STORY The Taste of Autumn, Seasonal Confection with Autumn’s Freshest Fruits by JNTO on 25 September 2019
In Japan, autumn is the best time to enjoy seafood like saury fish, skipjack tuna, fruits like grapes, pears, chestnuts, and vegetables such as sweet potatoes. This time, we are going to look at some seasonal wagashi confections (or Japanese sweets) made with the freshest fruits in autumn! Many of them are strictly exclusive to autumn, so do not forget to try them out if you were around!
Seasonal confections with the Freshest Fruits and Vegetables of Autumn
Grapes, persimmon, chestnuts and sweet potatoes are four representative agricultural products in autumn. Even though you may be able to find them all year round nowadays, these seasonal fruits and vegetables will taste their best during their peak season.
Mainly from Yamanashi and Nagano, Kyoho which is dark purple and large and Delaware which are seedless and sweet are recommended. In mid-August, Shine Muscat, which is beloved for its fragrance and edible skin, also becomes available.
The most abundant type is Fuyu, which is soft in texture, great in taste, and very much juicy. Jiro is oblate with its shape like in between a cube and a sphere. Most of these sweet and crunchy persimmons are from Wakayama and Nara.
Tsukuba is sweet and has a glossy reddish brown shell, while Ishizuchi becomes available from early October; all of these chestnuts are soft and flaky to taste. Obuse from Nagano is also popular, and desserts made from it just attract many tourists every year.
Sweet potatoes mainly comefrom Kagoshima and Ibaraki. Baked Beni Satsuma tastes light and has fluffy texture, Beni Haruka is especiallysweet, and baked “Annoimo” has a mousse-like texture.
With the Real Fruit Inside, Autumn Wagashi with an Attractive Look
Yokan Jelly Bar
This is a representative wagashi. The paste is made from sugar and agar that are boiled or steamed to become soft and chewy in texture. In autumn, you can usually find season-exclusive flavours like sweet potatoes, chestnut, and persimmon.
Famous Yokan Jelly Bar Specialties
- Toraya’s kurimushi yokan (literally “steamed chestnut yokan bar”) - Exclusively sold from September to November. Yes, it is indeed a steamed yokan with Japanese fresh chestnuts. The real chestnuts are embedded in the jelly, so it can be interesting to look at the chestnuts which are cut into different sizes while tasting the sweets.
- Funawa Honten’s sweet‐potato yokan- No colourings nor additives, standing out from the rest of similar yokan would be the pure essence of sweet‐potato.
- Okashi Tsuchiya’s persimmons yokan - With the skins of the persimmons carefully removed and the fruits themselves dried, the persimmons are then pressed and turned into jam-like ingredient for the rich, luxury yokan.
A baked wagashi with chestnut paste or white bean paste with honey pickled chestnuts. Some even come in the shape of a chestnut.
Famous Chestnut Bun Specialty
Wagashiya Isuzu’s chestnut bun- Comes in the shape of a small chestnut. The paste is filled with chestnuts that gives you an unforgettable taste!
A Japanese sweets with red bean paste embedded in agar, and pan-fried well on both sides. It is usually in a square shape, and may come with sweet potato paste. Some may even have big chestnuts in them.
Famous Kintsuba Specialty
Suya’s Chestnut Kintsuba - It contains honey pickled chestnuts and sweetness-controlled red bean paste, so it tastes sweet enough to make your happy It is usually available only from late November to August.
Attractive and Instagrammable Appearance! Season-Exclusive Wagashi with the Whole Fresh Fruit Inside
Soke Minamoto Kichoan, with stores also in Taipei and Singapore, is famous for its luxury use of seasonal, fresh fruits in wagashi confection.
For example, Rikunohoju is prepared with uncut Muscat of Alexandria from Okayama. Shugetsuya, a red bean yokan depicting the beautiful moon, is another wagashi with a lovely appearance exclusively sold during the Otsukimi (also known as mid-autumn festival) in Japan.