Friday, June 30, 2006

Sweet Seasons/June 2006 - Hydrangea -

I know. It’s the last day of the month, AGAIN. And you know what? This time the photos were already ready in the middle of June. But for some reason, I kept posting about other foods and had this one wait… and now, it’s the end of the month. Anyway, here’s the wagashi for this month.


This wagashi is categorized as kinton, which is typically made by coating a ball of an (sweet bean paste) with colorful flakes also made with an. The flakes of an are called soboro and they are made by passing koshian (sieved sweet bean paste) through a coarse sieve. Often yam or kanten gelatin is added to give the soboro a little different texture. To see the photos showing the kinton-making procedures, click here.

Instead of being molded in certain shapes, kinton represents seasonal themes, even including shapeless things or sceneries, with the gradation of differently-colored soboro. These are some examples of kinton and seasonal themes. (Click on the themes to see how they are expressed with kinton.)

autumn leaves
scattered showers in deep mountains in late autumn
cold winter wind
treading wheat
nanohana flowers
spring haze * This is my favorite.
first frost
snow in deep mountains (two photos in the first row)

Hydrangea is a gift of the nature that adds elegant colors to our gray and depressive rainy season in Japan. It is a popular wagashi theme for June, and often hydrangea wagashi is topped with some tiny pieces of clear kanten jelly which represent the dews on the flowers.

Wagashi by Ogasawara



Anonymous said...

Gomen, Obachan -- I don't mind to impose -- I was wondering if I make ask what "sapporo" means. Your talk of soboro reminded me of the term. My favourite Toronto sushi place is called Sapporo Sushi, and I've seen that word used for other sushi places, but I have no idea what it actually means.

As usual, your photography is striking. Kinton sounds like it would be tasty. I love the sweet bean paste buns I pick up in Chinatown, mostly because of the bean paste itself.

obachan said...

Hi ghanima,
Sapporo is a name of a city in Hokkaido, the northmost island of Japan. I'm not sure why it is used in the name of a sushi place. Maybe the owner is from that city??

Salieri said...

as usual, the wagashi look precious and elegant. but, do you have any recipes you like to use for homemade wagashi?

Joycelyn said...

and i just had to comment here too - what absolutely beautiful wagashi!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Obachan. It's very much appreciated. It's strange, 'though, because I'm pretty sure the owner is actually Korean. All of the wait staff is. That happens a lot in my neighbourhood, actually, where there will be a Japanese place run by Koreans. My local Japanese supermarket is run by Koreans too.

obachan said...

Yeah, I have several recipes that I stole from my sister. :) And also the ones I got from some websites.

This one caught my eyes at the shop because the color gradation was so nice. I thought this was the best among the several hydrangea wagashi I saw in town (not necessarily the best tasting one, though...)

Well, it is often the way it is overseas, I guess. I found so many sapporo sushi on the net and I wonder if it is a big franchise. Maybe the founder was from sapporo?? I don't know. :P

Deetsa said...

I'll take one of everything, thanks! ;-)

obachan said...

Good idea, nerissa. ;)