@parlor_sweets is a delectable Instagram account that curates pre-packaged desserts from konbini, or convenience stores, across Japan. American 7-Elevens aren't known for their assortment of sweet treats, save for a Slurpee on a hot summer day, which is why this enticing convenience store content lured us in.
A gooey soufflé pancake melts onto crumbs waiting to collect the overflow.
A cartoon cow rests on the froth of a creamy milk pudding that bounces as it's scooped.
The thick middle of a glazed cookie cream puff feels glutinous to watch as it oozes from the rupture.
The members of @parlor_sweets's curators — who call their group BAKE — are just as delightful as the desserts they share. Intrigued by the dizzying varieties of delectable treats, they document them through photos and videos on their Instagram account. We asked them to tell us more about their group, why they came together, and how their account "introduces the beauty of Japan overseas."
Why convenience store desserts?
In konbini, there are wide varieties of desserts at decent prices. Among other things, these desserts catch the most attention from foreign travelers. The packaging is well-designed to appeal to customers and some are co-directed by famous patissiers or brands. [For example], the cake that was collaborated with Godiva was absolutely superb in terms of both presentation and taste.
How and why was BAKE started?
We first met up through an online community and agreed to run a co-owned Instagram account. Since Tokyo had already been chosen to host the 2020 Olympics, we were hoping to introduce the beauty of Japan overseas. At that time, Iwashi happened to be eating a konbini dessert and proposed the idea to us. We intuitively knew that's what we had to do. Unfortunately, the Olympics have been postponed, but we hope our content is one reason to visit Japan.
Do you actually try all the desserts you post?
Sure! We all fight for the yummy desserts in my family. The cream puff that I posted the other day was my third one. They [my family] made it disappear twice very quickly. I've learned to set up a photo shoot as soon as I bring it back home.
Which is your favorite?
I would recommend them all because they are all my favorite, but above all, I love Mille Crepes.
They are French cakes that were born in Japan. Crepes are layered with cream to form a layered cake. Not only that — it's creamy, moist and flavorful, with a delightful array of textures in each bite. It's an instagenic and mouth-watering dessert, even to the followers.
I'd also recommend Demon Slayer.
This was sold as a limited edition in Japan with a special collaboration with Demon Slayer. It's so popular now in Japan. I got lucky to be able to get my hands on this. One of my buddies in our team hopped around the countless konbini and had no luck. People have gone crazy for it and they swept it all up from every store on the very first day.
Which is the worst and why?
They were all so good, but I struggled the most with Daifuku.
It was hard to make it look appealing. Mochi (the outer part) is sticky and not easy to cut sharp. I wasn't happy with the photo shoot, so I kept going back to the store. [I bought] the same item so many times that the worker there gave me the great advice to buy more at a time. Hope you like that post.
Finally, introduce yourselves!
Hiroto/ account manager:
Male, 42 years old, living in Tokyo.
Originally not being a big fan of sweets but having this account opened my eyes for dessert. I'm horrified to know my weight every morning.
Female, 37 years old, living in Ibaraki Prefecture.
Currently with a big bump called baby. When she eats konbini dessert the baby shows happiness with a kick. Running this account for her is a "sweet" education for a baby. Just hoping that the baby doesn't get stuck in there at birth.
Male, 35 years old, living in Hyogo Prefecture.
He has generally admitted to being a big sweets lover, whether it's western or Japanese dessert.
His issue is that his photo shooting skills really suck. He had to redo his photo shooting, buy more sweets, eat them all and repeat. His weight is on the rise along with this project.
Male, 37 years old, living in Kanagawa Prefecture.
The only issue he has is that he's not allowed to eat sweets for a health reason. All he does is complain and drool when he watches. I think he needs a bib.
Top image: Instagram: @parlor_sweets