Wednesday, December 03, 2008

L'art du mochi

My favorite part about visiting a traditional Japanese inn (ryokan) is what happens during the first ten minutes. After the elderly woman finishes 1) praising your Japanese (when all you have said is 'hello'), and 2) has carefully told you numerous times to watch out for this step or that set of stairs, or the stretch of carpet, she finally gets down to the business of mochi.

Now, plenty of better-educated people have written about the Japanese tea ceremony—which I know nothing about apart from a FOUR-hour long documentary I was forced to watch while in Japan. (All I remember was watching a delicate stream of water delicately delicate itself into a ceramic cup.)

But one thing I've been told by many inn chieftesses is that one is to drink the bitter matcha tea (not the sweet Starbucks version) as one eats the little mochi—the sweet balancing the bitterness.

I get the elegance of the gesture but my way is to down the matcha the moment I'm left alone, and then leave my palate free to dedicate itself to the mochi's sugar. These are one of my favorite treats in the world.

1 comment:

cloudes said...

I love em, but its a rare treat in denmark..