Meiji Era Snacks

I’ve been really going into the classic desserts and sweets lately! It’s been years since I’ve had this one: anmitsu・あんみつ. This is a real old classic, and can be found in cafes, sweet shops, restaurants, grocery stores or convenience stores. It is made from agar jelly cubes (algae based gelatin), anko (red bean baste) and fruit. And sauce! Typically white or in this case black syrup・黒蜜 which has a really nice molasses kind of taste.

It’s available year round but is definitely most popular in the summer. The toppings can really vary a lot, popular ones are mochi, custard, ice cream, matcha toppings or different fruits. This one had salted beans and sweet bean paste.

It was fun to put everything together, but I think next time I would really like to try it at a cafe that specializes in it.

Another Classic

I obviously have favourite types of Japanese sweets but I do have a go at trying new things or revisiting things from before. A really classic sweet is warabi mochi・わらび餅. It’s a bracken starch jelly which is often clear but mine was made with black sugar so had a really nice depth to it. Best served chilled and then topped with kinako powder (toasted soybean flour). I must have tried it a few times before but was surprised how much I liked it this time! Summer snacks are great.

Warm Weather Favourites

A year round popular Japanese sweet is yōkan, a firm, jellied sweet often featuring red bean paste. There is a firmer, denser variety but when it gets hot out all I want to eat is chilled mizu yōkan・水羊羹. Mizu means water so it’s a more slippery, juicy paste. It’s hard to think of anything comparable in western sweets and maybe I’m not doing it justice. But trust me when I say it is one of the most pleasant things you could eat on a hot day. Also, I just can’t get enough of these flowers!

April Snack of the Month: Sanshoku Dango・三色団子

Halfway through the month I had a craving for some sweet chewy mochi, gazing at my sweets calendar all day during work is equal parts challenging/inspiring. I took a quick break and ran over to Rabbit Moon to get this extremely classic Japanese sweet. There are zillions of kinds of dango・団子, popular for different seasons or festivals. They can be barbecued, drizzled with sauce, sweet, salty, anything. Usually just little mochi balls on sticks! Hard to go wrong.