Release | みふねたまき（Tamaki Mifune）
Find Masako’s jam made with seasonal fruits at “tout le monde”, a cafe in Makkari Village
Those who like delicious things have probably heard of “La belle confiture masako”. It’s a “jam to enjoy fruits” made by Masako (Masako Suzuki) in Makkari Village, the village located at the foot of Mt. Yotei.
The flavor made with seasonal fruits has a vibrant aroma and fresh taste. The deliciousness of the jam instantly makes people addicted.
She uses various fresh fruits such as strawberries, rhubarbs, cherries, apricots, grapes, and apples, etc., grew in the neighborhood - Makkari, Yoichi, Niki, Sobetsu, etc. The jam will be in season from early summer to autumn.
In winter, when farms are entirely covered with snow, is not very busy.
As Masako told me her situation, I felt I should interview her in winter! So I visited Makkari Village. My destination is the cafe “tout le monde”, a place Masako established in 2012.
▲Mt. Yotei in winter looks as if someone sprinkled powdered sugar. Masako takes a picture of Mt. Yotei every day when the cafe is open. Taking a picture at the same point is her dairy habit.
tout le monde is a place for everyoneThere was a circular sign saying “tout le monde”. It looks like I am at the right place.
The white building with snow on the top looked like a strawberry cake with plenty of whipped cream. It looked kind of yummy.
There was a circular sign saying “tout le monde”. Looks like I am at the right place.
The meaning of the cafe “tout le monde” is “everyone” in French. She wanted the cafe to be a place where her friends and people in Makkari Village can stop by every day casually.
It is also the reason why she opened the place in March when tourists leave the city. “tout le monde” is loved by locals as a store of the village. I noticed few regular customers visit the store when I was doing the interview.
▲This is “tout le monde”, Masako’s cafe in Makkari Village.
▲The sign is drawn by friends who helped to put this store together. Each one wrote one letter.
▲The cafe is beautiful with the collage of colorful wallpapers - just like jams made by Masako.
Her friends gave her a chance6 years before opening “tout le monde”. In July 2006, she started a confiture specialized store “La belle confiture masako” in Makkari.
When she was looking for the next thing to do after she quit an auberge she worked for four years; her friend said something. “My friend from school called me from France and introduced me a female chef who has a small store and makes confections in France. She said it might be something I wanted to do.”
That chef was the famous “fairy of confiture” Christine Ferber, who has tons of admiration from many famous chefs in France.
By the way, confiture is a French word for jam. There is no difference in ingredients and recipe. Masako, who studied making jam in France use “confiture” for the brand and “jam” for the products because most people are more used to hearing the word “jam” in Japan.
▲When I entered the cafe, the shelf of jam bottles came caught my eyes instantly. The note carefully explains producing area of each fruit, spices put in the jam, and her recommended way to eat.
Well, Masako, who was told by her friend to work for Christine using working holidays, got her rear in gear. She sent letters to Christine to tell her passion while waiting for the permission of visa.
Also, when she went on a short study abroad to learn French, she visited the studio and asked to if she could work there directly.
If you have a passion, your dream will come true. She got great news from Christine.
“She told me that I could work there if I have a visa. I got the permission in the same year, the timing was great. And I could start working at her studio.”
▲Every jam looks really beautiful! I am sure it is best for presents, too. The jam is 800 yen each. (There are some exceptions)
“Now I think about it, it was my friend who introduced me the culinary school I went after high school, and the starting point for me to get interested in confections was also my friend; she gave me a homemade pancake when I was an elementary school student,” Masako told me.
The joy to receive a homemade dessert as a present and a surprise to try marmelo compote which she never thought she could try, inspired her.
Since then, she got into pastries, and she always gave homemade cakes for her friends’ birthdays. She stepped to a long way to become a confiture maker from a patisserie.
Creating jam to enjoy fruitsChristine’s shop “Maison Ferber”, where Masako got trained, is located in Niedermmorschwihr Village in Alsace region in France.
“The village was tiny. Maison Ferber was almost the only shop in the village. She had not only jam but also bread, snacks, vegetables, prepared food, commodities, books, and linens, etc.”
She learns all the know-how to create jams here: starting how to process fruits, how to create delicious jams from fruits, how to select fruits to do that, how to bring out the different flavors by combining different spices, etc.
“At the end of training, I was in charge of wiping around bottles next to Christine. I was tenser than making jams. I could ask all my questions directly, and she taught me truly various things: not only how to make jams but also things I should be aware of running a business.”
▲“Navel orange and three spices jam” in front contains chunky pieces of fruits. It mixes navel orange from Osaki Kamijima Town with cinnamon, star anise, and homemade ginger confit.
Masako’s jam contains chunky pieces of fruits while leaving beautiful colors of fruits and aroma. The recipe is transmitted directly from Christine.
“Baking I had learned before values accurate scaling very much. Scaling was the most important part of baking. However, jam making I learned from Christine changes the amount of sugar and spice according to sugar content and water amount of fruits which changes by weather, etc. It’s a rough estimate in a good way. Of course, we do tastings, but her sense was by nature.”
She decides the flavor by a magical spoonful of ingredients. I understand why she is called “the fairy of confiture”.
After Masako got trained for one year by Christine, she went back to Japan and prepared for making jams while doing a part-time job at the Auberge she was working before.
“I decided to do jam making in Makkari because there was the Auberge I worked for before, my ex-coworker had a store in Makkari, and I had many important friends here. Also, there are many fruit farms around including towns near Makkari. It was huge merit that Makkari was the place where I can process the fruits within two hours after harvesting.
▲The jam above uses apple, navel orange, and green tomatoes. Her friend designs the mint green label with Mt. Yotei. She was particular about choosing the shape of bottles - the wide-mouth bottles are easy to put jams.
The important thing is to have fun when making jamsMasako spends two days to make jam with French copper pots.
Masako is the only one to create jams, except processing fruits and shipping.
“It is challenging to share my subtle sense to other people. To create jams that I can admit, I decided to do my best to do as much as I can by myself.”
Masako has been making approximately 10,000 bottles of jams every year continuously. In the book she wrote to introduce her jam making, she writes like this:
“The most important thing is to have fun when making jams without forgetting what kind of jams I wanted to make. (omission) When I have fun making the jam, I feel like the person who had my jam senses it. It becomes even more fun when I think about how to use the jam in cooking and what kind of pastries I make with the jam.”
This is the message from Masako to who make jam at home and at the same time, what Masako thinks when she cooks the jam. Because I who actually had the jam with bread and yogurt. The jam was delicious and made me happy!
▲Unbaked cheesecake with seasonal jam: 400 yen.
▲Jam with soda: 400 yen (left), jam with lassie: 500 yen (right)
▲They use seasonal jam for soda. It was pomelo when I visited the cafe.
Masako is waiting at Makkari Village“tout le monde”, the cafe she started with a hope it would become a place where everyone can stop by casually, has entered to its 6th year. Not only visitors can buy seasonal jam but can enjoy two kinds of curry lunch and desserts or drinks using jams.
“I have a rhythm now, so I am now going to try offering more cafe menus. When I thought of doing something, many friends advise me so I will try to do something interesting with everyone’s cooperations.”
Fun time flies. I want to tell more about her but should wrap up around here.
Those who want to hear more stories from Masako or want to try delicious jam, stop by “tout le monde” in Makkari Village.
Masako is waiting for you.
▲The confiture maker in Makkari Village, Masako; her interesting friends gather because of Masako’s charming smile and honest personality.
▲The glass pendant light is from “gla_gla”, which has a studio in Toyako-Cho where Masako was born.
▲The drawing of Mt. Yotei hanged near the entrance was also a present from her friend. It is a very special piece drawn for “tout le monde” by an artist.
Related LinksLa belle confiture masako
La belle confiture masako facebook
tout le monde
Text: Hokkaido Likers writer Tamaki Mifune
Photo: cocoon photographs Asako Yoshikawa