The catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan last March, leaving nearly 24,000 dead or missing and 400,000 displaced from their homes, shocked and saddened the world.
For Japanese pastry chefs and chocolatiers working in Paris and other French cities, it was especially difficult to see the terrible images while being so far from home.
But in the months since then, as a result of Labo Love Japon they have been contributing towards the relief effort through their work in France.
The initiative, launched within days of the disaster, has brought together dozens of French and Japanese pastry chefs, chocolatiers and bakers, who have generously donated their time and delicious culinary creations to raise funds for the Japanese victims.
All proceeds from the sales of donated confections are given to the Japanese Red Cross.
Founded by Haruyo Matsutani, a Japanese pastry chef with Produits Marnier-Lapostolle in Lyon, and Anthony Tsutsui, a Franco-Japanese national working for Nichifutsu Shoji Co, Ltd., Labo Love Japon has already held 11 sales events around Paris since its inception.
The group will hold its final fundraiser at this year’s Salon du Chocolat, taking place in Paris from October 20 to 24, 2011.
Ms. Matsutani and her team are preparing special Labo Love Japon sablés, or shortcakes (pictured above), available in nine different flavours.
Among the well-known pastry chefs/chocolatiers donating goodies for this latest fundraising sale are Jean-Paul Hévin, who created a chocolate bar specially for the event, Chikako Tanagi (Arnaud Delmontel), Riuko Nakaoka (Du Pain et des Idées), Fabrice Gillotte, Philippe Bel, Bernachon, Patrice Chapon, Franck Kestner, Arnaud Larher, François Pralus, Jean-Charles Rochoux and many others.
To date, more than 22,000 euros have been raised.
For Labo Love Japon co-founder Mr. Tsutsui, who lived through the Kobe earthquake of 1995, such undertakings are vital.
“At the time [of the Kobe earthquake], I learned that human solidarity was more important than government measures,” he explained.
“This time, it’s my turn to help others through Labo Love Japon. Even if the amount raised is small in relation to the situation in northern Japan, I’m a firm believer in [the French proverb] ‘little by little, the bird builds its nest’. Moreover, it’s not just money, but our hearts as well.”
Look for Labo Love Japon at stand #C35 at the Salon du Chocolat.
Some of the participating chocolatiers and pastry chefs will also be selling their Labo Love Japon creations on their individual stands, with all proceeds going to Japanese disaster relief efforts.
What: Labo Love Japon fundraiser for victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan
Where: Salon du Chocolat 2011, Viparis, Porte de Versailles, Pavillons 5/2 and 5/3 – Stand #C35
Métro: Porte de Versailles or Balard
When: Thursday, October 20 to Monday, October 24, 2011, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For more information, visit the Labo Love Japon website.