Sunday, November 25, 2012

Koishi & Kakigori    こいし & かきごおり

As we head into Summer with a balmy 30C Sydney Sunday I'm reminded of the Kyoto Summer I am still recovering from. One form of sweet relief I wish I'd managed to snaffle more of was Kakigori or shaved ice,  topped with a sweet syrup of your choice - one of my favourites made with condensed milk and Japanese black sugar. The version above, from one of Kyoto's most famous sweets shops, includes a good dollop of anko (sweetened red (azuki) beans  - divine. 

The shaved ice in a quality Kakigori is as fine as freshly fallen snow and dissolves very quickly on the tongue  - similar to the way fairy floss disappears upon contact with saliva. So refreshing on a super hot day, the sugar also giving one an instant boost just when you feel like you can never rehydrate again...

The dessert set above included a a mini parfait with dango (dumplings made with rice flour) and chestnuts with green tea ice cream and as you can see below there was quite a choice of modern style parfait and more traditional sweets and drinks. 

Modern "fusion" parfait including cake, fruit, ice cream, jelly made with kuzu starch, chewy dango made with rice flour, cream...

Above includes one of my favourites -traditional sweet - warabi mochi - on the rhs - with black sugar syrup for drizzling over. 
Koishi, an ame-ya or sweet shop in Gion, is famous for its prettily packaged, boiled candy with pure flavours such as shiso, ume (plum), yuzu, green tea and lemon... I am not normally a "lolly" kinda gal but these are really good  - mostly just sugar with natural flavours but some of the modern varieties include yoghurt or milk. A wonderful treat for both adults and kiddies.  
The salt flavour (only available in Summer and strangely addictive - see pic below) apparently helps replace a little of the sodium you lose in perspiration so its not a bad thing to carry around with you during the hideously hot months.
You will find this fabulous Kyoto store on the north side of Shijo street - a few minutes walk west of the entrance to the Yasaka shrine on Higashioji street.  Below is an image of the shopfront so you know what you are looking for!

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