Food and Art go together; so what better venue could there be for throwing a cookie launch party than an actual art museum? We were recently invited to the Whitney Museum of American Art on Gansevoort Street to celebrate leading Japanese French-style confectioner Malebranche’s U.S. launch of its Maru Cha Cha matcha-based biscuits, and the evening was a terrific mix of food, art and Japanese culture.
The event went beyond the traditional cocktail party to include not only cocktails and delicious passed appetizers, but also tastings of the unique Maru Cha Cha cookies, including an indulgent Trifle dessert recipe by James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Anthony. Guests had the chance to meet and mingle with the Japanese brand-influencers behind Malebranche (a high end bakery in Japan) and to learn what Matcha — the key ingredient in the Maru Cha Cha biscuits — is all about.
Matcha is a powdered green tea made from the young tea leaves that are ground in a stone mill. Matcha can be enjoyed in thick (koicha) or thin (usucha) variations. Koicha, the base of Maru Cha Cha biscuits, is made with higher quality matcha, resulting in a richer flavor and allowing you to taste the inherent sweetness of the green tea.
“We believe that, as of late, Japanese cuisine and culture are gaining immense popularity in the U.S., but we barely see the Japanese biscuits or snacks,” said Satoshi Isohata, director of Malebranche. “As our Maru Cha Cha biscuits are inspired by Kyoto culture and tradition, we hope that they will become a new treat of choice for New Yorkers’ daily routines and, at the same time, one that will give them a taste of Japan.”
Similar to green tea, matcha holds even greater nutritional value. And since you are consuming the entire leaf, rather than drinking a steeped tea, you get a higher concentration of antioxidants. These antioxidants of matcha are proven to help fight cancers, reduce the risk of heart disease, boost calorie burn and even offer some anti-aging benefits. In addition, matcha is rich in the amino acid L-theanine, which can help you focus and reduce stress and anxiety.
Beyond the benefits of matcha as a main ingredient, Maru Cha Cha biscuits are gluten free, do not use animal fat and are a great treat to snack on alone or paired with tea and coffee. The simple ingredients include rice flour, sesame oil, cocoa butter and matcha.
Some of the savory snacks we enjoyed at the party included flavorful Steak Tartare (pictured above).
While we took our desserts out onto the terrace to enjoy the lovely views, we were treated to an authentic Japanese live performance of Ikebana — the Japanese art of Flower Arrangement! The Ikebana artist took the display from the state you see above…
To this beautiful finished composition! It was fun to watch it all come together!
There was also a Jazz Trio! They really thought of everything to create a very memorable — and delicious — evening!
Maru Cha Cha cookies are available for purchase in specialty stores, including Dean & DeLuca, for a suggested retail price of $8 per 10-piece box and $14 per 20-piece box. They are also sold at Bon Marché in Paris and by Malebranche in Kyoto, Japan.
Everyone Had Fun!
And just look at that view!