The Wonder 500

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Sanin no Aji O-uroshiki (Sweets)

In the Japanese region of Sanin (an area in the southwest of Honshu, the main island of Japan), there has been a custom since ancient times of wrapping precious objects in a generously-sized cotton furoshiki (traditional Japanese wrapping cloth) decorated with family crests in a resist-dyeing pattern, to present as gifts at celebratory occasions such as weddings. This old custom is seen less and less frequently nowadays. Nevertheless, the concept of the furoshiki continues to live on in the form of a type of confectionary known as O-furoshiki sweets, these being the type of confectionaries that were traditionally placed in a presentation box which was then carefully hand-wrapped in this kind of furoshiki made from a type of Japanese paper called kasenshi. The inside of these sweets consists of a type of sweet mochi called gyuhi, which is created by adding water, sugar and other ingredients to mochi rice flour sourced from Tottori prefecture, heating the mixture and kneading it until it is a sticky, stretchy consistency. To this traditional gyuhi base, a little locally-produced miso (fermented soy) is added as the magic ingredient. Finally, the bite-sized mochi cakes are dusted in a generous coating of a type of toasted soybean flour called kinako. Eaten with a dash of pear syrup incorporating the juice of Tottori prefecture’s famous Nijisseiki nashi pears, these sweet treats melt deliciously in the mouth. A much-loved treat throughout the more than 40 years since they went on sale, these classic Tottori sweets give customers a glimpse not only into the traditional tastes of Japan but also into the Japanese custom of furoshiki as a presentation for gifts.