Hakata Minazuki Continued: Sweet Summer Citrus Edition

The cutest package wrapped in a bamboo leaf from Sanshodō・参松堂. This is another sweet using amanatsu・甘夏, a sweet, Japanese citrus fruit. When you open the leaf, the wooden pick holding it together becomes the fork. Its a wonderful little citrus-y jelly with red beans sprinkled throughout. I can’t wait for more of these!

Fruit Salad

A huge departure from the norm! I am typically a matcha purist but decided to shake things up and have a blended blueberry, almond milk and matcha latte. It was fun and tasty but I might prefer the classics. The sweet is from Tugi, one of my favourite places in Fukuoka. Everything they do is breath-taking. This one is a dried pineapple, jasmine and smooth red bean paste wrapped up in a little package.

It’s hard to beat their treats. I couldn’t help myself and got this funny little guy! Those are little rosemary sprigs popping out and is filled with rosemary paste! It was one of the best and most unique wagashi I’ve ever had. But, I think I always say that when I go there.

Post-Vacation Treats

This week has been the Golden Week holidays, a time when several national holidays fall closely together so most people get about a week off. A friend came to visit and we explored around outdoors as much as we could. Yesterday was really the first day back home so I had 2 little treats from Kichi Zoh. A beautiful purple iris namagashi and purple 団子・dango with red bean, white bean and purple sweet potato wrapped around soft mochi.

I got some really beautiful flowers that I cannot name at the florist. The blues and purples are a fun departure from my usual palette. Imagine my surprise coming home and finding I am growing raspberries! My giant branch is a raspberry bush! At the florist where I bought it, the shop owner told me the flowers would quickly wilt but the branch would last several months. She didn’t mention anything about bearing fruit! I can’t wait for my little harvest.

Little Sprouts

I’ve had this plant since moving to Fukuoka and it took me a while but I finally think I understand its light needs. It seems so happy right now (most of the plants are loving the sun and warmth in the apartment now) but it recently surprised me with a little shoot, stretching straight up. Seems like a good omen.

One of the popular early spring foods in Japan is takenoko, or bamboo shoots. So many of the produce stands have them now. I’ve made them a couple times, simmered with soy sauce and mirin. This adorable little rendering is from Rabbit Moon・兎月 and was just as fun to eat as it was to gaze at lovingly.

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.

Pre-Valentine’s Sweets

After a little out-of-town vacation this week I am back in the usual routine with work, study and sweets. I got these super adorable Valentine’s Day wagashi at Rabbit Moon・兎月. There was no way to choose which one to get and I have no regrets getting both!

The white one was named Love Letter, and was light and fluffy like a marshmallow with a smooth creamy mochi around a little piece of chocolate. It was as fun to eat as it was cute. The one on the right is a red bean with cocoa and yōkan jelly hearts. The flavour was really rich and deep, both were really not typical wagashi flavour styles but were amazing. If I didn’t know how much else there will be to try I would go back for another round.