♥ Matcha melon pan #cutepatisserie #obsessedwithmatcha #theloveisreal #konbinimemories #yum #TBT

A rather long while ago, when pandemics were still nothing but a nightmare scenario in movies and history books that health professionals occasionally warned about, the duck and I met up with our cool Frankfurt friend JD to go to Iimori Pâtisserie for a little Japanese pastry break! Even though I had tried melon pan, or melon bread, before and was disappointed by the lack of melon flavor (I didn’t know back then that the name describes the look rather than the taste), when I saw a matcha melon pan in the display case, I knew that the duck and I had to get it. So we did! And I wasn’t disappointed. Sure, this was still a bit too sweet for the duck and my weird tastes, like all melon pan. But the memory of our beloved Konbini was enough to make us thoroughly enjoy this beautiful pastry, as well as catching up with our friend! 5/5 matcha ducks! ♥

Now that I think about it, it’s been way too long since the duck and I have had any kind of Japanese pastry… we should change that!

Snacks: Sweet potato chips

(Yes! More food!) Let me tell you about the duck and my love for sweet potatoes (and autumn food in general); we are pretty sure that sweet potatoes have descended from the heavens to become precious diamonds of the earth to help man- and duckkind make peace with the thought of an impending grey and icy winter. Sweet potato duckBecause of that it should come to no surprise that we had to try the infamous sweet potato chips that you can find pretty much everywhere, mostly in the more popular stick-form giving them a beautiful appearance that reminds of crunchy orange-colored fries.

Just imagine our excitement when the wonderful Ay arrived with two big bags of sweet potato chips and sticks a week after she had told us about them. Keep reading for the duck and my honest thoughts on our sweet-potato-y snacksperience: Continue reading

Snacks: All the Matcha we could Alfort

Guess what- it’s still spring, or, as we call it, matcha flavor season! And since there are still so many spring flavored snacks to be found in the grocery stores (though fruity summer flavors are slowly taking over the shelves), Alfort duckthe duck and I just had to try two more green tea-y varieties – this time in the shape of those nice chocolaty Alfort biscuits!
At first, the bigger variety with a light biscuit and bright green chocolate caught our eye. Then, just a short while later, we discovered the darker mini matcha variety and we knew that we needed to try those as well – it was love at first sight after all!
In our first spring cookie test, the duck and I fell in love with the chewy matcha flavored cookies by the same manufacturer (I guess that makes us polyamorous). So, this time, our expectations were rather high, especially because we love the regular individually wrapped milk chocolate Alfort biscuits and the small snack-size dark ones! Anyway, I’m rambling too much. Let’s try to keep this super professional snack review rather concise for real this time:

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Snacks: LOOK, it’s spring!

Okay, I’ve already established how much the duck and I love that Japan does seasonal snacks so incredibly well. And, even though spring is only our second favorite season (because of the pollen, but we already mentioned that)LOOK, duck, look again! it’s definitely our favorite snack season because of all the matcha flavored snacks! That’s why, when we discovered the spring edition of Fujiya’s LOOK chocolates featuring Uji matcha *gasp* we’ve been to Uji! We had matcha there! – we had a nostalgic flashback to the time we taste-tested the autumn edition when we were still young, naive and not marked by the gruesome Tokyo winter that we had to go through (gosh, we’re dramatic!) to finally arrive at this beautiful season for beautiful snacks. Anyway, let’s stop the rambling and get to our subjective taste test: Continue reading

Snacks: Spring in cookie-shape

IT’S FINALLY SPRING! Can you tell we’re excited? If it weren’t for my annoying pollen allergies, spring would actually have a great chance of being my favorite season (taking into account how the duck and I dramatically suffer in the cold)!
Despite the varied approaches to determining the official starting point of spring, once the cherry blossom season has begun, it doesn’t matter who you ask, everyone will agree that spring has arrived (even if it’s still super cold or rainy outside). Sakura cookie duckFor us, the countdown to the beginning of this lovely but painful (even with masks and allergy medicine) season started as soon as we saw the first spring-themed snacks on the Konbini and grocery store shelves. When we discovered a pack of sakura (cherry blossom) flavored cookies back in February, the duck and I could not resist!
Spring also marks the new school and fiscal year in Japan (both start in April – which some see as the month for starting new things; April is Japan’s January for new year’s resolutions) and, more importantly, the season when matcha is a popular snack flavor everywhere, not only in Kyoto! Because of that, this time, we present you not one, but three(!) beautiful cookies that we’ve had the pleasure of trying in celebration of spring:

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Snacks: (Baked) mame mochi

This time the duck and I taste tested yet another ricey snack: mame mochi.
We’d seen them at grocery stores a couple of times and had considered trying them, but as the new year had started, they were everywhere – so we knew that we just had to buy a pack! Do you remember our black bean senbei taste test?
These mame mochi remind of our beloved black bean senbei in a lot of ways, but there is one major difference: even though they look similar – in texture, not necessarily in shape (at least to our untrained Western eyes) – mame mochi fall under the category of okaki rather than senbei.Mame duck
‘What’s the difference?’, you may ask yourselves; well, while senbei are made of (plain old) rice, okaki are made of glutinous rice, hence the name mochi (= Japanese rice cakes).
Mochi are a popular New Year’s food (in December and January you can find big packs of mochi on the special offer shelves of almost every grocery store); it is not uncommon to have mochi pounding events just before the new year starts!
Because preparing mochi by hand is such a labor intensive task, the enthusiastic mochi pounders usually make more mochi than they can eat, so that many centuries ago, some clever people decided to extend the life span of the left over mochi they had extensively beat by drying and baking it, turning the sticky rice cakes into okaki. I guess that is why the duck and I had only seen these crackers on occasion until, finally, in January we couldn’t not see them!
Anyway, after going on and on about what we understand those snacks to be and how we try to make sense of them, here is our taste test of mame mochi (we hope that’s the right name as mame mochi usually come in sticky, unbaked rice cake form, if you trust the English image search results) that we had waited all or lives for: Continue reading

Snacks: A Meltykiss in winter

It’s Valentine’s Day (= a big deal for Japanese chocolate manufacturers and a sad reminder for the duck and me that some people need a reason to indulge in chocolate) which makes this the perfect time for yet another sweet, chocolaty review.
The snack that we taste tested this time is, rather than being Valentine’s Day themed, a winter exclusive: Meiji‘s Meltykiss chocolates. And, gosh, were we excited to try yet another seasonal snack!
Meltykiss DuckEven though there are quite a few varieties to choose from, some of them limited edition exclusives, the duck and I did not have to think at all before we knew what flavor we would try (first): First Flush Green Tea (quite an obvious choice considering that, well, we are huge matcha fans).
Meltykiss chocolates feature a flavored filling coated by a soft shell of chocolate and most of them are covered with a thin layer of fine cocoa powder (which we l-o-v-e), just like fine, powdery, chocolaty snow!
After having tried a few varieties many years ago, the duck and I were pretty excited to once again have a taste of this beautiful reminder that winter can be sweet: Continue reading

Snacks: Yatsuhashi

During our trip to Kyoto last December (and after all that worrying about the perfect omiyage) the duck and I found the perfect snack to bring back to Tokyo Yatsuhashi duckwithin our first few hours in the old capital: yatsuhashi! During a previous visit in summer a few years back I already had the pleasure of trying a few variations of the raw version (don’t look at me like that, duck! You got to try plenty near Kiyomizudera in December!) but with the cool temperatures, and Christmas only being a few weeks away, we knew that it had to be the baked cinnamon version this time!
Because it’s been far too long since our last super professional taste test, the duck and I just couldn’t help but put in our own two yen. So, here goes:

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Snacks: Double Chocolate?! Count us in!

While autumn means sweet potato and chestnut flavors, Christmas, at least for the duck and me, means chocolate! Winter is the perfect season for chocolate because in the cold temperatures there is no risk of accidental liquefaction; Choco Choco Duckinstead, it’s more acceptable to enjoy the purposefully liquid variety, called ‘hot chocolate‘, that warms you up on top of being chocolate in drinkable form (perfect if accompanied by a chocolate chip cookie… or ten).
Seeing some new limited edition winter(?) snacks could make us forget the impending end of our favorite season at least a bit. Also, they made us excited for our favorite holiday. Yay! So, today we’ll give you a review of the first chocolaty winter treat we could not help but try:

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Snacks: LOOK, it’s autumn!

Japan is great when it comes to seasonal snacks. In spring it is hard to enter a grocery store without finding at least one sakura (cherry blossom) flavored snack – my friend once brought me a cute little box of matcha-sakura flavored Kitkat when she visited from Japan in spring; they tasted like a steady chocolate-float ride through a LOOK, duck, look!peaceful matcha stream in the middle of (the week-long) cherry blossom season, just without all the crowds of sakura-admirers and instead with some extra sugar sprinkled on top. But enough of this pseudo-poetic writing!
Now that it’s fall (even though the temperatures feel a lot like winter), of course, the duck and I had to try some of the autumn-specific snacks Japan has to offer in that favorite season of ours. The first thing we found was this year’s autumn edition of Fujiya‘s LOOK chocolates.
The individual bite-size pieces of chocolate usually come in a box with two or four different varieties, such as LOOK 4 with 27%, 40%, 55% and 70% cacao chocolate or LOOK A La Mode with banana-, almond-, strawberry- and coffee-cream filled milk chocolate. Our catch, however, featured two Japan autumn classics: sweet potato and chestnut (as far as the duck and I could tell). This is our very personal review: Continue reading