Finding Seasonal Sakura Mochi | 花見餅 | 和菓子

Finding seasonal sakura, or cherry blossom mochi doesn’t have to be difficult!

Does Sakura Mochi taste as good as it looks?

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my first review of Sakura Goromo from Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Sakura Matsuri.

If you have pollen and seasonal allergies, just a word of caution to those who may also be sensitive to ingesting literal flowers. I am in the comfort of my home trying these and I often carry allergy medicine, but if you are worried you may have a reaction while out, maybe save the snacks (if possible) until a later time to try.

Now, on to the snack review!

When I’ve had mochi in the past, I’ve usually opted for the lightly powdered varieties that mask the stickiness of the rice. This snack in particular had none such coating. It was delicately encased within a sakura tree leaf.

On its top, a dried cherry blossom stuck pressed to its surface. I used to wonder if you should eat the leaves surrounding some mochi, but learned that it is safe to do so.

Unwrapping the sakura mochi from its plastic
Unwrapping the sakura mochi from its plastic

The plastic wrapper was easy to pop open and upon this I got an overbearing smell of what I could describe as the forest floor. A pungent blend of leaves, tree bark and the smell of grass on a warm day after it had rained quite a bit.

There was the same hint of cinnamon spices into the mix, but much more subdued than the sakura bean cake.

An illustration of the sticky rice texture
An illustration of the sticky rice texture

I put my fingers to the sticky rice and feel its gelatinous texture. I touch the smooth surface of the sakura leaf, which isn’t soggy per say but definitely beginning to deteriorate and intermingle in the mochi.

The expiration date is set for April 29th and it is a day later.

The expiration date of the sakura mochi is labeled on the side
The expiration date of the sakura mochi is labeled on the side

Although, I have found that you can always squeeze out one more day concerning mochi as long as it’s refrigerated and unopened. As per usual with this snack, there was no freshness packet in this.

I learned this lesson the hard way after having Sanshoku dango turn on me multiple times after opening the package, eating one stick and then days later thinking I could come back to it and only finding mold and wasted money.

Judging by the earthy smell, I was a bit tepid in my concern to eat this snack.

I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of sakura mochi
I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of sakura mochi

I was pleasantly surprised, and enjoyed this wagashi much more than the first one I ate a few minutes earlier. The sakura goromo definitely has a much more pleasing appearance, but for what the mochi lacked in aesthetic – it made up in taste.

Sinking my teeth in, the anko bean paste tasted sweet and mingled with the sticky rice so well. I barely tasted the sakura leaf, which was much less pronounced as the other flavors overpowered it.

The cinnamon flavor filled my chest and the sticky rice slightly clung to my teeth.

A thick anko paste filling inside
A thick anko paste filling inside

Taking a second bite, the flavor palate seems to have changed. I now tasted the saltiness most complain of when eating sakura food items.  I have yet to come to the dried bloom on this snack, so the culprit has to be the leaf. The veins seemed to have broken apart and turned into thin strings fraying along its spine.

The anko paste is definitely the smooth koshian variety that has the bean skins removed during processing.  I allow myself a bigger bite and the profile changes again and all I taste is sticky rice. This is indeed an interesting snack.

It seems to change with every bite, although the core amounts of ingredients remain the same.  I am allowing myself a sip of coffee, as the leaf is trying to stick to the inside of my throat. Again, as in my last review, the traditional pairing of tea would have gone swimmingly with this treat.

It’s time to add the cherry blossom into the mix. In my last review, I pulled the blossom off and ate it separately to try to ascertain its natural taste. This time I will eat it together on the snack as is.

The leaf wrapped around the mochi tastes like seaweed
The leaf wrapped around the mochi tastes like seaweed

The leaf touches my tongue first and tastes as salty as seaweed. I taste this pocket of sweetness fighting in the meld against the bitter and astringent elements. They combine and marry into a blend of cool, soothing, neutral tastes that leave more leaf particles in my throat.

Differing from the bean cake, there is no aftertaste. No overwhelming churn of cinnamon and reminiscence of Middle Eastern spices. There’s just a taste of sticky rice left in my mouth that is competing for top spot against the leaves.

This snack was much better eaten in small, dainty nibbles rather than shoving it all in for one last bite as I just did. In my experience, it just cancelled all flavor it had and left me wanting more.

Taking a nice bite!
Taking a nice bite!

I am beginning to feel the effects of taking the Benadryl, so we will leave this review here.

Minamoto Kitchoan has a website. The two snacks I reviewed are not available at the time of writing this, but they have a great assortment to offer nonetheless.

If you’re looking for a perfect tea pairing for your wagashi, why not try an elegant green tea that uses real sakura blossoms for its flavor! If you would like to purchase these snacks as well as support the site, please use the links listed below.

What is your favorite type of mochi? Do you enjoy cherry blossom themed snacks?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I would love to hear from you! Also if you haven’t already done so, be sure to follow us for more seasonal and traditional Japanese snack reviews!

You can also sign up for direct email updates to see when we post new content using the form on the sidebar! Be sure to tell your friends, we have some awesome stuff planned as we move closer to the summer season!

More on: Japanese Culture

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Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

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