|The scrumptious collection of sweets at Minamoto Kitchoan|
(all photos except where noted: TheHopefulTraveler)
These Japanese pastries or “Wagashi” are traditionally served with tea and are created in endless variations using natural (plant-based) ingredients that range from red bean, rice, sweet potatoes, sesame, agar-agar, sugar and other various fruits, berries, nuts and grains. Because they contain very little animal fat, the sweets at Minamoto are healthier alternatives to heavier desserts. They are not cheap with single pieces starting at about two to three dollars and larger gifts sets costing upwards to over $50.
The rice flour deserts are like tender and pliant pastry pillows while the gelatin desserts are light refreshing treats and come with little spoons. For those wanting something more traditional, try one of their sponge cakes or cookies. Because of the fresh ingredients, these goodies are meant to be consumed immediately. However for those wishing to take some of them home, expiration dates on the packaging range from 10 to 60 days depending on the ingredients and storage requirements.
My selection today as a gift for my parents is a set of baumkuchen (layered sponge cake, $25) with a set of fukuwatashi senbei (vanilla cream cookies, $2.50 each), pictured above. I've been making Minamoto a regular stop during visits to New York either to find a treat for myself or to find a unique edible gift. Below are photos of other desserts from the Minamoto Kitchoan website.
Minamoto Kitchoan opened their first international store in 1993 and today has branches in San Francisco, London and Shanghai in addition to their Tokyo location. The New York City is located at 608 Fifth Avenue, accessed via 49th Street, and is open daily. Visit kitchoan.com for more information.
|The above three photos were taken on previous visits to Minamoto Kitchoan.|
|Sakuranbo (Japanese cherry covered with lightly sweetened jelly)|
|Hakutoujelly (jelly made from fresh white peach)|
|Tsuya (sweet red beans sandwiched between sweet mini cakes, $3.20 each)|
(above three photos: kitchoan.com)