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.

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 first surprise, jammy red bean paste. Deeper down there was crushed salty soda crackers that covered a soft milk pudding on the bottom. This was a joy to eat, it was overwhelming to eat, I loved it. I want to go back and try more flavours but I’m not sure anything could live up to this one.

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.

Memory Lane

Possibly the first time I’ve had fū manjū・麩饅頭 from Kumaya・熊屋, this was a soft, moist and salty black sesame dough with smooth & light red bean paste inside. They are the perfect thing during hot weather because they feel simultaneously refreshing & hydrating while light and fluffy. The last area I lived in Tokyo had a sweet shop that specialized in these and were probably the last ones I had eaten. Happy to break the spell.

A Deluxe Cake, Indeed

This is another from Suzuya, a famous (in the world of Japanese sweets) shop in Wakayama prefecture. On a bus ride after our pilgrimage hike, my friend who is well accustomed to my sweet tooth sent me a link for this place she had happened to find close by. I was so excited, how lucky to just happen across this place! Their signature item is called Deluxe Cake and it is really delightful and even by my standards, fairly sweet. It is a sort of cake that sandwiches a white and red bean jam paste that is wrapped in white chocolate. Definitely not for every day, but it is amazing. Fun fact, the heir to the Japanese throne, Prince Ashikino and his then wife Princess Noriko were served these cakes when they visited the area.