Living the sweet life Arpajon Inc.

Website: Arpajon Inc.External site: a new window will open
Category: Japanese Food

No place like home

After working in patisseries and giving training to patissiers in both Tokyo and France, Arpajon CEO Kazuharu Matsusaka decided he wanted to go back home to Aomori Prefecture to start his own patisserie business. While training in France, he had begun to realize a deep connection between food and the people and ingredients that make it. He saw that how the food was made affected its flavor and the enjoyment of those eating it. Though Tokyo has many shops making beautiful pastries, he thought they were too divorced from the land and food producers. Matsusaka knew that Aomori had talented people who were in touch with the local food culture as well as a bounty of fresh, delicious ingredients produced right there in its communities.

In 1992, Matsusaka opened his first cake shop in Aomori, and the establishment of Arpajon Co. Ltd. followed in 2005. Since then, Arpajon’s sweets have been a proud symbol of the gifted people and delicious foods of Aomori.


Company CEO Kazuharu Matsusaka in his chef whites


The Arpajon crew hard at work making cheesecakes

Creative construction

Aomori apples, milk and eggs: the ingredient list is short for Arpajon’s cakes and sweets—nothing you can’t pronounce. The confections, such as the company’s signature silky smooth Asa no Hakkoda cheesecake, are made by hand in small batches by an even smaller number of dedicated bakers. They make only the amounts that are to be shipped or sold that day; they don’t prepare back stock. Their small refrigeration space, too, is deliberate. It holds only the fresh ingredients, like milk and eggs, which will be used for the day. Matsusaka believes hiring hoards of people to make these treats on a mass scale will affect the quality and taste of his products. Arpajon creations are delicately balanced and must be made with care. “This is the real thing,” stresses Matsusaka.

A taste of Aomori

Arpajon’s dedication to local ingredients, local people and high quality has proved a winning strategy. Not only have numerous domestic television programs touted Arpajon’s sweets, but Matsusaka also appeared on a Taiwanese program, causing the Asa no Hakkoda cheesecake to become a top-seller on Rakuten. At one point, they received orders for 350,000 cakes over the span of only four days. The soft, lightly sweetened and delicate cakes are a definite hit.


Arpajon’s Tsugaru Apple cheesecake, using apples grown at the foot of Aomori’s Mount Iwaki


Arpajon’s top seller, the Asa no Hakkoda cheesecake

In addition to the Taiwanese sales, Arpajon has been doing trade shows and events in international locations including Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle. And the cakes have been so popular in Asia that the company is talking about opening shops in Singapore and Hong Kong. Matsusaka looks forward to sharing his creations with the world. “Food is culture,” he says. With Arpajon, he thinks, the world can savor a little bit of Aomori’s refinement.

Website: Arpajon Inc.External site: a new window will open