Foodie Friday: Inuyama Castle Parfait

In May, I took a research trip to Inuyama Castle, in Aichi Prefecture (about an hour from Nagoya). Inuyama is the setting for my ninth Hiro Hattori mystery–in part because Inuyama Castle, which dates to the early 16th century, is not only the oldest original wooden castle still standing in Japan, but was standing, and occupied by Oda Nobunaga in 1566, when my book takes place.

Inuyama Castle at dusk

Which is really cool…but not why we’re here today.

After visiting the castle, I decided to stop at 1st Terrace, a little cafe directly across the street from the castle entrance. The original plan was coffee and lunch…but the featured menu item was something called an “Inuyama Castle Strawberry Parfait”–and being a responsible adult, on a research trip, I knew precisely what to do.

Behold, my lunch:

Absolutely responsible choices

All in the interest of research, of course.

It turns out, the Inuyama Castle Parfait (so named because, if you squint, it looks a bit like the castle) consists of freshly-made waffle chunks topped with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, strawberry coulis, fresh strawberries, more whipped cream, and strawberry “roof tiles” at the top.

The whipped cream was barely sweetened, and the strawberries were perfectly ripe and tart, both of which balanced well with the sweet coulis and vanilla bean ice cream. The waffles were fresh and crunchy, which added not only flavor but a nice texture, too.

I love the wide variety of foods available in Japan, and the way most of them are designed to be appreciated visually before you taste them.

What do you think? Would you stop for an edible strawberry castle, or is this a fortification you wouldn’t try to breach?