Sakuraco brings us a wonderful selection of gourmet and artisan treats from Hiroshima to start off the New Year!
The box, individually designed every month, shows the temple gate surrounded by fireworks, very festive. Inside there is a menu booklet, which gives details of all the goodies inside. It also includes a full allergy list.
As well as the menu, there is some fascinating information about this month’s theme. You can read about the art and culture of the area, and also some of the artisan makers who create the delicious candies and pastries. Along with fantastic photography, it’s a greta way to learn more about Japanese culture, and discover yet more places to add to your bucket list!
Maneki Neko Arare are little golden rice crackers with the flavour of mackerel. The packaging features a Maneki Neko, or Joyful Lucky Cat, perfect for wishes for a good new year. Japan has many unique citrus fruits, and this Setouchi Hassuku Jelly is flavoured with hassuku, which has a wonderful refreshing balance of sweetness and acidity.
The beautiful Setouchi Lemon Cream Cookies feature a picture of the floating gate of the Itsukushima Shrine. The cookies itself is a delicious sandwich cookie, with crisp outer layers filled with a delicious lemon cream. The Miyajima Coca Cookie is another sandwich, but this time filled with chocolate! It’s a popular souvenir of Hiroshima, and goes beautifully with a cup of tea.
Tea is an important of Japanese culture, and his Adzuki Tea is made from roasted and boiled adzuki beans. The flavour is delicious, slightly sweet but without any sugar or caffeine, and it’s both unusual and refreshing. Arare, little crunchy rice crackers are a great favourite, and the Tsubu Arare have the flavour of the sea with shrimp and seaweed. Omikuji Candi is another good-luck treat. The hard candies have a grape flavoured outer shell, and underneath is strawberry, lemon, or apple, each indicating a different level of luck.
Mochi, the sweet, soft rice cakes made from starchy rice flour are another great favourite. These Setouchi Lemon Mochi contain the zest of Setouchi lemons, and the texture is a wonderful compliment to the tangy sweet candies. Teriyaki are one of Jalan’s most recognised traditional pastries. They are always found at festivals and as street food, and the fish-shaped dough contains delicious sweet red bean paste. It goes beautifully with the tea as well! The Miso Peanut Tetra are coated with white miso from one of Japan’s most esteemed distilleries. The mix of nutty salt and sweetness is perfect.
2024 is the Year of the Dragon, and to celebrate, this New Year’s Senbei has a cute dragon packaging, and the crispy rice cracker is flavoured with a blend of honey and soy. Setouchi Olive & Wine Vinegar Noriten is another snack that uses a specialty of Setouchi. Noriten is seaweed (nori) fried in light tempura batter, and these light and crispy bites are flavoured with the Setouchi olives with a light touch of wine vinegar for extra zing. Japan has a wonderful way of adopting and adapting western pastries, and the Banana Baumkuchen is a great example. This rolled cake hails from Germany but has been made in Jiroshims for over 100 years, and this version is infused with banana paste for a rich flavour.
Finally, this month’s homeward item is a Neko Furoshiki. This is a traditional Japanese cloth for wrapping, and can be used for packed lunches, gifting, or anything else you care to wrap! The reusable design means it’s very eco-friendly, and the pattern is adorable lucky cats and sakura, and made by Osaka artisans.