Matcha Parfait (Japan)

You walk into a quaint Japanese dessert shop alone. A woman ushers you to a table for two. You sit with your back facing the entrance, unwilling to be reminded of the outside world. Of reality. Today, you want to enjoy a matcha parfait.

A matcha parfait is deceptively simple. One part soft-serve ice cream, a spoon of sweet adzuki beans, bite-sized cubes of agar jelly and mochi, topped with homemade whipped cream. Or perhaps the matcha parfait of your dreams has blueberries and strawberries. Or a layer of creamy matcha mousse. Or pieces of perfectly moist sponge cake. Simple, elegant, and yet, complex at its core. The perfect dessert to eat and explore each corner, quietly contemplating the hidden meanings within both the dessert and yourself.

There may be a darkness that you are scared of. A world inside that you both hope and fear to discover. A secret you are afraid to unearth. Hidden beneath the spoonfuls of adzuki beans, what lies beneath?

This capsule comes with 3 fiction books that are written by Japanese authors, one of which is published by Unnamed Press, a small, independent literary publisher in Los Angeles.

  • In Plain View by Julie Shigekuni
  • Sanshiro by Natsume Soseki
  • The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima

Price: $40

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Affogato (Italy)

The sun beats down the top of your head as you walk on cobblestone streets to the nearest cafe. You reach delicately placed tables scattered outside of a warm yellow bricked building and sit down at the table nearest to the street. You want to see all the people passing by. All the details that ordinary tourists miss, all the answers hidden in between the cracks on the floor. All the faces of locals for whom this kind of setting is just ordinary.

An old Italian man places a dish holding a chilled bowl of ice cream and a glass shot of espresso in front of you. Affogato. A happy marriage of vanilla gelato and espresso. Cold ice cream drowned in a shot of hot espresso. Two blissful ingredients pledging eternal union.

You are surrounded by couples. Some locals, some tourists, some tourists on first dates with attractive locals, unable to speak sentences to each other but smiling, laughing. You wonder if, when, that’ll happen to you.

For you, it is different. The affogato is a reminder of the thing - that thing, that annoying thing you don’t know how to define. This affogato, ephemeral in its pleasure, atop this faded yellow tablecloth, sitting on ancient cobblestone streets with tiny cars passing you by. This is a place that is anything but normal. A place where you will find what you are looking for. A place that, you suppose, holds the answer.

This capsule comes with 3 fiction books that are set in Italy, one of which is published by Unnamed Press, a small, independent literary publisher in Los Angeles.

  • Florence in Ecstasy by Jessie Chaffee
  • The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
  • The Wine-Dark Sea by Patrick O'Brian

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Creme Brulee (France) Mini Capsule

You sit on a picnic blanket on a lawn of grass, surrounded by many others doing the same. Far away in front of you is the Eiffel Tower, the sun setting behind it, that magical moment when the sky glows red and orange before succumbing to the darkness. A white ramekin lies daintily on the blanket, the top caramelized and burnt, the sun reflecting in its sugar crystals.

Creme brulee. With a firm snap of your spoon the burnt crust shatters, revealing a fragile custard filling, quivering. The sweet, eggy custard combined with the bitterness from the burnt sugar. Inhumanly smooth and crunchy - the perfect blend of textures. As you eat the creme brulee, the Eiffel Tower sparkles. It is this moment that you realize what the French have mastered: appreciating the simple things in life.

“Instead, she cultivates a taste for small pleasures: dipping her hand into sacks of grain, cracking creme brulee with a teaspoon, and skipping stones on at St. Martin’s Canal.” Amelie, 2001.

This capsule comes with 3 fiction books that are set in France, one of which is published by Unnamed Press, a small, independent literary publisher in Los Angeles.

  • Hunting Party by Agnes Desarthe
  • The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean Paul Didierlaurent
  • 2 English Girls and the Continent by Henri-Pierre Roche

Price: $30

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