Valentine’s Day Sweets

It was uncharacteristically sunny and warm on Valentine’s Day so we got to sit on a little rooftop patio to enjoy little pink sweets. I went to Kichi-Zoh because I knew they would have the heart sweet, but when I saw the set I there was no way not to get it. In Japan on Valentine’s Day women give chocolate to their partners, crushes (本命チョコ・honmei choco・true feeling chocolate), male coworkers (義理チョコ・giri choco・obligation chocolate) and friends (友チョコ・tomo choco・friend chocolate). On March 14th men will give chocolate to their romantic partner or crush. It can be quite an expensive day for women having to buy obligation chocolate for every an in the office but with all the remote working that seems to have changed.

Back to the sweets! I did give my honmei choco but of course did not stop there. Kichi-Zoh had the pink rose with white bean in the center, a white heart with pink & white bean paste, and a white bean paste with black bean ‘snow-topped mountain’ (left plate) and also plum jelly and soba flour yōkan (right plate). They were perfect and I loved them. I’m eagerly awaiting candy sales in the week to come.

Leaving The House: Hanabishi・華菱 and Shofuen・松風園

I have been waiting for a chance to go to Hanabishi・華菱 since I saw they opened a last year. They sell incredibly beautiful daifuku with pieces or fruit and white bean paste wrapped inside. You are meant to bisect the daifuku bu cutting it with a red piece of string. The store is immaculately designed but still has a sense of fun.

They only have take-away so I went back to Shofuen・松風園 to have some tea and eat in the park. We had the honeydew melon and Muscat green grape. They sell out constantly and it’s easy to see why, they were some of the best fruit daifuku I’ve ever had, I immediately wanted to go back and try more.

Back inside at Shofuen tea house I got a sticker in celebration of Hina Matsuri・雛祭り, or Girl’s Day later in March. The house was decorated with the traditional dolls and was really special to see.

Leaving the House: Tea Trip

I love all my teas at home but sometimes its nice (if properly socially distanced in a well ventilated space) to try new things. Chaho Furyu・茶舗ふりゅう has been on my list for a while and was really lovely. We had a tasting of 2 different teas that are each served at 3 different temperatures.

The light green is the haku・白 and is from Yame, a very popular tea region. This is a bit of an albino tea (白 means white) and was very smooth and nice.

The one on the left is heki gyoku・碧玉, the first steep was done at 30 degrees and was really unlike any other tea I’ve had before. Very earthy and umami.

The second pour, a little warmer for the haku and over ice for the heki gyoku. It”s really incredible how intensely the flavour changes with the temperatures and steeping times.

The final round the haku was chilled which was really refreshing and nice. Of course it wouldn’t be finished without a sweet and they served peanut karintō which I always love (it’s fried brown sugar). The biggest surprise was they served the remaining heki gyoku tea leaves to be eaten with salt as the last dish! Sadly I forgot to take a picture but it looked like it does in the pot but with coarse salt. It was really amazing, definitely a first for me.