Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tarts.
And suddenly, these delectable, palmed sized cheese tarts have taken the snacking scene on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat by storm.
But what exactly are they? Is it savoury? Is it sweet?
As far as i’ve heard, there are only two shops in Melbourne so far dishing out these Japanese cheese saucers, one on La Trobe St in the CBD, and one tucked away humbly in the corner of Boxhill Centro next to the Carrington Rd exit.
According to the large sign on display, the Hokkaido Baked Cheese tart all started in Kinotonya, a long established Western confectionery store located in Sapporo, Hokkaido.
The secret to these cheese tarts is, well, undeniably in the cheese. (Not going to lie though, I personally found the tart pastry quite the star of this snack, but more to that in the later paragraph)
Being the dairy source of Japan, Hokkaido-ian cheese is most often recognised for its silky smooth texture, and its unique mellow taste.
Aside from that, it is also apparently the most ‘ethical’ choice of cheese- these tarts claim to be comprised of cheese manufactured in Hokkaido from the milk of a ‘non-stressed’ cow.
But is this tart really worth the line up, the wait, the excitement and the price?
It was around quarter to 7 in the evening when I stumbled upon the little cheese tart store in Boxhill on the way home, and as if it were meant to be, there was not a single person in line. It was literally a clear, all access path to one of the most lined-up for snacks in town at the moment- why give up this opportunity to finally experience the hype of it?
It was AUD 3.90 for a single tart wrapped in their signature yellow paper bags- which is quite a fair bit to pay for a single palmed sized cheese tart for my liking (perhaps for the effort in keeping those cows as zen as possible?).
The first bite wasn’t breathtaking, but it wasn’t bad either- my taste buds were left in a… texture shock. I was pleasantly surprised at what lay under the nicely seared skin of the tart-a pale, semi-liquefied glob of very mild, slightly sweet tasting cheese (similar to a silky cream, only less oily). Just looking at it from the top, one would have expected it to be a little firmer, similar to the texture of a Cantonese egg tart or a baked new-york cheesecake.
I must comment that the pastry was awesomely baked- not overly crumbly as to leave the front of your black t-shirt specked with dandruff like crumbs, yet not overly hard as for my grandmother to chip her teeth on. It wasn’t dense either, and didn’t leave you feeling like you’d just downed some room temperature butter rubbed carelessly into flour.
I can’t deny that I like the flavour and feel of this tart- it isn’t sickly sweet, tastes rather natural, clean, and the paper lining isn’t transparent coated with oil.
However, I am still unsure as to ALL the excitement over it, especially at its price and sizing… don’t get me wrong, it is a delicious, delectable and delightful little thing, I just wouldn’t stand in line for more than 30 minutes for it.
Overall, this tart gets a 8 out of 10 from me, I personally quite liked the juxtaposition of the crispy pastry with the silky cheese paste (and I guess knowing the fact that this cheese came from a cow that was probably treated tenderly like a child), however my gal pal I was with commented that it was quite like an under baked cheese cake- but she does prefer her tart fillings a little firmer.
Worth a try if you’re in the CBD area or Boxhill as an occasional tea-time snack I say.
Stores located at:
LG19A, 211 La Trobe St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Box Hill Central, 1 Main Street, Box Hill, Melbourne