Tag Archive | Ikebana

Japanese Confectioner Malebranche Launches Maru Cha Cha Cookie With a Fun Party At The Whitney!

Maru Cha Cha Packaging
All Photos By Gail

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.

Whitney Museum Exterior Elevation
Whitney Museum with the High Line in the Foreground

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.

Malebranche Interior
Above and Below, Inside a Malebranche Bakery Cafe in Kyoto.

Malebranche Interior

Maru Cha Cha Signage

According to a post by http://inthekitchen.org, 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.”

James Beard Award Winning Chef Michael Anthony
Chef Michael Anthony Addresses Party Guests

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.

Biscuits and Tea

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.

Steak Tartare

Some of the savory snacks we enjoyed at the party included  flavorful Steak Tartare (pictured above).

Charred Broccoli
Charred Broccoli with Shaved Parmesan

Chicken Salad
Chicken Salad

Maru Cha Cha Trifle Dessert
Maru Cha Cha Trifle Dessert Recipe By Chef Michael Anthony

Ikebana

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…

Maru Cha Cha Ikebana Completed

To this beautiful finished composition! It was fun to watch it all come together!

Maru Cha Cha Party Jazz Band

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.

Maru Cha Cha Party Crowd

Everyone Had Fun!

Whitney Terrace View

And just look at that view!

Must See Seattle Attraction: Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass Signage
Persian Ceiling Gallery, All Photos By Gail

Sometimes, you can see something so beautiful that it invades your imagination forever. I have been a fan of Glass Artist Dale Chihuly for years, but have never seen a comprehensive exhibit of his large scale works in person until I had the opportunity to visit Chihuly Garden and Glass during my recent stay in Seattle. While it is inarguably a beautiful city with innumerable natural attractions and tourist destinations, if you can visit only one notable spot on a trip to Seattle, go to Chihuly Garden and Glass. This place will completely and totally blow your mind and it is absolutely unlike any attraction you can see anywhere else.

I have been to museums and botanical gardens of all kinds all over the country, but have never before seen works of art and nature as consistently gorgeous as I did at Chihuly. Made up of eight exhibit galleries, a theater, a glass atrium and an outdoor garden, the “Oh Wow” factor of Dale Chihuly’s magnificent glass works is just insane, but I am going to let some of the photos I took during my visit do most of the talking.

GLASS FOREST

Glass Forest

Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail

After passing through an introductory hallway where you can read brief, informative paragraphs on the history of Dale Chihuly’s career, you will come to the Glass Forest, the only Gallery in the museum featuring glass pieces where artificial light (in this case, neon tubing) is incorporated into the glass. The Glass Forest installation is so beautiful, it took my breath away. I could not even imagine how much more amazing it would get.

NORTHWEST ROOM

Northwest Room

Each stage of Chihuly’s work represents a series, and in the Northwest Room you can see the glass baskets he created based on traditional woven baskets made by Native Americans. The Northwest Room also contains a small cross section of Chihuly’s extensive collection of gorgeous Navajo Blankets.

SEALIFE ROOM

Sealife Room Centerpiece

The Focal Point of the Sealife Room is a ceiling-high blue glass sculpture dotted with pale amber blown glass Sea Creatures. This large piece is a good example of the modular nature of Chihuly’s sculptures of this type, in which individual glass limbs or bulbs are hung on a central, grid-like pole. This type of construction allows each installation to be site specific.

PERSIAN CEILING

Persian Ceiling2

Thousands of pieces of blown glass of all shapes and colors reflect their beauty behind the glass panels of the Persian Ceiling gallery.

Persian Ceiling Reflection

MILLE FIORE

Mille Fiori Entrance

The Mille Fiore (Thousand Flowers) Gallery is an indoor garden of otherworldly delight. I think I took a thousand photos in this room alone.

Mille Fiori Blue and Yellow Orb

Mille Fiori Green Cactuses

Mille Fiori

IKEBANA AND FLOAT BOATS

Ikebana and Float Boat

The glass pieces in these two boats represent works inspired by fishing floats and also the Japanese art of Flower Arrangement known as Ikebana.

Float Boat

CHANDELIERS

Orange Chandelier

The Chandeliers in this gallery were previously included in the 1996 exhibit, Chihuly Over Venice, where Chandeliers were hung adjacent to or over the canals in Venice, Italy.

Gold and Red Chandeliers

Aqua Chandelier

MACCHIA FOREST

Macchia Forest

These flower-like bowls are lit only from above but they appear to glow from within due to process of layering colored glass on top of a white glass base. Hilariously, Chihuly’s Mother referred to these stunning works as “The Uglies.”

Macchia Forest 3

Macchia Forest 2

THEATER

Dale Chihuly
Dale Chihuly

At the end of the indoor galleries there is a small theater where you can sit and watch a series of fascinating short films about Chihuly’s many ambitious projects including those in Las Vegas, Venice, The Citadel in Jerusalem and Finland. Do yourself a favor and watch all of them.

GLASSHOUSE

Glass House

The centerpiece of Chihuly Garden and Glass is the Glasshouse, a 40-foot tall, glass and steel structure covering 4,500 square feet of light-filled space. The Glasshouse – the result of Chihuly’s lifelong appreciation for conservatories – draws design inspiration from two of his favorite buildings: Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and the Crystal Palace in London. The installation in the Glasshouse is an expansive 1,400-piece, 100-foot long sculpture in a color palette of reds, oranges, yellows and amber. Made of many individual elements, it is one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures.

Glass House 2

GARDEN

Yellow Cactus Monument

Just when you think you have seen every beautiful thing that could possibly be made of glass; get ready for your head to explode when you see the garden. On a beautiful sunny day (they do happen in Seattle) you will think you are in paradise as brilliantly colored glass flora mingles with complimentary species of living plants and flowers. Insane!

Garden Violet

Garden Red Monument

Garden Aqua Tulips

Garden Lillies

Garden Red Reeds

The Worley Gig cannot pile enough praise and hype on Chihuly Garden and Glass as the number one Must See Attraction for residents of and visitors to Seattle alike. We would also like to say a special Thank you to April, the museum’s in-house Head of PR, who was kind enough to not only comp our entry but to also give us a personal tour of the galleries. Chihuly Garden and Glass is fortunate to have such a passionate and knowledgeable employee.

Garden Black Bulbs

Chihuly Garden and Glass is Located at 305 Harrison St. (right next to the Space Needle and the Seattle Center Monorail Station), Seattle, WA 98109. Open Every Day, Hours are Monday to Thursday 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM and Friday to Sunday 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Visit This Link for Admission Prices and Additional Information on Special Events.