Friday, December 17, 2010
Excellent Cocoa Daifuku
My husband is a very conservative eater. It's only in the last few years that he's come around to liking traditional Japanese sweets, and even now he doesn't tend to desire them enough to actually buy them. Mainly, he'll just eat them if a student gives them to him as a gift. Because of his conservative nature, I was a little surprised when he suggested that we buy this box of daifuku sweets. Daifuku are made with mochi (pounded rice cake) and usually filled with sweetened beans.
We found this box of "Excellent" cocoa daifuku at a souvenir shop at Meiji Shrine. There are 10 little blobs in the box. Each is about the size of the tip of your thumb. Because this is a bit of a "luxury" sweet, it was slightly expensive at around 1200 yen ($14.34). They're made by a company which I can best translate to "Ander HSK". The company didn't have a web site so I couldn't find any further information.
While these may look like a lot of little cocoa powder covered chocolate truffles, they're very soft and squishy. The outer mochi is so soft that it feels a bit like a membrane surrounding a firm blog of chocolate ganache in the center. They smell like cocoa powder, and it's impossible to take out out of the box without getting said powder all over your fingers. Because they are so limp, you have to pinch them to get them out.
The mochi mainly lends a soft slightly chewy texture. The flavor is of good quality somewhat dark chocolate that is lightly sweet. These are excellent and if you're squeamish about making a foray into traditional Japanese sweets, these are about as accessible as daifuku are going to be for a Western palate.
I wish I could offer information on other outlets for these sweets other than one souvenir shop at Meiji Shrine because that makes it sound like it can only be found if you happen to be a tourist in Japan, but the lack of web presence of the company makes it impossible to make other concrete recommendations. There's a high likelihood that you can find these in department store basements, where vast quantities of premium traditional Japanese treats can be purchased. If you can find these, I can't recommend them highly enough.