What are Wagashi?

What are Wagashi?

Almond Milk Jelly

In this article, I would like to refer to the question: What are wagashi (和菓子)? You will learn how they are served and eaten.

Wagashi is a term for japanese sweets. Sweets and snacks are called okashi (菓子).
Cake and chocolate are called yogashi (洋菓子).

The syllable „wa“ means „Japan“ or „Japanese“. „Kashi“ means candy.

Wagashi are made of rice flour (from japanese rice such as mochigome), anko (red bean paste) and starch / gelling agent (Kudzu, agar agar). If necessary, additional nuts and cores are used in the production process.

This means that these sweets are vegan and fat-free, since even the gelling agents are of purely vegetable origin. As a traditional dessert they are made of high quality. However, they should not exceed a mature kaki in their sweetness.

They are modeled after nature. They should emphasize the beauty of nature. Their appearance is always adapted to the seasons. In the spring you can see cherry blossoms, in autumn, colorful foliage. This principle is called kacho fugetsu (花鳥 風月).

The art of 5 senses

Wagashi are supposed to stimulate the 5 senses:

1. Look: They are nice to look at

2. Listening: The name is a harmony for the ears

3. Smell: A pleasant smell comes from them

4. Taste: Fine and delicate, they have a pleasant aroma and nuances. The sweetness is not more mature than a persimmon.

5. Keys: When you eat, you have a pleasant mouthfeeling

How to serve?

Japaneses Sweets are served for Japanese tea ceremony. 

Since the green tea (generally Matcha) is slightly bitter, they offer a very good balance. Japaneses sweets reflect the seasons in their appearance. The host’s education is reflecting in serving the right Wagashi at the right seasons.

Higashi are served to rather weak (thin) tea, the so-called „Usucha“.

Omogashi are served to thick (strong) tea, the so-called „Koicha“.

How are Wagashi eaten?

You take a piece of sweet in your mouth and slowly drink some green tea. The taste of the tea should mix with the sweet taste of Wagashi. You do that until the tea is drunk or the Wagashi is eaten.

Go on to Subdivision of Wagashi!

Bota Mochi

Sources:

Article about Art and Tradition of japanese sweets (Last Access: 03.11.2017)

Article about Ichigo Daifuku Mochi (Last Access: 03.11.2017)

Article about variations of Yokan (Last Access: 03.11.2017)

Wanderweibs article (Last Access: 03.11.2017)

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