‘World's Best Cream Puffs' have landed in the UK – be afraid, be very afraid
Those of you unwilling to welcome a potentially addictive custard-filled pastry into your life, look away now, because Beard Papa's cream puffs have made their way to the UK.
The company is fronted by a bearded cartoon character that looks like the potentially copyright-infringing bastard love child of a three-way between Captain Bird's Eye, Tintin's Captain Haddock and Papa Smurf. Frankly, there's something rather unnerving about this Beard Papa chap.
Have a look at the rather creepy animation on the company's website where Beard Papa draws away on his pipe and produces little puffs. These are, of course, the product that he fronts, which, leaving the sinister animation aside, are, in reality, a rather delicious baked choux pastry shell filled with a whipped cream custard that's available in vanilla and chocolate and dusted with powdered sugar.
Although the arrival of the Beard Papa franchise in the UK has been rather low key, with a small, no-frills first branch opening quietly on Oxford Street, back in their native Japan, when they first appeared in 1999, there were near riots as the natives rushed to get their hands on their cream puffy goodness. There are currently 250 stores across Japan, and long queues are not uncommon. The range of fillings for the puffs is rather more varied there, with green tea, strawberry, pumpkin and coffee also available alongside chocolate fondants, croissants, cheesecake and tiramisu.
They've conquered most of the rest of South East Asia – China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and Singapore.
More recently they've arrived in the US where they currently have 15 stores across the country, including a Hawaiian franchise where the Beard Papa appears sporting a lei around his neck.
Now with a foothold in the UK, the Beard Papa plans to march on, taking on Canada, Brazil and the Middle East before enslaving the rest of the world in their sweet cream puff grasp.