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Pies make for delicious blueberry treat

The Story of Blueberry Pie fair will be held at the Imperial Hotel Tokyo through Jan. 31. The hotel’s delicatessen, Gargantua has been making blueberry pies since 1971.

They use a traditional recipe that was brought in by the American Occupation after World War II. Shortcrust pastry is used for the base and strips of puff pastry form the latticed top. The filling is made of wild blueberries from the United States. A hint of cinnamon sets the pies apart.

The crusts are buttery and flaky because the pies are baked in the oven at a high temperature for a short time. They are available in four sizes, ranging from nine to 21 centimeters in diameter for ¥756 to ¥5,400. They come in special gift boxes during the fair.

Customers purchasing four of the smallest pies will receive a free gift. Additionally, original blueberry pie-themed items are also sold at the shop, including tote bags (¥1,080), folding fans (¥6,480) and more. All prices include tax.

Blueberry pie can be also enjoyed at the Rendez-Vous Lounge and Bar and the Parkside Diner on the first floor.

The Imperial Hotel Tokyo is three minutes from Hibiya Station and six minutes from Yurakucho Station. For more information or reservations, call 03-3504-1111.

Enjoy strawberry delights in verdant nature

The Hakone Highland Hotel is offering a plate of strawberry sweets dubbed Douceur Fraise au Paradis at its lounge from Feb. 1 to April 8. The hotel, which is surrounded by trees, is about two hours from Shinjuku by train or bus.

The desserts are both photogenic and videogenic as there are some hidden secrets.

Vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce is served on the layer of shimmering strawberry jelly and tapioca. In a glass bowl underneath is dry ice on which strawberry liqueur is poured at the table, creating pink smoke and a sweet scent. Strawberries marinated in lemon oil, honey and basil appear after the smoke dissipates.

On a flowerbed of macaroons with white chocolate and pistachio cream, pieces of orange and different kinds of berries bloom like flowers. Taffy flower petals and edible flowers are placed on a mix of powdered green tea and roasted almonds that looks like a fresh lawn. The powder can be eaten with ice cream or macaroons for a change of flavors.

The dessert plate is priced at ¥1,425 and ¥1,782 with coffee or tea. The prices include tax and service fee.

The Hakone Highland Hotel is about two hours from Shinjuku by bus. For more details, please call 0460-84+8541 or visit http://www.hakone-highlandhotel.jp/en.

Venetian Night kicks off anniversary celebrations

The InterContinental Osaka hotel will hold a four-day Venetian Night event at the 20th-floor bar adee from 7 p.m. to midnight on February 9, 10, 16 and 17.

It is the first of many upcoming events celebrating the fifth anniversary of the hotel. Happy Luxury is the theme for the series of commemorative events that will take place at the hotel in 2018.

The motif of Venetian Night is based on one of the most famous carnivals in the world, the Carnival of Venice that sees people wearing dresses and masks in the medieval style.

While listening to a modern remix of classical music played live by a DJ and a violinist, guests can enjoy the masquerade-themed projection mapping on the walls and magnificent night views of Osaka.

A draw to win free accommodation and an Instagram campaign to choose the best dressed will also be held. Cocktails, including the Venetian Masquerade, Casanova, and Negroni are available from ¥2,400 to ¥2,600. The bar also offers gin and tonics using guests choice of gin from the 50 brands they stock.

Admission is ¥1,500 and includes a light snack. All prices include tax and exclude service fee.

The InterContinental Osaka is directly connected to JR Osaka Station. For more information and reservations, please visit https://www.icosaka.com/en or call 06-6374-5700.