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Hakata Minazuki・博多水無月: Tea & Citrus

Working my way along my sweets haul, today I unwrapped 2 triangles. The dark brown on the left is hōjicha flavoured; roasted green tea. I am a huge hōjicha fan, it is deep and rich and a bit smoky. In my opinion, it’s the tea closest to coffee. It’s what I crave on cool rainy days or from the start of autumn. Not necessarily something I associate personally with summer… Continue reading Hakata Minazuki・博多水無月: Tea & Citrus

Minazuki Fruit Salad

Firstly, I did not eat all of these at the same time. Even if I wanted to, I would be hard-pressed to consume that much caffeine at once. The first one is a cute Hakata minazuki・博多水無月 wrapped up to mimic a pineapple! So sweet. The left is my unwrapped pineapple. Amazing, perfection. The right is white peach. Very delicate, soft. Best for last: wild mountain plum. This was my favourite… Continue reading Minazuki Fruit Salad

A Magical Time: June, or Minazuki season

I had thought maybe since this was my second summer in Fukuoka I wouldn’t be as excited for Hakata minazuki・博多水無月. Incorrect! Better than Christmas. Minazuki is both the word for June in the old Japanese calendar and a sweet eaten in the same month. Hakata minazuki is a regional (Fukuoka city) take on the traditional delicacy. It is surprisingly recent and most shops involved have an individual spin on it.… Continue reading A Magical Time: June, or Minazuki season

Field Trip: Kuromojiya・黒文字や

Kuromojiya・黒文字や is a very old school cafe near me. How old school? You can still smoke inside. I used to come here for lunch with a friend fairly often but I came with a single goal in mind: dessert. I got the kuromitsu kinako parfait・黒蜜きな粉パフェ, or black sugar syrup & toasted soybean flour parfait. If asked to describe my dream parfait, I’m not sure what else I could have included.… Continue reading Field Trip: Kuromojiya・黒文字や

Field Trip: Cafe Hiragi

It’s so infrequent that I have matcha outside my home, but when I do it always serves as a good reminder of how novice I am. Cafe Hiragi・珈琲ひいらぎ is a coffee & matcha cafe near me that I’ve walked by a zillion times but I finally stopped in to have some velvety matcha. The music is all classics on vinyl and the coffee ware is incredibly adorable. It was a… Continue reading Field Trip: Cafe Hiragi

Field Trip: Mume

Mume, a 2 seat reservation-only cafe that books up seemingly instantly has been on my wishlist since I moved to Fukuoka. I check every month, and every month there is not a single space in the calendar. By some miracle, when I checked last week there was a single spot late afternoon in a few days. It did not disappoint. Faced with the decision of which dessert I wanted to… Continue reading Field Trip: Mume

Summer Stone Fruits

A very traditional and beautiful old sweet shop I go to often is Kamiyaseika・加美家製菓, the owner is so sweet and chatty. They sell some items in front of their shop and never lack seasonal treats. I bought these mizumanjū・水まんじゅう which are perfect and refreshing in the summer. The pink is plum & white bean paste wrapped in jelly and the pale yellow is peach flavoured.

Hydrangeas: Volume 2

Another adorable hydrangea wagashi from Kichi Zoh・吉蔵, this being one of the most fun to eat sweets I can remember. There is an iridescent soft jelly dome around smooth white bean paste. At the lightest touch, the dome collapses as the little individual petal cubes bounce down. It was as pretty deconstructed as it was before I started eating it.

Hydrangeas: Volume 1

At Kichi Zoh・吉蔵, my favourite local spot, there are hydrangeas everywhere; on the walk over, outside and inside the shop, as well as inside the wagashi case. This one is new to me, little coloured sweet jelly positioned inside what I can best describe as a wet meringue. It was so soft and light and very gently sweet, a lovely floral treat.

Citrus & Tofu

Another fun treat from Kumaya this is a yuzu flavoured fū manjū・麩饅頭. These seem to be more common in the summer. The outside is made out of a tofu product called yuba that I love in savoury dishes. The flavour is gentle with a great chewy but soft texture which plays really nice with the creamy citrus yuzu paste.

Field Trip: The Best Kakigōri

This might be the closest to tears a frozen treat has brought me. It was my first time at Oishii Kōri・おいしい氷, it was a beautiful sunny day and there was almost no one else at the shop. I got the seasonal flavour: black sesame. It’s topped with cute gold with kinako mochi tucked in the side. I was already loving it when I started to dig in and hit my… Continue reading Field Trip: The Best Kakigōri

Cake Day

A little baked sweet called カスポール・Caspole from Kumaya. The inside was soft and fluffy with a sugary crunch on the exterior. This one is influenced by when the Portuguese came to Japan 400 years ago. Nagasaki is famous for castella cakes, also of Portuguese influence and this sweet reminded me a lot of castella.

Sweet Return

After a time away, I’m back in my neighbourhood with its hydrangeas and early sunrises. It’s always so sweet to return and have the fruit stand vendor, the florist, and other shop owners greet me with お久しぶりです! Or, “long time, no see”. I felt the same for my matcha bowls and wagashi, this pretty one from Rabbit Moon.

New & Old

New to me, though founded in 1850 in Saga prefecture, Ohara・大原 is adorable with the kindest staff and fun new treats. In the middle are a red bean and white bean sweet with a texture someone close to marzipan with a gritty sweetness. The white and pink one was soft and doughier with a sakura jelly feel to the pink petals. It was really a lovely store and I can’t… Continue reading New & Old

Holding On

From a little while ago, from Rabbit Moon・兎月, the end of sakura season shown as a single stray petal. Filled with creamy red bean paste and bittersweet with the thought of the blooms passing. I’ll borrow from my friend’s translation of a 9th-century poem by Ariwara no Narihira about sakura season in Japan: 世の中にたえて桜のなかりせば春の心はのどけからまし If there were no cherry blossoms in this world, my spring heart would be calm.

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