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The term "Japonais" is also the French word for Japanese!

Maybe you can help me, a mystery - an unusual but beautiful story of a cake - cookies you find in many Swiss pastry - food shops all over Switzerland!

I have been trying, for almost 3 years, to unveil the secret of the "Japonais" almond meringue cake - cookies filled with hazelnut flavored buttercream. It's not about the ingredients - the recipe, but the name or origin of this wonderful pastries. I researched on the Internet, talked with Japanese and asked all the pastry shops here in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Also I contacted:

Hug AG, which produces this pastry since the 50s

The Hug AG, also started a request at the Richemont competence center - bakery pastry shop in Luzern, Switzerland

The Swiss Baker Association

Cultural Center Embassy of Japan in Bern, Switzerland

The"Zuger Kirschtorten Gesellschaft" association of the cherry torte from Zug

etc. etc.

But nobody knows why they call this pastry "Japonais"!

As for the name, there are many, quite adventurous theories:

The Japanese flag, a red dot in the white field. For the "Japonais" it is a chocolate point in a brown field

The "Japonais" is a kind of sweet Sushi

Originally they had painted on this white dough red jam, which is similar to the Japanese flag - hence "Japonaismasse"

They squeezed and shaped the meringue mass using a piping bag - and the shape would always look like traditional hats of the Japanese/Chinese! "kasa" or asian conical hat

Even more confusing, it is also a term that is used to describe something that is made in the Asian style because "Japonais" (which means Japanese in French) is used to describe both the Japanese and Chinese styles of cooking.

Meanwhile, I was also told that the "Japonais" almond meringue cake with coffee - butter cream filling also is part of the heritage of the Indian colonial era.

The British certainly had a great influence on the Swiss tourism in the 19th century. Many well-known resorts like St Moritz have been created by the British. I quote: Early British tourists quickly made themselves at home, colonizing Badrutt's hotel and, when they tired of charades and fancy dress parties, played traditional games like golf, polo, tennis and cricket on the snow and ice and invented new pursuits.

Perhaps the name or origin of the "Japonais" almond meringue cake - cookies filled with flavored buttercream will remain a mystery. However, we know the ingredients - know how to make it and consequently we can enjoy these delicious pastries with a coffee or a tea.

By the way, my business partners and acquaintances from Japan are every time amused when I show them these pastries or talk about it!

Thank you

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