Monday, July 5, 2010
Nara no Kikuya
Thanks to a kitchen moth infestation, I've been rooting around in my cupboards and making lots of highly unappetizing discoveries. One exception to that grim trend was discovering a little box of sweets that I brought back from Japan nearly two years ago and then lost among my drygoods. In it I found these tiny higashi, dry sweets made of a very special sugar called wasambon that has been pressed into a carved wooden confectionery mold, or kashigata.
Their long shelf life is one reason that higashi are so prized, and these little goldfish didn't disappoint. Not only were they non-moth-eaten, they were fresh and sweet and a perfect texture, if perhaps a little faded. They also brought back welcome memories of my visits to Kikuya, an ancient confectionery shop in a suburb of Nara, and to Okada Seitō-Sho, a farm and factory in rural Shikoku that is Japan's last producer of wasambon.