserie techniques – some of the decorations on the cakes and petit fours are very intricate indeed. And if you like matcha, you are in the perfect place: Miyuko serves matcha latte (hot or iced), matcha cakes, matcha pralines and matcha chocolate, as well as matcha tea and several other matcha themed delicacies.
There are little Japanese toys and stickers, travel books about Zurich and Japan, mangas and scores of other cute things to buy in the store. Customers can also order speciality cakes or sign up for bakery/patisserie workshops, such as Vegan Baking, Gluten-Free Baking and Colourful Confectionery.
If you’re anywhere near Zurich city centre and have a couple of hours to while away, do yourself a favour and visit Miyuko. Highly recommended!
And while I am on the subject of Zurich and favourite cafés: Miyuko’s coffees are sourced from Café Noir, a fantastic little café and coffee roastery not too far away from Miyuko, on the other side of Limmat river. I am a big fan of Café Noir and always try and visit it when I’m in Zurich. I also buy my coffee there: Café Noir has a wonderful single origin mixture called Parchement – Robusta beans, strong and powerful, with deep notes of chocolate and nuts and minimal acidity.
I love Parchement and although Café Noir has an online store, they don’t deliver outside of Switzerland (letters and parcels sent to and from Switzerland are ridiculously expensive, at least when you ship from and to Germany). So I usually stock up when I’m in Zurich – I order a couple of kilos of Parchement in advance and pick it up in the café. It works out beautifully. And when I arrive back home my luggage is scented with the fragrance of freshly roasted coffee.