There are a ton of different ways to eat mochi, with roasting it or dropping it into soup or hot pots being some of the more common. Outside of Japan, though, many people’s first encounter with mochi is in the form of ice cream-filled mochi spheres sold at specialty grocers.
But while they make a tasty treat, what would happen if you reversed the process, and instead of putting ice cream in mochi, put mochi into ice cream? That’s the question posed by Häagen-Dazs new kinako kuromitsu mochi ice cream, and we’re here with the answer.
While this isn’t the American ice cream maker’s first foray into mochi-filled ice cream, it is its first time to offer this particular flavor. Before we dig in, let’s go over that lengthy product name.
Kinako refers to roasted soybean flour, although if you’d never had it before, you might mistake the powdered confectionary condiment for a mild strain of cinnamon. Kuromitsu, meanwhile, a sweet sauce made from brown sugar, and the litteral translation of its name, “black honey,” should give you an idea of its dark color and syrupy consistency.
Those of you with a good memory or healthy mental preoccupation with sweets may now be recalling our guide on how to eat Shingen mochi, the representative Japanese dessert of Yamanashi Prefecture that’s named after the region’s feudal period warlord Takeda Shingen. As a matter of fact, no sooner did the kinako kuromitsu mochi ice cream go on sale than Internet users in Japan started spreading the word about how much it resembled Shingen mochi, and how happy their taste buds were about that.
Feeling jealous, and more than a little hungry, we suddenly remembered that there’s a Lawson convenience store right in front of the RocketNews24 office. After a quick business trip to the other side of the street we were ready to take on the solemn task of taste-testing the new Häagen-Dazs flavor.
Many sweets fans in Japan claim Häagen-Dazs tastes best if you let it sit and get just a little melty first. Following their advice, we set our cup out on the desk, gazed deeply into the eyes of our giant Mr. Sato sticker plastered on the wall, and waited.
A few minutes later we were ready to tear into our snack. Before we did, though, we noticed a warning on the lid, cautioning us “When opening, please remove the lid slowly to prevent contents from scattering.” So, using the last shreds of our willpower, we peeled the lid of carefully, and once we saw what was waiting underneath, we were glad we did!
There is a ton of kinako inside. Honestly, it’s a complete layer that entirely covers the ice cream. Well, technically it’s covering the mochi, and that’s covering the ice cream.
Once again, being careful not to make a gigantic mess by spilling powder all over the room, we gently inserted our spoon. As we raised it towards our mouth, the mochi stretched out with its characteristic elasticity.
For our first bite, we made sure we had all the players, kinako, kuromitsu, mochi, and ice cream, accounted for in the same spoonful, and the result was glorious. The kuromitsu’s rich flavor, coupled with the milky notes of the ice cream and the wonderful aroma of the kinako, made this a mouthful of cross-cultural decadence. While we can understand why it reminds some people of Shingen mochi, to us, its creamy quality made the flavor more like a kuromitsu milk shake.
Taking minute bites, we also sampled the delicious ice cream, kinako, and kuromistu separately, and found that each ingredient is indeed pulling its own weight. Speaking of weight, the kinako kuromitsu mochi ice cream has just 235 calories per container. So while it may not be quite as healthy as non-dessert mochi, it’s definitely something you can afford to treat yourself to once in a while.
[ Read in Japanese ]