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秋の和菓子「栗きんとん」 / Kuri-Kinton, Chestnut Delicacy Limited to Fall
Japan is proud of its distinct seasons. Any Japanese who has passed through its education system will happily tell you that “Japan has four seasons”, and seem almost disappointed to discover other countries do too. Granted, Japan’s seasons are distinctly different enough to excite the senses. Particularly in autumn!
Late September through mid November is the chestnut season, and the time for one of Japan’s best loved delicacies, the Kurikinton. First created to cater to the tea ceremony aficionados in the Edo period, Kurikinton were created by boiling and then mashing the seasonal chestnuts, then mixing them with sugar. The warm chestnut paste was then scooped into a damp cloth which was twisted closed, giving the confectionary its unique chestnut shape before being carefully wrapped in a traditional washi paper cover.
The taste is simple. A little rich, but delicately refined and not too sweet. The texture, depending upon
the area the delicacy is made, can be slightly dry but not crumbly, or soft and moist. Either way,
Shelf life of Kurikinton is unfortunately rather short, and once the delicacy goes on sale, long lines
of purchasers can be found snaking their way to the department and specialty store counters
of the most popular makers. Lines may take up to an hour to pass through, however the taste
and enjoyment of the sweet, aromatic treat is worth the wait.
In Japan, Kurikinton make the ideal omiyage, a souvenir visiting gift. They also make the ideal autumn snack.
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