These amazing sweets are one more reason for me to want to go to Japan. Japanese sweets are a world of their own. If you google the words, you’ll get an endless stream of results and, most likely, not one of them would be something you had actually seen before. Here, I curated some of the weirdest desserts I found and it appears that some of them can actually be made at home. Feast your eyes, and possibly, if you’re up for it afterwards, your tummies!
1. Realistic Animal Candy
These lollipops are actually handmade according to the traditional art of Japanese candy making called Amezaiku which finds its origins in the 8th century. The candy is heated until it softens then crafted by bare hands and specialized scissors. Twenty-seven-year old Shinri Tezuka, who owns a business in Tokyo dedicated to this kind of candy art, is the artisan behind the above brilliant creations. Check out this amazing video to see how candy turns into a golden fish!
2. Uchiwa’ Fan Lollipops
These lollipops are sugary recreations of the traditional Japanese fan, Uchiwa. They’re typically adorned with traditional summer themes in Japan like swallows, pink hydrangeas, chidori plover birds and morning glory flowers. They are not mass produced and they are not available all year as they can only bought in Tokyo, Japan right about this time of year. Shinri Tezuka is also the man behind these exquisite treats.
3. The Raindrop Cake
This stupefying dessert ball had people lining up at cafes when it first cam out last year. It is almost free of calories and although it might be hard to believe, it’s really easy to make. The ingredients are 2/3 cup of spring water, a pinch of vanilla and approximately 1/8 tsp of agar powder (agar is originally a jelly-like substance obtained from algae). Before pouring the eventual mix in spherical molds and popping it in the fridge to harden overnight, all you do is mix the water and sugar, microwave for 30 seconds or heat on the stove until the sugar dissolves, and sprinkle the agar powder while stirring. Keep doing that for 5 to 10 mins until the agar dissolves.
Don’t believe how easy that is? Check out the video!
4. Glass Sweets
These glass sweets are made of kanten, a jelly-like substance that comes from a different type of algae than that of agar. Kanten and agar are generally used in different types of Japanese sweets, and is considered a good alternative to animal and chemical-based gelatin. Algae or no algae, these delectable pieces of art look so yummy.
5. Sweet Jewels
This line of edible jewels was released by the Japanese confectioner Ameya Eitaro. Packaged in ornamental jewelry boxes, they look like the real thing. They have a sweet subtle taste and would make for a perfect romantic gift. In fact, they debuted last year around the time of White Day, the Japanese version of Valentine’s Day. If you ask me, they’re quite beautiful to look at, but I’d rather wear them than eat them.
6. Sakura Kanten Jelly
Forget the set-up and the professional photo shot, these pieces look unbelievable. The flowers inside are real Japanese Sakura flowers, also known as Cherry Blossoms. Feel like making them yourself? Given you can find the ingredients, check out this blog post for ingredients and a step by step recipe.