Konpeito was extremely popular
It is said that ”konpeito” was introduced to Japan during the Age of the Warring States in 1549. It was introduced along with Castella cakes from Portugal and konpeito was especially popular because of its looks. Manufacturing methods were not widely known till later in history, in the Edo period. ”Ryokujuan Shimizu” is the only store in Japan that specializes in konpeito. You may be surprised to find out that this is the only store that specializes in konpeito, but one of the reasons for this is because konpeito-making requires patience and skill. It is made with ”irako” flour which is finely ground rice flour. This becomes the core of the candy, and over this, melted sugar is poured on and then dried. This simple procedure must be done repeatedly for more than 2 long weeks.
Creating New Tastes
There is no recipe to produce the small horns, and this one process requires about 20 years to master. The craftsman needs to keep watch on the konpeito endlessly and adjust the kettle’s turning speed, angle, density of the sugar, etc. It has always been believed that sugar with another ingredient will not solidify, and thus konpeito used to be made solely of just colored sugar. It looked pretty but the taste was bland, as they were merely ”hardened sugar”. After incessant research, various flavored konpeito was made possible. Currently there are about 50 varieties of konpeito, such as chocolate, brandy, plum wine, etc. Konpeito first came to Japan during the Age of the Warring States from Portugal. Later in the Edo period, it was considered top-class sweets. I wonder how Europeans view konpeito as it originally is from Europe, now considered Japanese traditional candy. Either way, the agreed consensus would be that this konpeito cannot be beaten in taste.
- Ryokujuan Shimizu
- 38 banchi, 2 Yoshidaizumidonocho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
- URL http://www.konpeito.co.jp/