Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The exquisite sweet for matcha, kurirakugan

Sweet confection for the elderly?!

It is a sweet that I’ve had at my grandma’s place. It has a dry coarse texture in your mouth and it’s extremely sweet. It’s like eating a sweetened chalk or something. I recognize it as a confection for the elderly that is not appealing for kids at all. It is kurirakugan. I don’t dislike it but it won’t be my first choice either‏. The other day, kurirakugan was served in the tea class. I put it into my mouth not expecting much. Yap, this is it. It’s powdery and takes away all moisture in my mouth …, but the sweetness is comfortable, hum…. It has a chestnut-like cozy flavor which is not just sweet. It is actually quite good since I’m expecting to have matcha right after. Well, I’ve disrespected it but I’m quite captivated by it now. Is it because I have matured or it goes really well with matcha?

What is kurirakugan

Rakugan is a confectionery that is made with cereal grain, sugar and mizuame (starch syrup). It is molded and dried. Kuri means chestnuts. Kuri-rakugan is made with chestnuts grain so it has a nutty flavor. The rakugan that I had in my tea class also has the chestnut flavor but actually chestnuts are not used as its ingredient. Instead, red peas are used. Technically, you can’t call it kurirakugan, so its maker call the product just rakugan. The chestnut-flavored rakugan seem to be generally called kurirakugan even though it’s not made of chestnuts. There are similar products from different makers. For convenience, I’ll call them all kurirakugan here in this post.

Kurirakugan from Nagano

Nagano is famous for kurirakugan. The other day, I had a chance to go to Nagano so I bought three different brands. On this occasion, I got my usual one from the nearby supermarket which is reasonably priced than the other three. The one from the supermarket is also made by a maker in Nagano, though. I don’t usually find the first three in supermarkets. 
Hosun from Chikufudo, 594yen/16pcs
 The one from my Nagano trip and also this is the one I had in the tea class (Japanese)
Zenkojirakugan from Sakuraikanseido, 540yen/18pcs
 The one from my Nagano trip (Japanese)
Rakugan from Obusedo, 648yen/15pcs
 The one from my Nagano trip (English)
Kurirakugan from Obusekurikaseizo, 360yen/16pcs
 The one from the supermarket

Compering four brands

I did a blind tasting to compare the four kinds. I found roughness both in taste and texture on Kurirakugan from Obusekuirkaseizo when comparing with the other three. However, it’s not bad at all considering its price. I actually have it often for my tea time. The other three are all excellent. There are certain differences among the three. I personally like the Hosun best because of its sophisticated grains. The preference totally depends on your taste.

 It’s fine and smooth with its cozy potato-like flavor. It melts in your mouth.
 It has a natural sweet taste. It’s voluminous with its thickness.
Rakugan from Obsedo
 It’s not too sweet and has a well-balanced taste with the pea flavor.
Kurirakugan from Obusekurikaseizo
 It has a hard and coarse texture. It has a distinguish flavor which is reminiscent of root vegetables.

Try kurirakugan with matcha

If you try kurirakugan itself for the first time, you might have the same impression that I had when I was a kid. It would be just dry and sweet grains and not tasty at all. I used to think so, but now I have a totally different view of kurirakugan. It exquisitely goes well with matcha. Before the matcha is served, savoring the sweets with the natural nutty flavor is quite lovely. The comfortable sweet flavor remains faintly in your mouth and then you partake a refreshing bitter brew. It’s heaven. If you are the person who can enjoy matcha or chanoyu, I’m sure that you will simply appreciate the rakugan. 


  1. Interesting! Does kurirakugan dry your mouth out more than regular rakugan?

    1. Well, I can say that it’s quite similar to regular rakugan. Or maybe, kurirakugan is bit more powdery and dries your mouth more.

  2. Now that I am the grandmother of our brood, I realize that my sweet treats are not the same ones the younger generation enjoy. This was very interesting. I have never tried kurirakugan.

    1. Konnichiwa, Sunshine-san,
      I believe that your grand kids will realize someday how good the sweets their grandma enjoyed. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  3. kurirakugan was not known to me and I read about it on your blog. Having knowledge is the best think I had

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog. It is exciting to find a good sweets that goes with matcha. I hope you have some that you like to enjoy with matcha.

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