When the last month of the year arrives, I always become much busier than any other season. It’s because December is the month for the Christmas Market. I have been getting a stall in a local Market since 2012, but this year I had a chance to join to other stall holders in another Japanese Market at the end of November.
Christmas Tree seller at the hall entrance
Our annual event of Japanese Christmas Market has just finished! Unlike the last year’s snowy day it was a great sunny day this year! As we expected the great turn out of people I’d say this year’s market was a great success.
We arrived a little earlier on the site even before the doors to the venue opened for the vendors and started preparing our table to be well ready for the arrival of customers … but then I realised that I forgot to bring some of my Japanese sweets products! I had to go home and brings them as quickly as I could since they were quite a big part of my products. Last year I had to go and fetch some stuff on the snowy road on foot. It was so horrible and I had tried to be sure that would not happen this year, however, it did happen again! I was so stupid. Anyway, so I went back home and when I was walking back hurriedly towards the venue I saw a man holding a container that looked like my sweets inside! I thought ‘Wow! Already?!’ It was just a few minutes after the market opened to public and my products were already sold without me. It was a great sign ahead for the day.
Sweet Roses for brightening up London’s grey Saturday!
These Japanese sweets will be at Japanese Christmas Market in North London this Sunday. See you there!!
This Sunday Sakura Junction will be having a stall in a small Christmas Market in North London. The special thing about this Jolly Hobbies Market is that many stall holders are Japanese or the stuff sold there will be something related to Japanese culture. Hence, it’s Japanese Christmas Market! The number of visitors is definitely increasing every year. This year’s event was notified on Time Out recently so I believe we are going to have very many people.
I have been a part of this event for 7 years now. The products I have dealt with have changed slightly but I always stick to one thing ‘Wagashi’ Japanese sweets. This year I am preparing two types of food. One of them is of course my speciality Wagashi and the other type is ‘Gyoza’ Dumpling cooked on site. As I mentioned on my previous post this year’s Gyoza comes in two flavours. One is for vegetarians and the other one is Turkey meat with Christmas seasoning. I tried tasting at home and it worked very well! So I hope everybody likes it on the day.
I have only two more days to prepare but actually I haven’t decided all the Japanese sweet products selection yet. I have been providing two seasonal sweets for a Kimono shop’s Matcha Bar every month for the last three years so I would like to pick some of the sweets that had received great feedback from their paying customers. A few sweets definitely on my list are Sweet Rose, Apples, Mochi Mont Blanc and Matcha Swirl Mochi so far. Purple Sweet Potato Mochi might be chosen too. I am also going to take one brand new very seasonal sweet I just created with very Christmassy decoration.
There is one annual event that I join as Sakura Junction at this time of a year. It is a Japanese Christmas Market that gets held in North London. This is the only occasion that I sell my Japanese sweets to public and I enjoy chatting and seeing the reaction from people. Last year the day we had the market London woke up in a blanket of snow which continued to fall till the evening. This caused so much difficulty for people driving or parking their car and the public bus services were also all cancelled. So it was disastrous for us that people couldn’t come to the venue even though they wanted to. This meant a very limited number of visitors.
The market is a craft fair so a lot of stall holders sell their own creations which are somethings Japanese related. They will be a great Christmas gift for your friends and families. However, it seems like that the things the visitors are after the most is food, Japanese food! We have several stalls that serve hot meals and sweets so you can have lunch first and look around to find beautiful things, and then enjoy teatime with Japanese sweet in one location.
Phew! My annual event Christmas Market has finished. That day London woke up with a snowfall and it kept snowing throughout the day.
The fabulous time has come! It is the season that I am going to have a stall in a Christmas Market in North London. This ‘Jolly Hobbies’ Market is held only once a year during Christmas Time but that is not the only thing this market is special about. It is a Market with a Japanese Theme! It’s organised by a Japanese person and many of the stall holders are also Japanese so the products people are selling there are mostly something related to Japanese culture
I got involved in this market about 5 years ago. Since then it is becoming bigger and bigger and the number of the visitors are increasing every year. The Market started as a kind of craft market first and then recently it has been becoming like a Japanese Street Food Hall too. We serve all sorts of Japanese food hot and cold, such as Sushi and Japanese Curry and many other dishes. It includs my Japanese sweets too.😊 So the visitors can have lunch and look around the stalls to pick some great gifts for Christmas and then buy some Japanese sweet and drink for having Teatime there before going home. It is wonderful to see all the visitors seem to be enjoying the time there.
This year as a Japanese Sweet ‘Wagashi’ maker, I am of course putting my Japanese sweets on the stall which most of them are Gluten-free, Egg-free and Dairy-free. I am planning to to take a variety of ‘Mochi’ type sweets for Mochi fans.(^_-)-☆ I am also going to sell Home-made Vegetable ‘Gyoza’ Dumplings on the day. I hope I can serve as many hot grilled Gyoza dumplings to the happy visitors. However, I am still in the middle of preparation and am not sure how many portions can be ready by Sunday.
It will be a fun day for all the visitors and the stall holders too. If you live in the North London or if you can travel to there, please come to say ‘Hi’ to me. I will be most grateful! 😊 See you there then on Sunday!!
There is a recipe of ‘Yaki-Mnju (焼きまんじゅう) / Baked Manju’ I normally use. That is a Japanese Sweet wrapped with biscuit. It is good. I like it. It is also something that Western people are quite familiar with.
We have a Japanese sweet called ‘Kuri-Manju (栗まんじゅう)’. That is a ‘Yaki-Manju’ with Chestnut ‘Kuri‘ pieces inside and made into a Chestnut shape. The skin of this sweet is slightly different from Western biscuit. It is much smoother and you can make it into some shapes.
This time I made ‘Yaki-Manju’ in the traditional way. I tried making some shapes with different filling.
This one is ‘Kuri-Manju‘ with Chestnuts ‘Kuri’.
Does it look like Chestnut to you?
Instead of using small pieces, I mixed Chestnut in syrup mixing with ‘Shiro-An (白あん)’ and that made the filling looks like a paste.
The next Japanese sweet in my search of the right product for the Christmas market was a sweet called ‘Ukishima (浮島)’ in Japanese. It means literally ‘Floating Island’. I think the name came from the pattern the sweet has. It is often made in two layers in different colours and the wave of the lower layer looks like an island appearing above the sea.
I had had the sweet when I was in Japan in October and I even posted the photo on this blog as ‘Manju in Autumn Theme’. It is the square one in orange and green colour with a piece of Chestnut. I was so amazed that a sweet can be light and moist at the same time. It was so delicious that I bought it again.
Ukishima – Floating Island (浮島)
‘Ukishima‘ is a steamed sponge like Japanese sweet. The texture is very light but also very moist. The Good news for many people is that it is Gluten / Dairy free. Perfect!
‘Matcha Ukishima with Apple’
I tried two versions. This one was with ‘Matcha (Green Tea)’ with Apple. It was a little rough but it looked OK, don’t you think? My voluntary tasters liked this and gave “10 out of 10”! So I am certainly adding this one in my products list.
So I am going to have a stall in two markets, one is on the 6th (Sun) and the other on the 13th (Sun) of December. Both are in North London. I will be very happy if anybody who lives nearby wants to try out my Japanese/Japanese-Western fusion Sweets and come to see me there. 🙂
The market venue and the date are fixed but the thing which is not fixed yet is what I should bring to those markets – my products.
There is so much demand for Gluten free food these days and I have been developing some. Luckily many of Japanese sweets are originally Gluten free and Dairy free.
Gluten Free Kinako Shortbread with Sesame Seeds
I have this signature biscuit “Kinako Shortbread‘ which is the Shortbread with Japanese ingredient ‘Kinako‘ and white sesame seeds. I know it tastes good and I have sold it before. So I want to try changing it into Gluten Free biscuit this time.