Hello DutchCook readers! I have the pleasure today to guest-blog for you from Japan for the one year anniversary of the Dutchcook!
As co-editor and fond reader of the blog I’m happy to celebrate this momentous occassion and share with you one of my explorations into the unusual side of Japanese cuisine with a Dutch twist.
The most famous flower of Japan has to be the Cherry Blossom, beautiful and delicate its blossom period is short and seems to give every confection in the land of the rising sun a pinkish hue,temporarily replacing the standard matcha (green tea) flavor. But after the sakura (cherry blossom) disappears there are still many flower seasons to enjoy. For the past few decades the Japanese government has invested heavily in recreational parks for its hardworking citizens to enjoy their limited time off. Showa park was formerly a U.S. military base on the outskirts of Tokyo that was converted into a beautiful, sprawling park in the seventies.
Since the park is only a twenty minute bike-ride away from our home, we decided to enjoy the warm afternoon sun and cycle around the park, which has wide pedestrian and bicycle paths.May, as it turns out, is the season of the tulip. Fields and fields of my nation’s pride and joy in every possible color attract large groups of camera-happy Japanese families.
One of my favorite things about Japan is its obsession with confections like the pink Sakura delights. Walk into any department store and you will find the most mouthwatering assortment of pastries and candies, all looking like they came out of a magazine.
But, most notably, I love the endless array of KitKats. If you have not heard of the KitKat phenomenon before, you are in for a treat! Sweet potato, bubblegum, mango and ginger ale are all seasonally available. Or perhaps a soy sauce Kitkat is more up your street? My personal favorite is the blueberry cheesecake one. It is the number one thing I put in family care packages home to share a taste of Japan (If you’d like to learn about more of the crazy flavors, check out: http://www.itsasickness.com/japanese-kit-kats/content/list-flavors).
Sorry! KitKats always distract me… Back to the tulips! Tulips were used as a method of payment back in the day when they were worth more than gold. Now it serves a typical Dutch symbol, one of the country’s largestsexports, and has severely decreased in worth . Yet, it still attracts millions of tourists to the famous “Keukenhof” in the Netherlands and is also a big attraction at Showa park. As I was saying earlier, before the KitKats butted in,
I love the Japanese obsession with using new and unusual flavors. To cool down, the visitors of the Park can buy tulip flavored ice cream with an artificial, neon pink color. Whether it actually tastes like tulips I could not tell you (But, as I understand it, it is an up and coming thing in organic cooking. For a recipe, check out http://blogs.prevention.com/marias-farm-country-kitchen/2012/03/06/organic-tulip-salad/). The ice cream did, however,have a faint hint of roses and mostly just tasted like vanilla. Not bad if you can overlook the color! It gave me a renewed sense of pride for this simple flower so far away from home.