Arrivederci maritozzo, ciao bombolone!

Just like Italian desserts like tiramisu and panna cotta trended in Japan in the early 1990s, the early 2020s have seen Italian pastries trending as well. As some of our readers may recall, maritozzo was the first craze, and we saw myriad variations, some featuring seasonal produce like grapes or pumpkin last fall, and even creating hybrids with Japanese sweets.

But now that Japan's infatuation with maritozzo has faded, the lastest Italian darling of the Japanese pastry scene is the bombolone. These filled donuts, primarily connected to Tuscanny but also traditional to other regions of Italy, are also sometimes called bomba (meaning "bomb"). Traditionally leavened for a day and a half to create a soft, fluffy dough, then powdered with sugar and filled with everything from custard or chocolate to Nutella or fruit jams, bombolone began emerging in Japan in early Spring and are now trending more widely.

Just like the maritozzo before it, variations unique to Japan are also popping up, such as Hokkaido patisserie Morimoto Shinya's red bean paste and mascarpone-filled bambolone (far left in image below).

However, just like the maritozzo before it, the most popular filling for bombolone in Japan is custard or whipped cream like the ones now offered at Hankyu Bakery:

FamilyMart's Bombolone

A writer at our sister site Grape was eager to try one, so when he learned that FamilyMart convenience stores were selling them, he decided to take the plunge.

Photo by © Grape

Here's what it looks like. If you know Italian, you may wonder why it says bomboloni even though there's obviously only one in the package. It's one maritozzo, two maritozzi, one bombolone, two bomboloni, but for some reason, in Japan, the formerly trending pastry was known as マリトッツォ maritottso, whereas the newcomer is known as ボンローニ bonborōni. Capisci?

So, what does this convenience store bambolone taste like? As soon as our writer got home, he wasted no time finding out...

Photo by © Grape

First, he opened the package to reveal a round doughnut with a fluffy texture. As expeceted, it was powdered sugar and looked sweet.

He tore it open to see the filling inside...

Photo by © Grape

He found that it was filled with tasty-looking custard cream!

He took a bite and wasn't disappointed. The custard cream was sweet and melted smoothly in his mouth. The doughnut was also soft and fluffy, so he had no trouble eating the whole thing. It was a sinful pleasure!

It seems to have attracted a lot of interest on the Internet, with a variety of comments being made on Twitter, such as:

  • "I love Italian pastries, so I want to try this one, too!"
  • "The dough is deep-fried, but not too thick. The texture was melt-in-your-mouth and different from ordinary doughnuts."
  • "It looks like it might be dense but it's actually very light. This is going to be popular!"
  • "They were cool and tasty when stored in the refrigerator!"

If you want a bombolone from FamilyMart, it will set you back 138 JPY including tax, which is only $1.03 USD at current rates.

They go great with coffee, so why not buy one for breakfast or as a snack?

By - grape Japan editorial staff.