Meika Tsumeawa by Ryokuchiya Korekiyo

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Wagashi are tra­di­tion­al Japanese sweets that are often served with tea and made from plant ingredi­ents, not­ably anko or azuki bean paste. Ryoguchiya Korekiyo is a wagashi maker estab­lished in Nagoya in 1635. Initially mak­ing wagashi for the fam­ily of samurai and mer­chants in Aichi pre­fec­ture, it still makes wagashi today and has branched out even to a mod­ern cafe called Fuwadoran in Nagoya that D and I vis­ited in 2014.

Here, though, is their Meika Tsumeawa, baked wagashi using anko made from rich red beans from Hokkaido that are fam­ous for their sweet taste and tender tex­ture. Each box comes with three dif­fer­ent wagashi

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This is the Yomo Yama, described as hav­ing a mild fla­voured skin filled with anko. 

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The white dec­or­at­ive dash across the top of the wagashi is meant to recall a moun­tain of home.

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The pastry is firm, not crispy or soft, and is just thick enough to bal­ance the sweet­ness of the anko, which is beau­ti­fully smooth, without dominating.

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This second one is the Tabi Makura with a thin pastry hold­ing the anko and accen­ted with black sesame.

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The appear­ance of this wagashi is meant to recall a trav­el­ling pil­low. Isn’t that ador­able? The pastry is so thin that the col­our of the anko comes through.

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The pastry is thin­ner here with a barely detect­able taste, serving solely to hold the anko in its shape and as a vehicle for the black ses­ame seeds. The black ses­ame seeds add pops of nut­ti­ness that cut through the sweet­ness of the anko that comes across as sweeter as there’s less pastry to bal­ance it out.

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And finally, the Kokorozashina No Ji fea­tures a savoury egg pastry encas­ing the anko.

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This one is 2 – 3 times the size of the oth­er two and illus­trated with ‘aspir­a­tions of the road’.

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The thick­er egg pastry with a slight savoury and eggy note used in this wagashi provides a crunchy tex­ture that con­trasts the ten­der­ness of the red bean,and fur­ther mel­lows the sweet­ness of the red bean, which would oth­er­wise be over­whelm­ing in this lar­ger por­tion size.

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All three wagashi use the same anko, yet it’s fas­cin­at­ing that the dif­fer­ent pastries used can so change the fla­vour in subtle ways. These wagashi would go very well with some green tea.

This box of Meika Tsumeawa by Ryokuchiya Korekiyo con­tained 2x Kokorozashina No Ji, 6x Tabi Makura and 8x Yomo Yama. It was pro­duced in Japan and sourced from Tokyo, Japan in 2016.