What I like about Japanese sweets is that they are so seasonal. The colour, design and ingredients are all reflecting the season. For instance in spring we create lots of Sakura Cherry blossom sweet and in November it is officially Autumn so we make sweets of Autumn colour.
‘Momiji’ Japanese Maple
One of the most famous plant leaves in Autumn colour is the Japanese Maple. It is called ‘Momiji’ in Japanese and is famous for its leaves having the beautiful shape with the most delicate cut and it changes the colour into a very vivid red colour amongst all Acer family.
There are many sweets and cakes I made but have not made into my Blog page so far. The sweet I am introducing here is one of them. This is the sweet I created imagining a fallen leaf in Autumn colour, so naturally it was meant for Autumn. Although I was planning to introduce this on my Blog before, there were so many things I had to do between October and just recently so I did not manage to do so. I just want to post this before the end of this year.
‘Ochiba’ – Fallen Leaf
My second sweet for November is also in the Autumn Colour theme. The shape is the leaf of ‘Ginkgo’ which becomes the most brilliant yellow colour during this season. Ginkgo is one of the most ancient plants which has not evolved for millions of years. The Ginkgo tree is originated in East Asia and I think there wasn’t many in the UK before. However, I noticed lately more Ginkgo trees along many avenues in newly developed area.
I have a beautiful childhood memory with Ginkgo leaves. I think it was in somewhere in Kyoto. I was about 3 or 4 years old and running around in a Shinto Shrine ground which was covered with magnificently yellow Ginkgo Leaves fallen from the numerous trees. It was like a massive carpet spread out as far as I could see.
So, I chose the image of my childhood memory for making the November sweet.
We are in the middle of Autumn – Winter transition now. It is getting very cold lately but this chilling weather is the key to the magnificent sights of nature during this season. When the temperature drops the colour of leaves change from green to yellow or it goes even further to orange and then red. It is due to the chemical reaction in leaves. This is called Autumn Colour and can be seen on the leaves of deciduous plants.
‘Autumn Mountain’ Mochi
So, as one of the sweets for November I wanted to create a sweet in Autumn Colour. I want you to imagine all the mountain changing the colour from its deep green to various colour of yellow, orange and red but in a very tiny scale.
Day by day Autumn is setting in here in London. First thing which comes to my mind by thinking about Autumn is colour change in Leaves. It would defines as Autumn Colours so it should be the most significant part of this season. In Japan we have four completely different seasons. Warm & beautiful Spring with lots of Cherry blossom, very hot & humid Summer, very cold Winter with deep snow in some area and then … this Autumn. Our Autumn is very between summer and winter, but it is not just that. During the transition period between two totally different seasons a significant temperature change causes the beautiful Autumn Colour in leaves. The Nature is Science. It is amazing!
Japan is a very mountainous country and the sight of mountains in Autumn colour is so magnificent. It does not get defeated by the sight of marvellous view of Sakura, Cherry blossom in spring. We even have a word ‘Momiji-gari‘. ‘Momiji‘ is a Japanese word for Japanese Maple and ‘Gari/Kari‘ means Hunting. Well, we do not hunt/harvest Maple leaves literally but it means that we go out to the countryside to enjoy the amazing view of mountains which are covered in various colours in yellow to red.
The most famous plant with the leaves in Autumn colour is ‘Momiji‘, Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum). I thought it represents beautiful Autumn the most so I made my version of it as a sweet.
Japanese Maple, Momiji
Yes, we call the plant ‘Momiji‘ not ‘Emoji‘. Please don’t be confused. 😀