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.
How time flies! Right after posting the report of the Halloween themed Workshop it is already time to announce the workshop for December. Since it will be in December the theme of the workshop is Christmas, I’ve been considering what kind of Japanese sweets I should make with the participants?
I always take a lot of time to decide the sweet designs to make with workshop attendees. I consider many elements such as if the design is seasonal, and if is too simple or too difficult for first time attendees.
Wagashi Making Workshop in December
Before finalising the three sweets, I tried several designs. I wanted to make a Christmas Tree. I have made several types of Tree in the past but never made one in the workshop yet. When I was thinking about the possibilities, I suddenly got a brilliant idea. I was very excited and was confident that it would go well, but when I tried making it, it was far too difficult to create the shape.
on: the 1st / December (Sunday), 13:00 – 15:00
at: The Havan (262 Kensington High Street, London W8 6ND)
So we will make these three sweets. If the attendees would want to go more creative they can decorate the tree with any shapes such as an angel, Christmas sock, candle or present boxes.
The sweets we will make are all Vegan and Gluten free.
We continue having the Havan Store as the venue since it is a very beautiful and comfortable space with very hospitable owners who are interested in Japanese culture. I was pleased to see that all the participants in the previous workshop loved the shop and their thick and creamy special Matcha green tea.
[The tickets] for this workshop are available now from here (←click here to the Link). The class is limited to 10 people only so don’t miss out on this great opportunity!
I have mentioned about the 13 years old girl who wanted to join us for the Halloween workshop. I am very happy to tell you that she is joining us with her mother for this Christmas one. It is going to be another great one! If you would like to join us, small number of seats still available.
It’s the ‘Tanabata’ night tonight! (Regarding Tanabata, please read my previous post😊)
Let’s hope we can see the Milky Way!!
This Sunday, the 7th of July, is a special day called ‘Tanabata’ in Japan. It’s not a national holiday but it is the day that everybody hopes to have good weather and looks up at the sky in the evening. It came from the ancient story that a young loving couple was forced to live separately each side of a river by the God. It was because they loved being together too much and neglected their work. However, the God saw that they were too saddened about the fact that they could not see each other anymore, he gave them permission that they could cross the river to meet once a year if the weather was good and the sky was clear. That one day they are allowed to see is the 7th of July. It’s an ancient story which was supposed to be happening in the sky. The lovers were actually stars and the river was the Milky way. I mentioned this story in more detail in the past so if you are interested to know more, please visit my old post of Tanabata with Cosmos sweet.
So the Tanabata day is coming tomorrow. It is known as a Star festival and a wishing day in Japan and there are some places having a festival too. Last year I made the Bamboo Japanese sweet for this occasion with ‘Sasa’ Bamboo leaf shaped sweet and the red and yellow wishing paper strips as decoration. I was wondering what sort of sweet I should make for this year’s Tanabata day. I wanted to make something quite different.
Galaxy Mizu Yokan
This one is my Tanabata sweet this year.
I have introduced two types of my Wisteria sweets previously that I created by using two types of tools. And then I thought I could create another Wisteria sweet in a slightly different and possibly better design, so I wanted try to see if my method will work. Basically I was not satisfied with previous designs because they did not look Purple showering enough! It needed more flowers hanging down like a real shower.
So I created this sweet as an experiment. The technique is quite similar to the designs of the Wisteria I had made earlier by placing two layers in different colours and removing the top layer and revealing the bottom colour from the cut.
One of the magnificent shrubs that has a brilliant colour and scent in early spring is Lilac. I made a sweet in a shape of Lilac flowers a little earlier, however, could not manage to write and edit it until now. Its flower comes out around at the beginning of May, so this post is basically one month late. I am sorry about that. Once the spring season starts everything in a garden grows so quickly. When you have some events and engagements it is very difficult to catch up and that is my excuse for delaying to publish this article.
Anyway, it’s the exactly same case as my recent post of Choisya that I wanted to make a sweet of Lilac every spring. It produces such a wonderful scent at the front of my garden and I really had to create it into a sweet. I have two types of Lilac in my garden. The one near my back door has white flowers and the other shrub gets purple flowers so it took a while to decide how I was going to produce the design of Lilac flowers and which colour I should use. I probably love white flower shrub more. Thit is because white flowers have the sweeter smell and the purple one (Syringa vulgaris) is quite vigorous. However, when one says ‘Lilac colour’ it means light purple colour so I had to go for the purple one this time.
Here is my Lilac sweet in Lilac colour.
Choisya ternata is the shrub which flowers the earliest every spring in my garden. It gets numerous number of tiny white flowers which have marvellous orange blossom like scent. No wonder it’s called Mexican Orange Blossom as the common name. Every spring when I see and smell the flowers I wanted to make ‘Wagashi’ Japanese Sweet of Choisya as the design, however, the timing of their flowering season is somehow always wrong for me and before I decided what kind of design I should make, the flowers were. This spring, I finally managed making one design before all the flowers’ disappeared, however, the problem this year was that I did not have time to write my article about the sweet until now.
So, this is the Choisya sweet I finally managed to make.
The “Purple Shower”! This is what people call it. You find it on a pergola, trellis or just above a house porch or fence. You see hundreds of flower pendants in white to bluey purple hanging down during middle to early summer. It has a wonderful scent and attracts lots of bees. They are the flowers of Wisteria.
Although this flower is quite a traditional design as a Japanese sweet, this was my first time that I have tried making a Wisteria sweet. I tried several ways for making Wisteria sweet and these are the two of them. I used a technique called ‘See though’ which is basically two layers of sweet in different colours are placed on top of each other and the bottom colour comes out being viewed by removing some parts of the top layer.
It’s been quite a while since I announced about my upcoming Workshop. I am happy to tell you that I am planning to have a Wagashi Making Workshop in Spring theme one more time. The Sakura Cherry Blossom season has been gone even in London but Sakura flower is the very popular shape to make amongst participants so this will be the last Workshop to make Sakura Cherry Blossom together this year. If you fancy making one yourself please join me.
One thing I want you to know is that the venue of the Workshop has been changed. It will be in North London this time so please check the address below if it is reachable for you.
Wagashi Making Workshop in London
on: The 14th May (Tuesday) 7-8:30/9pm
at: The Annexe (46 Park Road, Crouch End, London N8 8TD)
For booking your space please send me a message from Contact on this Blog or give me a direct message on Instagram/facebook/Twitter with your Email address. I will send you the details by email.
I look forward to hearing from you.💁🏻♀️
There are various ways of expressing ‘Sakura’ Cherry blossom as ‘Wagashi’ Japanese sweet. When I look back at my sweets in old photos I realise that the shape and colour have changed. There is nothing wrong in any sweet but all depends on how you feel and also what types of material and technique I want to try using at that time.
Sakura 🌸 Cherry Blossom
This is one of my Sakura sweets for this year.