Sunday, August 8, 2010
I went to Kintai Bridge in July 2009, and there was an ice-cream shop with 100 different flavors! Unfortunately I had just finished a delicious blueberry-yogurt ice-cream from a shop with a much smaller selection, and I had no appetite left. Maybe I should say fortunately... how do you choose from 100 flavors?! In Nagano at a hot spring resort I once sampled wasabi ice-cream, but I didn't enjoy it.
But the ice-creams that really get me excited are the ones you can buy at the convenience stores. They bring out seasonal flavors (and not just in ice-cream) which you can only buy for a couple of months and then they're gone. Sometimes they re-appear next time the season comes around, and sometimes they're gone forever. Like the divine chocolate fudge brownie - frozen fudge brownie on a stick - briefly available in Winter 2007. It still haunts my taste buds!
Actually, winter is my ice-cream season. I know that's weird, but in summer I'd usually rather have iced tea. But when the weather is freezing and I'm bundled up in coat, hat, and scarf, I crave ice-cream. The object of my ice-cream desires during the winter of 2009-2010 was the wonderful kinako-mochi monaka. Kinako is a nutty flavored powder made from roasted and ground soy beans, and mochi is a soft, doughy, slightly sweet rice-flour cake. I think this one is a standard because I saw it first in 2008-2009 winter. Lucky me!
Another frozen treat I'm particularly fond of is the frozen fruit ice lollies. The first one I tried was mandarin flavor - frozen juice packed full of mandarin segments. That was good, but was subsequently eclipsed by the mango version. Recently I saw grape and peach versions at the convenience store, but I haven't tried them yet.... it's summer in Japan, you see.