Monday, October 6, 2008

Gion Chigo Mochi

Day seventy-seven: Gion Chigo Mochi
Sanjo Wakasaya, ¥300/3

For more than a thousand years, the citizens of Kyoto have taken to the streets in the thick of hot and humid summer for the Gion Matsuri, a sprawling street festival and costumed parade. Among the requisite festival-foods-on-a-stick are Gion chigo mochi from the Sanjo Wakasaya confectionery (which now makes chigo mochi year round).

Despite the name, Gion chigo mochi are actually made of gyuhi, mochi's more tender cousin (I was once told that gyuhi should be as soft and pliable as an earlobe). Tucked inside the gyuhi is a seam of pale yellow "sweet" miso, a less-salty variety of the fermented bean past more frequently used to make soup. The gyuhi is frosted with kori mochi, glittery flakes of freeze-dried mochi that make chigo mochi appear cool and refreshing.

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