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.

Little Triangles

Another souvenir from a train station. This is most famously from Kyoto but this is a modern take on nama yatsuhashi・生やつはし. Rather than cinnor red bean flavour on the classics, this is a red bean and black sesame version. I always love the gritty sweetness of black sesame in desserts, the mochi was so, so soft and it’s no surprise it’s such a common souvenir.

Tugi: March edition

Another beautiful Tugi moment. Even though it consistently delivers some of the most exquisite tasting and interesting sweets imaginable, their attention to every detail should not go unnoticed. The box always has beautiful decorative elements and tucked into it is always their menu. In case you forget, you can re-read what the flavour profile of your sweets or get excited for next time.

On the left was a slightly savoury and citrusy castella sweet with lots of herbs, it was truly unlike anything else I have tried. Similarly inventive was the white one is red bean paste mixed with strawberry paste and white grape bean paste. This one was really shocking, in a great way, I loved it so much.