Friday, April 27, 2012

抹茶の季節 IV:Season of Green IV

Patisserie Clover's Spring Product: Uji Matcha Tart
Matcha Paste, Orange-flavoured rare cheese mousse, Matcha Mousse, Sponge Base
Matcha with orange cheese is an interesting new combination but matches surprisingly well with each other. The matcha flavour is not too intense as I would have liked it to be but fortunately not lacking. However, this does not qualify as a tart because the base is not any crunchy sable biscuit but a thicker layer of almond sponge.
Yamazaki Regional Edition (Kyoto) Matcha Choco Sandwich
抹茶板チョコ&宇治抹茶クリーム
森半抹茶のクリーム使用(抹茶風味のマーブルパン使用)
抹茶風味のマーブルパンに、抹茶板チョコと宇治抹茶クリームをサンドしました。
治抹茶クリームは宇治森半抹茶1.4%入りのクリームを使用しています。)
Fans of bread should be quite familiar with Yamazaki's Lunch Pack Series. Besides the usual series that are sold all over Japan, Yamazaki is actually no different from Nestle Kitkat or Collon in coming up with regional limited edition of their bread. This one represents the flavours of Kyoto. For Hokkaido, it is custard and fresh whipped cream.
Kyoto's famous Morihan's green tea is used in the cream but at only 1.4% of the cream. The bread is not simply just the usual white plain one but marbled with matcha. The inside is filled with a piece of chocolate matcha square and some matcha cream. The bread looks like this after it is warmed up in the oven, if not, the matcha cream will remain in solid form which makes it less delicious. The taste is average but it would be better if the filling is increased.
ミニハーベスト・宇治抹茶味 Tohato Mini Harvest Series : Matcha Flavour
茶葉を練り込んだ軽い食感のミニハーベストで、口どけなめらかな宇治抹茶クリームをサンドしました。
The biscuit is spotted with bits of tea leaves, evident of not so much of the matcha taste but matcha fragrance that can be found in the biscuit layer when you bite into it. Additional crunch is contributed by the sugar coating of the biscuits but yet this does not make the biscuits too sweet. Very rich uji matcha cream is used here and hence this packet of matcha biscuits shine as one of the most enjoyable snack treat.
France Patisserie Bigot's Matcha Au Vert Dessert Mousse
Matcha Mousse, Azuki Bean Paste, Whole Azuki Beans, Fresh whipped cream and layers of crunchy feuilettine
This simple dessert mousse cup is made like a tiramisu by stacking one layer on top of each other repeatedly. Velvety mousse matched perfectly with the crunchy cornflake-like layer. One can't really complain but indulge in this spring creation produced by a French Patisserie. For those interested in Bigot, feel free to visit : http://www.bigot.co.jp/. They produced very good quality sable bretons and galettes.
抹茶ミルキー Fujiya Matcha Milk ( A Collaboration with Itoen)
不二家と伊藤園のコラボ飲料の登場です!不二家ミルキーと伊藤園セレクトの抹茶を牛乳と北海道産の練乳で美味しく仕立てました。
Besides it's soft country ma'am cookies, here is another collaboration product with Itoen. However, because this is not only blended with milk but Hokkaido's condensed milk, this drink might be slightly too sweet for some people.  But at the same time, the attractive package makes one hard to resist trying this.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

抹茶の季節: Season of Green III

Kyoto Tsujiru Matcha Roll Cake (Available only in Family Mart)
抹茶の風味豊かで口どけのよいロール生地に、なめらかなホイップクリームとほろ苦い抹茶クリームを組み合わせました。抹茶の香りとほのかな苦味が楽しめます
As mentioned in previous post, Lawson has also come up with its own Premium Matcha Roll which is very similar to this. Perhaps because this is a collaboration with the famous Tsujiri, the price is 10 Yen more expensive.
It is difficult to pin down which is the better one. The matcha sponge of this is definitely more moist and softer than the Lawson's version. However, the matcha cream here is slightly sweeter. Another difference is that fresh whipped cream is also added here. This might actually be quite unnecessary as this may dilute the matcha flavour.
Bourbon Matcha Spicy Rice Crackers (Uji Matcha used)
上品な季節の香り“抹茶シリーズ”
香ばしい柿の種を抹茶チョコレートで包み込みました。宇治抹茶を贅沢に使用し、香り高く味わい深く仕上げました。
A bittersweet and spicy combination. There used to be dark chocolate version and now this is the version in which mildly spiced rice crackers are coated with bitter matcha chocolate. A highly addictive snack as the flavours are well balanced.
Bourbon Petit Series: Matcha Langue de Chats
 Buttery biscuits sandwiched with matcha cream. The cheapest matcha snack so far but yet the taste is not compromised.
カントリーマアム(抹茶アイス) Matcha Ice Country Ma'am Cookie  (Fujiya)
不二家と伊藤園の抹茶コラボレーション商品のカントリーマアムです。いくつもの試作の中から不二家のお菓子に合う抹茶をオリジナルにブレンドしてもらいました。抹茶の程よい苦みと、カントリーマアムのやさしい甘さを、バランスよく仕上げました。
A collaboration between Itoen's Matcha and Fujiya. Wonder how they infused ice cream into cookie?
Well, the difference between this Matcha Ice Version and their Matcha Latte version is not that distinct. Perhaps the only difference is that this does not contain any white chocolate chips and tastes less rich than the Latte version. However, it is nonetheless another delicious soft-type of matcha cookie. 
Ohayo Matcha Milk Monaka Ice cream filled with droplets of condensed milk
ジャージー牛乳モナカ 【一番摘み抹茶】
コクのある美味しさのジャージー乳を贅沢に使用した「オハヨーロイヤルジャージー」シリーズのモナカアイスです。
ジャージー乳を使用した抹茶味のアイスに、練乳のソースをあわせました。旨みと甘みがたっぷり凝縮された愛知県西尾産の一番摘み抹茶を使用しました。Unlike the usual kyoto matcha, tea leaves from Aichi Prefecture is used here.
The monaka shell is not crunchy as already expected of most monaka products. The lighter green colour of the ice cream is evident of the higher proportion of milk that is used for the ice cream. The intensity of the matcha is not that strong here but what is interesting is the addition of bubbles of condensed milk. Perhaps the use of condensed milk was intended to contrast and bring out the matcha flavour. The full bodied flavour of the matcha from Aichi Prefecture could be better released if this had not been too sweet.

Friday, April 20, 2012

抹茶の季節: Season of Green II

まろやかで香り豊かな抹茶クリームときんつば餡を、サクサクのパイでサンドしました。
This was purchased at an annual Tokyo Wagashi Exhibition 2012 that features all the famous old wagashi shops from all over Japan. This matcha flavour was actually sold in April 2010 and revived for this exhibition. It is no longer available.   
スクエア型に焼き上げたパイ生地には焼きたての鮮度を保つためカラメルを表面に塗り、いつまでもさっくりとした風味が楽しめます。
Very fragrant matcha cream with azuki red bean filling sandwiched between crisp baked caramelized puff pastries. This is already very tasty and can do without the red bean filling.
チェリオ 抹茶ホワイトチョコ 
Cheerio Matcha White chocolate (Uji Matcha used)
宇治抹茶を使用した抹茶アイスの中に、マイルドな味わいのホワイトチョコを入れ、パリパリとして香ばしいアーモンドを混ぜ込んだホワイトチョコでコーティングしたとのこと。What is interesting is that they actually inserted a rectangular slab of mild white chocolate in the matcha ice cream
Can you spot the slab of white chocolate in the centre of the matcha ice cream? the crunchy white chocolate almond coating gives it a nice contrasting texture. The matcha ice cream is fortunately not as sweet as the white chocolate slab and is considerably less milky than other matcha ice cream.
Classic Matcha Gateau from La Vie Douce
Rich baked matcha cake with fresh whipped cream and matcha sable cookie square
The chef has taken the classic french chocolate gateux to the next level by making it into a matcha version. Indeed a very dense and bitter cake that needs to be pair with the light cream. An extra treat to have the crunchy matcha sable to go with the cake. One can savour multiple textures in just this simple seasonal creation.
Yoku Moku Seasonal Matcha Millecrepe (available till 6th June 2012)
薄く焼いたクレープ生地の間にほど良い苦みと甘みを兼ね備えた抹茶クリームを何層にも重ね合わせ、ふわりとした甘さのかのこ豆をアクセントにした新緑のミル・クレープです。
Another spectacular matcha pastry that contains the bitter and velvety matcha cream. Mille crepe is an all year available product by Yoku Moku but it has come up with the matcha version this Spring 2012. What is interesting is that soft black beans have been added on top of a base that is a sponge layer. Reminds me of the classic children tale "Thumbelina" in which some beans or similar sort is placed at the bottom of layers of mattresses. The mille crepe skin is also well executed as it is not too dry and thick. Poking one's fork through this creation can be a challenging one. Better clear it layer by layer.
Glico Uji Matcha Au Lait Chocolate Snack
While this was originally a matcha drink, Glico has gone a further step ahead and transformed it into a snack. However, the packaging still resembles a drink. 
A surprise to see that the cup is loaded with small matcha coated biscuits. They resembled green beans but of course tasted very different from the beans. Once one starts eating this, one just cannot stop. It is really that addictive. Also available in coffee version. Nonetheless, since Glico also produces Pocky biscuits, one can't help but wonder if this is just a twist of any matcha pocky that Glico has come up with in the past.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Season of Green...また、抹茶の味

 Matcha Cream Senbei  抹茶クリームせんべい
from Kyoto Wagashi Shop 青木光悦堂 (est. Meiji 25th year)
 香ばしい堅めのせんべいにほろ苦いしっとりクリーム。濃厚な大人のせんべいです。

Seems like April is the month of Matcha, with the non-ceasing emergence of matcha products. Many shops have set up special corners just dedicated to the display and sale of matcha products. The popularity of matcha this month perhaps has got something to do with the season of spring and sakura.  
Unlike the usual matcha biscuits or langue de chats, the biscuit layer is not milky or buttery. It tastes like thin versions of traditional senbei but is much flakier than senbei. The striped appearance is a telling sign of its crispness. The matcha cream sandwiched in between the biscuits is not buttercream and thus does not have an artificial flavour. The dark hue green colour parallels its rich matcha flavour that is bitter and not sweet at all. A rare gem of matcha biscuits indeed.
 【ローソン・関東限定】森半監修の宇治抹茶エクレ香り高い宇治抹茶使用
Lawson's Matcha Eclair ( A collaboration with Kyoto's Matcha Producer Morihan)



although the cream puff skin is quite average, the matcha cream is really impressive as it is rich and has a dense flavour of matcha. Only available for a limited time and only in Lawson Stores found in Kanto Area. The product indeed lived up to the brand name of the matcha used-森半.
Lawson Uchi Cafe: Kyoto Uji Matcha Pudding
Unlike other pudding, this does not have any accompanying sauces. However, it is as good as its own as the matcha accent is strong and is just mildly sweetened. A really worthy to try pudding for it's price.


Bourbon Matcha Latte Chocolate Langue De Chats 
ブランチュールミニEX抹茶ラテチョコレート
One-bite sized biscuit. But I wonder why the name contains "EX"......


香り高い宇治抹茶を練り込んだラングドシャクッキーと抹茶ラテ味のチョコレートを組み合わせた、ひとくちサイズのブランチュール。抹茶とミルクの味わいが奏でる風味豊かなハーモニーをお楽しみください。
sandwiched with matcha latte chocolate, this biscuit has a very sandy buttery texture and also a nice aroma. Langue de chats are difficult to go wrong with its quality. However, one might find this slightly too sweet.

Kitkat Chunky Uji Matcha Puff Version 
three big chunks of kitkat with "puffs" sandwiched in between. Tasted as expected even though it is marketed to be different in texture from it's usual wafer counterparts.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

京都宇治の伊藤久右衛門 : Making Pilgrimage to the Land of Matcha

Kyoto 宇治 "伊藤久右衛門" is a old green tea shop that has been established since the late edo period. Since this is such a popular/familiar green tea brand, how can we not pay pilgrimage to this shop when we are in Kyoto? 
Not only is it famous for its green tea, it has 2 shops in Uji, Kyoto that allows customers to savour their matcha noodles and sweets. Their products can only be found in Uji and I did not spot any of them in Kyoto station or any other souvenir shops. Therefore, one must really grab the chance to savour their matcha tea and buy some omiyage from their shops if one managed to travel all the way to their shops.
this is at their main shop
Matcha Warm Soba (577 Yen) 
This is a bowl of really tasty al-dente handmade matcha noodles. The broth is seasoned just right and it is not oily at all.

Matcha Cappucino Set (577 Yen)
Ordered this because this is the first time I've come across Matcha Cappucino rather than Matcha Latte. 
Just like a good cup of cappucino, they managed to create matcha foam on top. It is not sweet at all and has a really nice matcha aroma. However, it has no taste of any coffee at all.
And the biscuit that came along with the set is packaged like a nice present. Very exquisite presentation that one can't bear to open it.

Matcha Sable sandwiched with matcha buttercream and raisins
I am not sure if this applies to everyone but drinking matcha or enjoying any matcha food always seem to calm one's nerves and remind one to slow down their pace in life. Well, so don't forget to appreciate the cup like any other tea ceremony after you have finished the drink.
Besides their main shop, we went to their branch which is also in Uji, located within walking distance from the famous 平等院. According to their website, this branch that is smaller than the main branch, was also the place where the shop first started.
A showcase of their matcha harvesting process at their branch shop.
Some products are not available at this shop but the selection is still quite substantial.
Matcha Yokan (somewhat like a sweet dense jelly)
Matcha Chocolate Bar ( New product) resembles Matcha Chocolate crunch Bar 
Matcha Kuzu Soup
Like the very sweet and dense red bean soup, this is the matcha version with a few small balls of plain mochi.
How can one not feel peaceful and satisfied with life after enjoying a good cuppa of matcha?
(the Zen display of flower taken in the main shop)
It is easy to mix up this company with another beverage/food company called Itoen. They are actually 2 very different companies. 

京都宇治の伊藤久右衛門
For more information or online shopping : visit 
www.itohkyuemon.co.jp/site/index2.html 
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