Hakata Minazuki: Matcha on Matcha Edition

Rounding out the month of June, or in the ancient Japanese calendar Minazuki, where this sweet gets its namesake from, I got this one from Takashima・高島屋菓子舗. I really encourage you to look at the pictures in the link, its in a very old school covered wet market alley that mainly sells produce, fish, tea and coffee and of course sweets. I love these types of places, they are always fun to explore and the quality and prices are usually much better than major supermarkets.

It’s a beautiful day out so I went outside so I get could get a view of my growing beans. To try something different, I had bought the matcha flavoured minazuki instead of the typical azuki because I am no stranger to that one! As usual its all wrapped up in a bamboo leaf. It was really a lovely change, even if having iced matcha with a matcha flavoured sweet is a little funny. It had little azuki beans throughout the jellied matcha and a really smooth taste.

Trip to Tugi

Welcome to one of my favourite shops in Fukuoka, Tugi! It’s so beautiful and their innovation equally matched by the deliciousness of their sweets. They have monthly specials and I always look forward to checking out their new items. Here is the daily selection of ohagi (sweet rice and bean paste), namagashi (bean paste, flour, sugar sweets) mushigashi (steamed sweets) and monaka (rice wafer and bean paste).

I don’t usually have drinks that aren’t plain coffee or tea but if I see something unusual I can’t help myself. Tugi has あんこソーダ・anko soda, or read bean soda! It’s smooth red bean paste with simple syrup and a splash of lemon topped with soda. It was so good! Definitely happy I tried it.

I took my sweets home and sat down to my matcha set. I got one of the monthly specials, black sugar walnut mochi・黒糖胡桃餅 made with black rice. Really everything they do is incredible, this one was no exception.

May Snack of the Month: Kashiwa Mochi・かしわ餅

Kashiwa Mochi・かしわ餅 are often eaten during Children’s Day・子どもの日 which is usually around the first week of May during Golden Week holidays. It is a simple mochi with red bean paste inside wrapped in a decorative oak leaf. よもぎ・mugwort is another popular flavour for kashiwa mochi which has a fresh grassy taste. I opted for the simple kind.

I usually keep these flowers at my bedside and they are the most beautiful thing to wake up to, despite not knowing their name in neither English or Japanese.

First DIY Sweet: Hydrangea Edition

When I lived in Tokyo I went to a few classes to make Japanese sweets so it wasn’t my absolute first attempt at wagashi but it was my first solo attempt! All I can say is, I further understand why this is a specialized profession.

The pink color is a result of mixing red cabbage and lemon juice, it was really interesting to experiment and that is one aspect I would like to try again. Inside, I made a mochi ball, or dango, which is surrounded by white bean paste and then topped with the coloured jellies using agar agar.

So similar to the hydrangea・ajisai・紫陽花 I showed earlier, this is a pretty classic seasonal sweet that might be found in sweet shops when the hydrangeas begin to bloom.

I might need a few more tutorials before my next attempt, though I did learn a lot and have a fun doing it. I guess the bar has been set pretty high by all my usual sweet shops!

March Snack of the Month: Ichigo Daifuku

Return of the snack calendar! I went a little all out this afternoon; 2 drinks and 2 sweets. Of course matcha and the Match sweet, strawberry daifuku. I also had some green muscat grapes and made some 桜茶・sakura tea! It’s just hot water poured over salt-pickled sakura, or cherry, blossoms. It has a nice umami saltiness that balances well with the sweet foods and bitter matcha. A perfect break!

February Snack of the Month: Dorayaki・どら焼き

I love this calendar so much! Dorayaki are little sweet pancakes, usually with red bean sandwiched in between but there’s a huge variety. The one I got is white bean and honey paste, and was really lovely. Dorayaki are not my most favourite (I probably have 50+ favourites….) so it was a nice chance to try one again.

White Bean & Honey Dorayaki