Confectionery shop celebrates two
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For any true artist, some reasons for sharing one’s craft are to educate and express. At Minamoto Kitchoan, the same is true for its own works of art, which come in the form of wagashi, or Japanese confectionery.
Each delightfully sweet and decadently indulgent treat begs to be discovered, unwrapped and enjoyed. What makes Minamoto Kitchoan stand out from other sweet shops is its blend of refined flavors and dedication to aestheticism. In other words, everything you eat not only tastes great, but looks good, too.
This season, a new item has made its way into the store’s glass cases. Taiyonomi ($6 half, $12 full) is a jelly snack made from mango puree, of which only the highest quality fruits are used. When two halves are placed together, there is an image of a real mango, and it tastes as if you’re actually biting into the juicy, fresh fruit.
“It’s healthy, too! Only 64 calories,” mentions office manager Yayoi Akana, who also notes it’s best when left in the refrigerator for a refreshing after-dinner snack.
As the Ala Moana store’s two-year anniversary approaches — having opened its doors in September of 2013 — the establishment would like to show its appreciation with the limited sale of its Two-year Anniversary Special Bag ($35). The bag is valued at more than $50 and showcases a multitude of selected wagashi sure to satisfy every sweet tooth. Confectioneries include Kasutera, a Japanese pound cake that is fluffy in texture and perfectly sweetened by honey. Vanilla, maccha or chocolate flavors are available.
Popular Fukuwatashi Senbei also is included, featuring vanilla cream wedged between two waffle cookies. This sweet treat is the perfect gift, as fuku means “good luck” and watashi means “giving,” but as a reminder, there is no obligation to share.
Customers also can expect Grace Dew Fruit Jellies in various real-fruit flavors, and a 12-pack of Rice Crackers in the unique Japanese salad flavor. As wagashi traditionally are served with tea, the anniversary bag also consists of packets of either powdered green tea or green tea bags.
What would Japanese confectionery be without mochi? Luckily, two of Minamoto Kitchoan’s Chocolate Mochi Maccha appear in the special bag, highlighting its white chocolate inside, mochi outside and maccha powder and green-tea flavored crunchy shell. This detailed treat is soft, creamy and not too sweet. Aya Shirabe, on the other hand, offers a slightly different texture with a thin Japanese cake shell wrapped around green tea-flavored white bean paste.
Lastly, there is Sakura Goromo, which is a crepe-shaped pancake filled with red bean paste and a piece of mochi. The image intentionally is made to resemble a sakura flower — pink and delicate — with a sakura-shaped jelly on top. The sweet morsel may seem too pretty to eat, but when you do, you’ll be glad you did.
This special only will be available from Sept. 18 to 20 (Friday through Sunday), and will operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Anniversary bags cannot be reserved and will be limited to one bag per person. There only are 100 bags in total, so be sure not to miss it.
“We just want to say that we really, really appreciate everything,” Akana says to customers with a full heart. “Being a Japanese company, coming from Japan, we really appreciate how much the local people have supported and accepted us,” she adds. Akana further explains that Minamoto Kitchoan wants to continue to teach customers about wagashi and introduce more of the Japanese culture to Hawaii, a place that has inspired the company greatly. After all, what’s an artist without its muse?
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.