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Posts Tagged ‘grape’

I live in a part of Japan known for their grapes, specifically a dark purple variety called Kyoho. So it’s not uncommon to see signs advertising everything from grape juice to grape cookies to grape ice cream. However, when I was on the way to work on Monday, the main street of my town had suddenly burst into bloom with white flags advertising Kyoho grape bread. Grape bread, made with local grapes at a local bakery in small quantities. The very definition of a local limited edition specialty, and you all know how much I love all things gentei♥.

When I went to the bakery yesterday, the head baker apologetically told me all the grape bread had sold out. Apparently, I’m not the only person in the area who has an addiction to limited edition bread. ^^;;
The grape bread comes in two varieties, a mini loaf of standard raisin bread, and melon pan shaped like a bunch of grapes. I raced over today after work, and managed to grab two grape melon pans from the shelf just before a neighborhood granny purchased the rest of the stock.


Melon pan is a popular type of bakery bread which is covered in a layer of cookie like crust. This melon pan consisted of small balls of fluffy bread studded with giant Kyoho raisins, arranged like a bunch of grapes, covered in a grape flavored cookie crust and decorated with a pretzel stick as the stem. A bite revealed the inner bread to be nearly as purple in color as the cookie crust.

The melon has a real grape aroma and color which is pleasantly purple without the use of artificial food coloring. The soft bread goes very well with the slightly crunchy cookie top, and the raisins add just the right amount of sweetness without becoming cloying. I am actually really picky about melon pan, and won’t eat one if the cookie part has lost it’s crunch. (crunchy things should be crunchy!)

If I can ever manage to get to the bakery again while it still has these lovelies in stock, I would definitely buy it again! (back away from my grape melon pan, granny!)

B’langere Marche @ Yamanashi City, Yamanashi, Japan

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Happy 2010! I can’t believe that another year has flown by so quickly. Foodwise, winter usually makes me think of baked goods and thick soups, fresh tea and oatmeal, you know, warming foods to chase away the cold that seeps into my uninsulated apartment and has taken over school hallways. >_<

For some reason, all I can think about today is this perfect skewer of sweet strawberries and grapes, dipped in molten red sugar and left to harden in the winter air of a Pusan street market. Candied fruit seems like an unlikely thing to associate with winter, but they make a regular appearance in Japan and China, as well as South Korea. In Japan, tiny apples and plums covered in hard sugar, or apricots and mikan in soft mizuame pop up at winter festivals on New Year’s Eve. In China, you can find tanghulu , the traditional sugar covered hawthorn fruit and foot long skewers of candied fruit from strawberries to kiwi and bananas, wrapped in a thin layer of rice paper to keep them from sticking to each other.

Since the ingredients of a candied fruit skewer are  just fruit, sugar and usually a dash of food coloring, it tastes sweet and fruity…but mostly just sweet. The draw for me is not the flavor so much as it is the texture. The crunch as you bite through the layer of hard sugar into the soft fruit is kind of addicting, and even as you complain that it is too sweet, or that the sugar has stuck in your teeth, you find yourself wanting another skewer the next time you walk past the stall.

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Kyoho Soft Serve

What would a visit to Kofu be without Kyoho grape flavored ice cream?

In front of Takeda Shrine @ Kofu, Yamanashi, Japan

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