Tag: Trend

Japanese response to wine and cheese, Wagashi and Sake?!

Japanese response to wine and cheese, Wagashi and Sake?!

Japanese traditional sweets (Wagashi) are designed to match traditional Japanese teas, such as Matcha. In fact, the combination of Wagashi and Matcha has been polished through ages as a part of Japanese culture, Sado (茶道), Japanese tea ceremony.

 

Related post: wagashi and matcha – combination polished through ages!

 

Wagashi and Sake?! – It’s a new trend in Japan.

Recently a new trend concerning Wagashi started in Japan. That is to pair Wagashi with Sake (aka Japanese rice wine) just like wine and cheese!Σ(゜ロ゜;)

This trend seems getting bigger and more widespread; many Sake bars now offer Wagashi as a side snack with your favorite sake, new restaurants that specializes in pairing Wagashi and Sake opened, many workshops are held where you can try different combinations to find your favorite pair. Surprisingly Wagashi and Sake go well together as the sweetness from Anko (Japanese red bean jam, used for most of Wagashi) matches flavors of Sake.

 

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But I wonder… What Wagashi go well with Sake?! Here, I introduce you 4 Wagashi that I recommend you to try to pair to Sake! Here we go!

 

4 Wagashi that go well with Sake

 

Yo-kan (羊羹)

Yo-kan is a Japanese type of jelly, made of Anko, sugar and ager. Its texture is like a hard jelly. To pair to Sake, I recommend Yo-kan that is made of Koshi-An (smooth Anko) as this is more smooth and melts in your mouth together with Sake. Want to try Yo-kan with fruity Sake?

 

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Daifuku (大福)

Daifuku (aka Anko Mochi) is another popular Wagashi made of round Anko covered with Mochi (sticky and chewy rice cake). You can taste strong flavor of rice from Mochi. Sake is also made from rice. No wonder they go well together. I recommend you to try Nigori-Sake (unfiltered Sake, also called as Cloudy Sake) with Daifuku as Nigori-Sake has strong and mellow flavor.

 

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Very popular Daifuku, Ichigo-Daifuku (aka Strawberry Mochi) also goes well with Sake!

 

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Dango (団子)

Dango is small Mochi balls skewered on a bamboo stick and served with many kinds of sauce. Dango is made of Mochi and has a strong rich rice flavor. There are many sauces for Dango but especially Mitarashi-Dango matches with Sake. Mitarashi is a Japanese rich sauce made of sugar and soy sauce. Since it tastes sweet and savory, it goes really good with Sake which has rich and smooth flavor.

 

 

Monaka (最中)

Monaka is Anko that is sandwiched with 2 crispy wafers made of Mochi. Because wafers are very thin and has freshly roasted aroma, you can taste nice and strong flavor from Anko. Please try Monaka with dry Sake.

Related post: what is monaka? crispy japanese traditional sweets

 

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Will you try? Let’s find your favorite combination.

Are you interested to try Japanese response to classic wine and cheese pair? There are hundreds of different flavors that Wagashi have. This allows you to easily enjoy many different taste combinations of Wagashi and Sake.

Related post: top 10 japanese sweets (wagashi) that japanese like the most!

 

Wagashi and Sake might be a surprising combination but I encourage you to give it a shot. And let me know your favorite combination! (*´∇`)ノ

Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

Watermelon Dango?! Wagashi brings you a sense of season

Watermelon Dango?! Wagashi brings you a sense of season

Wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) are often designed to express characteristics and subtleties of a season. Wagashi’s shape, color and taste change depending on season.

 

How Wagashi express each season

In spring when Sakura (season of beautiful cherry blossoms), you can enjoy Wagashi called Sakura-Mochi that as is pink as Sakura and has actually Sakura flavor.

 

In summer when it is very hot and you want to eat and drink something refreshing, you can find jelly-like transparent Wagashi called Kingyoku-Kan that brings you sense of coolness just by looking at it.

 

In autumn when nuts are in season, you can enjoy Kuri Manju (chestnut bun) that is designed to look like chestnut and has a chestnut with delicious Ank0 filling inside.

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In winter, you see many Wagashi shaped as Tsubaki flower (camellia), a beautiful flower that blooms blooms in winter.

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Many Wagashi often made to describe seasons with their looks and taste. However, some popular Wagashi are enjoyed throughout the year regardless of season. For example, popular Dorayaki (Anko sandwiched between two pancakes).

 

Watermelon Dango?!

Nowadays, beside those traditional seasonal Wagashi, some makers experiment with different ingredients and looks to further surprise you. In this post, I would like to introduce a very creative type Dango. Dango is small round Mochi balls that are skewered on bamboo sticks. Typical Dango comes with sweet soy sauce (this one is called Mitarashi-Dango) or Anko on top.

 

This Dango went viral on social media this summer. It is made by a Wagashi maker that has a long history. I introduce you,, watermelon Dango!

Related post: what is dango? the 5 most popular types of dango

 

As you can see, it looks just like watermelon! But I wonder… how it tastes like?!

 

It was made with great attention to details! Inside is red just like watermelon, and even has black seeds. It expresses watermelon very well. The red part is Mochi (chewy rice cake) and seeds are black sesame. The green and black coating is chocolate. Each piece is made by hand. What surprised me that it not only looks like a watermelon, but it tastes like as watermelon as well. This is because the red Mochi inside is made with watermelon juice! And it actually tastes really good! Mochi and chocolate go well together and watermelon flavor adds freshness to it.

 

By the way, this is good example of modern Wagashi because traditional traditional Wagashi does not include chocolate.

This watermelon Dango is made by Wagashi maker called “Yagumo Dango”. They make many different Dango types including classic Mitarashi Dango. This maker is quite popular and has long history. However, this new watermelon Dango booster its popularity in Japan significantly. They ship only within Japan as frozen delivery. To defrost, you need put them in a fridge for 2.5 hours before eating.

 

Please give it a try!

If you visit Japan try this Dango with family and friends! I am sure you will enjoy it. And if you try it, please let us know.

 

[Info]Yagumo Dango : 6 watermelon Dango, 1,620 JPY + shipping fee. Only available in Japan. (´・ω・`)

 

Matane! (In Japanese, means “see you soon!”)