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Seasons of sweetness

UCHU wagashi

Words / Ron Lam

日本和菓子有很多不同的種類例如配合抺茶味嘗的生菓子、以小麥粉或蕎麥粉做外皮的饅頭,還有一種,擁有漂亮的名字,名為「落雁」。落雁是以米粉混合和三盆糖,再用木模壓成的乾菓子。

除了味道外,落雁還非常重視其溶化時的口感,以外美麗的外觀。一般的落雁都造成花卉及葉子等充滿季節性色彩的形狀,京都的新派菓子店 UCHU wagashi 的落雁,也滿滿來自季節的聯想,卻還多了一點故事性、趣味性。例如「Fukiyose」,是風捲來的事物的意思。共有24種不同設計――鳥兒、蝴蝶、音樂、星星、白雲等,每盒「Fukiyose」裡都隨機地放了其中五款。究竟風為你捲來甚麼?就要待打開盒子時才知道了。

「Drawing」則有如一盒小小的積木,色彩粉嫰粉嫰的,沒有以形狀來告知你今夕何夕,因為季節就在你手裡。每一塊落雁都是四分一個圓形,你大可以它們拼湊出自己心裡中的季節景像。UCHU wagashi 不時都會推出季節限定的商品,今年春末他們推出了「Swimmy mini」。小小的魚兒,把碟子上一放,碟子就成為了汪洋大海,提示我們夏季快將走近。

UCHU wagashi 向我們展示不同的季節,每個季節都是甜美的。

Japan offers to gastronomes a huge variety of wagashi, for instance, namagashi that pairs with matcha, manjū that is made with flour or buckwheat flour, as well as the beautifully named rakugan that is made with rice flour and wasanbon sugar, before being moulded into a classic Japanese dried sweet.

Apart from taste, rakugan also stresses on both the beauty of its shape and the sensation of how it melts in your mouth. The traditional rakugans are usually shaped into seasonal flowers and leaves; although the modern wagashi shop UCHU wagashi are also guided by the change in seasons, they are more playful and thematic. ‘Fukiyose’ is a Japanese word that means things that came with the wind. The Fukiyose series has altogether 24 designs, including bird, butterfly, music note, star and cloud; five random selection of these designs are placed in each box of Fukiyose. You will never know what the wind has brought to you until you open the box yourself.

The Drawing series looks like a small box of stacking blocks in pastel colours. The shape of Drawing doesn’t give you any hint on the current season, because you can be in control of the season — every piece of the Drawing rakugan is in the shape of a quarter-circle, piecing them together can form different seasons. Seasonal special is a recurrent project of UCHU wagashi. Towards the end of this spring, they introduced the Swimmy Mini series. The tiny fishes in this new series can turn a serving plate underneath into a vast ocean, as if it is a reminder for embracing the arrival of summertime.

There are many seasons displayed by UCHU wagashi, and every season promises to bring a sweet taste.