Monday, December 20, 2010

Tea Sweets: Wagashi

I have been doing a little research on the internet about higashi, dry sweets served with thin tea (usucha), after reading more books about tea ceremony lately. I have had the pleasure to try these little sweets during a tea ceremony demonstration at the annual Japanese festival at Memphis Botanical Gardens this past September. Higashi are made of a special type of sugar called wasanbon and pressed into molds. According to most sites I viewed, they almost impossible to get or make. My response to that is this: Rakuten. I typed "wasanbon" in the search box and a bunch of higashi came up, as well as wasanbon itself, of course. They range from the simple dome shape to elaborate flowers and shapes. The higashi range from about ¥525 (about $6.25) and up, depending on the variety and amount you buy. If you are feeling adventurous, you can try this recipe using either traditional Japanese molds (available at or plastic candy molds.

Namagashi, on the other hand, are a little different. These are wet sweets served with thick tea (koicha). While namagashi are supposed to be handmade and eaten usually within a day of making, you can easily use store-bought mochi or daifuku for informal situations. Also, recipes are easier to find on the internet if you feel like making some yourself.

And now I'm dying for a tea party. Anyone interested?

(Photos are from jimmie04's Flickr and Japan Foodie.)

1 comment:

  1. Did you tried these flower Wagashi at the annual Japanese festival at Memphis Botanical Gardens?
    That's really good.I wish I could join the tea celemony!